Friday, April 11, 2008

Swap and Hop

Lysa TerKeurst and Karen Ehman are hosting a swap and hop today. The theme is organizational challenges.
It wasn't hard for me to immediately come up with my organizational challenge: TOYS!!!!

Look At This Beautiful Clean Room!

Too bad it only looks like this when I turn into Nazi Mama and spend hours in the girls' room with them doing most of the work for them.

I Thought I Had a Solution:

The list of organizational tricks I've tried for toys would be too long for this post. We've purged a lot of toys and bought and rejected tons of storage ideas. Recently, I bought shelving and beautiful canvas totes to store the toys in. I thought the girls would think their cubbies were so cute (and color coordinated) that they would feel compelled to keep their toys organized and picked up. It isn't working. : )

Exhibit A:

Cubbie system that is mysteriously missing its canvas totes.

Exhibit B:
Ah, here they are! Instead of thinking they were so cute they felt compelled to keep their toys cleaned up, the girls thought they were so cute they turned them into more toys!

The girls can't see which toys are in each cubbie so they dump them out and use them as toys. They carry them around. They sit in them. They turn them into dollie beds. Then they leave them where they drop them.

I think I've come to the conclusion (the same conclusion that my born-organized husband has been telling me for years) that there is no system that will keep the toys cleaned up. There is only a pair of girls who need to do the work to keep their toys cleaned up. I can't help it though, I still fantasize over finding the magic cure. Do you have one for me?

(However, if you are passing out magic cures, let's start with the weight-loss that you never gain back cure and then move on to the toys) : )

Check out Lysa's and Karen's blogs to see what other bloggers are facing as organizational challenges. There is a giveaway involved, and Karen will be providing directions for an organizational make-over for two lucky winners.

I'll end this post with two more pictures because they make me smile.

Although I get so tired of seeing toys everywhere, I suspect that someday when they are grown and gone, I'll miss seeing evidence of them everywhere. These pictures capture the personalities of each girl. I can tell what they were playing and who was playing it before they walked away.

This pile had to have been left by my oldest "I want to be a vet someday" daughter.

And here is what our future American Idol star left behind.

If you are visiting from Lysa or Karen's blogs, welcome!

To see my past Swap and Hop posts click here.

To learn more about me click here.

Please come back and visit again soon. : )


Kelly said...

Hi Becky! Loved your problem areas, looks like my house. I found bribing works. My 4 yr old has a birthday party to attend today and I said "we aren't going until the room is clean." It's clean! This only works when we have somewhere fun to go.

Come to think of it, that might be blackmail, not bribery. Isn't mothering fun?

Janet said...


Have you tried clear see through storage boxes with lids? All barbies in one, all my little ponies in one, etc the kids can see what goes in them and they stack nicely in a closet. Who knows if they can visualize what they need to do then perhaps they can follow it.


Tammy said...

I laugh with you! I have cute little storage bins for my kids, which I posted about in the last swap and hop. My kids actually use them most of the time. However, it's all the other toys that end up in the middle of the floor.

I agree, one day we will miss cleaning up all of the toys or bribing them to do so.

Emma said...

Organization is a pain in my house, there is no storage space! I guess it's one of the "perks" of living in an old double wide trailor lol. Can't wait to move!

Amy Wyatt said...

I bought those same cute pink canvas totes for my daughters toys and she also dumps the toys out and uses the totes as toys. Oh well...I think we are doomed to having toys everywhere.

JenB said...

I'm sorry but all I can do is commiserate with you. We actually have a big clean/purge day planned tomorrow in both kids' rooms. I bought bins and a shoe holder thingy with all the pockets for over the closet door to help get everything OUT OF THE FLOOR. We'll see....
First time visitor...nice to meet you!

Crystal said...

Becky, I have my oldest six year old daughter, Grace, prays every night "If it is your will Lord, may I be a Vet and care for animals" : ) OUr girls would be good buddies I'm sure!! I struggle with toy organization as well and I use the clear plastic containers for many things.

Cathy said...

First of all, please know that I one have my own organization problems, but...I'll offer advice.

Can these totes be written on or labeled somehow so the girls know what goes in there?

I saw once on Dr. Phil that if a child didn't put away their toys or do what their parents had asked them, things were taken away...maybe if toys aren't put away or cubbies put away by a certain day or time, then the stuff is taken away for a week?

Do they still play with all of it? Is there a local charity that they could donate 10 toys? It would get rid of some stuff...

These are just ideas...I don't know if any of them are doable. While I do not have kids, I do teach and end up taking away their supplies if they don't put them's amazing how fast the tape gets put away now. :)

JenB said...

Hey Becky
Couldn't find your email so I know you'll get this here.
I totally had the NKOTB Christmas album (cassette!) too! Fond memory of my dad letting me listen to it in the car on the way to FL over Thanksgiving break the year I turned 16. Now THAT'S a good dad!

Thanks for visiting my blog! (I found the cake idea on

Anonymous said...

Your husband is a WISE man! You should listen to him more & your life would be less stressful! (not easier - just less stressful)

BTW... forget bribery, fun clean-up songs, organizational systems... the answer is simple: SPANKING :)

Anonymous said...

Becky - thanks for the ideas about the linen closet and the sheets. I think that one will really work for me. I seem to need to see what I have. I'll give it a try!

missy said...

Hi Becky,
I think the best thing I have figured out for organizing my kid's toys is "less is more". We purge on a regular basis. I will give them a goal of how many things they have to get rid of and if they can't do it, then I will. I've never had to.

Also, stuffed animals were a big problem for us so I came up with this rule. Whenever a new stuffed animal comes into the house, 2 have to go. It's worked very well and I think they are all pretty much down to just the really special ones, so they really have to think twice now before buying a new one.


Anonymous said...

I came here to post my thoughts and Missy already said most of it!

This is my plan for when I have kids some day. Every time a child is about to receive a gift, or recieves one unexpectedly, they have to give away an equal number of toys. Keep a few "main" collections of things (dolls and accesseries, craft items, etc.) but get rid of the random stuffed animals, cars, plastic trinkets, cheep books, etc, that tend to build up and make a mess. Get the kids involved in this! Tell them about different charities and what they are doing, and have the girls pick which ones they want to be involved in. Maybe it is only the Salvation Army Thrift story, but hey, their little toys will be treasures to some poor families who have to shop there. Then, theoretically, ALL their toys will fit in the pictured bins, aside from maybe craft supplies you keep somewhere else.


Daiquiri said...

Hey Beck...I just have to say I love the "Baby's Becky" doo-dad you put in your sidebar. The first time I saw it I almost cried!

You're looking really beautiful lately. You've got that pregnancy glow thing goin' on :) So sweet.

I did a post with some pictures from our WI trip. You'll have to check it out.

See you soon.


PS. Your "anonymous" hubby is sure a P-U-N-K, Punk! :)

Anonymous said...

Oh Becky, you would be so worried if you had little Stepford children who were so unimaginative that their toys just stayed in their bins and they sat in front of the TV or computer instead. Let them lay where they fall and just pick them up before bed. They will grow out of toys so fast you'll forget what it was like. Love, Mom

Missy said...

Here is my trick: nobody eats until the toys are picked up. So at least twice a day, the family room, play room and their rooms if need be get cleaned. It also prevents more than a couple of hours of mess from accumulating, so it only takes (or SHOULD take, minus the whining and occasional encouraging spanking) five minutes or so to clean.