Like most places in the home, your kids’ play area isn’t a “set it and forget it” space. It will evolve as your children grow – and that’s totally natural!

You might have to rethink the space as your kids’ needs and interests change. These five tips can help you keep play areas under control, regardless of the phase your children are in.

Cull & Rotate Toys Regularly

This is a really important step that will enrich your children’s playtime AND help you keep your sanity! Too many toys can be overwhelming and distracting for kids. You can help prevent toy overload by regularly getting rid of the toys your children have outgrown. For the remaining toys, try rotating them. Rotating toys extends their life and keeps playtime fresh. Put some toys in opaque bins and store them in the attic, closet, or garage – out of sight, out of mind. When kids get bored with their current toys, swap in the stored toys. It’s (almost) like getting new stuff!

Create Zones

Think about how your kids use their play area, and create “zones” for different activities. For example, you might have a craft zone, a building zone, and a reading zone. Keep related toys and items together in each zone using shelves, drawers, or bins. This can help kids feel less distracted, and it’s easier to remember where things go when playtime is over.

Think About Access

Your kids will get more out of their toys if they can access them easily. Younger children may have trouble opening lids or drawers, so keep their toys at eye level on open shelves or in easy-to-access bins or baskets. Bonus: when it’s time to clean up, it’s simple for kids to help!

Label Thoughtfully

We love labels, but it’s not always necessary to label everything in a play area. Labels can be helpful when you need to corral toys with small or multiple pieces, like Legos, or if you have more than one child and want to keep their toys separate. But for some toys, unlabeled baskets and bins will keep them off the floor and out of sight when not in use. Just consider what will work best for your kids and their needs!

Let It Go

You might not expect to hear this from professional organizers, but mess happens and it’s totally okay. Kids need the freedom to get creative, explore, and express themselves (don’t we all, though?), and that means their play areas won’t always (or ever) look like they belong on Pinterest. But Pinterest isn’t real life, ya know? So, take a breath. Let go of any rigid expectations you’re putting on yourself. Remember: a little mess and chaos now and then is okay, and you’re doing just fine.

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