Oh toy rooms. I get the idea.
Its nice to have all of the toys in one spot. Whether its a dedicated room or section of your family room, our intentions are good.
If we keep the toys there, they won’t be ALL OVER the house. Brilliant.
Except, I don’t know about you, but it NEVER has seemed to work that way at our house!
Rather, it becomes a toy DUMPING GROUND. The kids can never keep it clean and I get SO tired of standing there telling them “pick this up, put that there. you know where everything goes, why can’t you put it back!?!”
The kids are frustrated. I’m frustrated and no one wins.
So what’s the answer???
For us, we ditched the dedicated toy room and simplified the kids’ toys. We turned the space into a “library” instead where they can keep all of their books.
The result? I think we’re all winning!!! The kids can keep their toys clean, they play together SO much better, and I don’t have to feel stressed by that crazy room anymore!
And, the library has been a HUGE hit. Sometimes they read quietly in it, other times they play in it and other times I go sit there when I need to make a phone call ;)
Which leads to a commonly asked question:
How many children’s books do you keep and how do you store them?
Good question. I just had my eight year old count and we have 56 children’s books.
They’re all stored in one of the two book shelves in their library.
How do we decide how many to keep?
In general, I feel that kids (well, and adults, too!) get overwhelmed by TOO MANY of anything. Which is funny, since our human nature seems to be to hoard! ;)
So here are a few questions I ask myself:
- Can these easily take care of them by themselves?For example: If ALL of the books get pulled off of the shelves, can they put them back by themselves? Or does the task seem to overwhelming and they give up?
- Can they find what they are looking for easily?For example: If I say “pick out a book to read” can they find one quickly, or are there TOO many to choose from and it takes a long time.
- Would it be hard to replace if we got rid of too many?For example: To me, books are easily replaced (unless they have sentimental meaning, in which case I keep them away from the kids! ;). They are a dime a dozen at garage sales and most of us have access to a library.
- Would I be happier or would our home feel more peaceful if we had fewer?For example: When we cleaned up that disaster of a toy room and replaced everything with two chairs and two small book shelves it COMPLETELY TRANSFORMED the feel of the entire room! What used to feel like pure chaos now feels like a space that I even like to sit in! So I can only imagine the difference it made for the kids!
So what is the right number of books for you?
For us, 56 is perfect right now with the ages and stages of our kids (3,5,6 & 8).
We’ve only just started (like last week–literally) going to the library. In the past, it was a little too stressful for me to go in with all four, have them pick out books, keep track of those books, get them returned on time and then repeat the process all over again! But this summer, I finally feel that they are old enough to help take care of their books and really appreciate all that we have available to us there.
How we store library books at home
We even created a space just for library books, it is the pink striped basket on the bottom. Right now they are each allowed to check out three books when we go to the library. Once home, each of their books need to be returned to the basket by bedtime.
If after they go to bed I find any books not in their “home” I keep them (we have a tote bag for them in our closet) and next time we go to the library they don’t get to check out as many.
Again, we’re only a week or so into this system, but so far so good!!
Back to the transformation
Can you believe that it only cost us $10 and less than two hours to completely transform this space??? We already had everything (shelves, picture frames, cow painting, globes) and my mom and I found the chairs for $5 each at a garage sale!
I also created some fun artwork for their new space. If you want to see all of the FREE READING PRINTABLES, just click HERE!(There are a few more designs than what you see here!!)
But wait! There’s more! ;)
If you want to see how we inspired our kids to willingly pack away their toys, check out this video:
If you want to see how we QUICKLY sorted through all of the toys, check out this video:
And as always, I hope you found something helpful here! It seems that over and over again I find that less truly is more :)
Best wishes friend!