Tips for Organizing Outdoor Toys

Summertime is such a wonderful time of year for kids to be able to spend outdoors. We know though that those outdoor toys can definitely get out of hand. Your patio, yard, mudroom, garage, or shed can become quite overrun. You definitely should be enjoying your summer, too – and not spending the whole time trying to corral, find, put away, and manage toys. While we know there is always something that can be let go, and decluttering outdoor toys will definitely help with organizing them, we also think it is important to have practical solutions that work for you and your family. Here’s a couple tips for organizing outdoor toys. 

THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING TO LET GO

Sort through those outdoor toys and let anything go that is broken, missing parts, no longer played with, or outgrown. If your child is of an age that can help you, this can be a joint effort. Make sure you plan to do this on a day with good weather when you have plenty of time. It is always easier to manage less items and keep them organized. Lisa, one of our wonderful professional organizers, used to be a teacher. She says that in her experience with teaching preschoolers, too many toys are overstimulating. Instead, less is always better and when there are less toys out, they actually play with the toys more.

PUTTING A SYSTEM INTO PLACE

Setting up a system – kid friendly, of course – will  help you manage those outdoor toys. Maybe you decide that at the end of each day, everyone is going to help to clean up for five minutes. If you choose to put this system into place, then start this habit and stick with it for at least a week. You will be surprised at how quickly this becomes routine. Cleaning up can really be turned into a game! It is important though to think through what will and what will not work for you and your family. Take into consideration your current outdoor routines and where you would like to see the most improvement in organization. You will be so happy using systems you have thought through that work well for you and your family to help you manage and keep outdoor toys organized!

GIVE EVERY ITEM A HOME

Clean up will be much easier if you make clear designated homes for all items. You can divide by categories: all balls get stored together, all sand toys together, and so forth. Or you can make the categories broader: all toys that you cannot ride go into this large bin and then all toys you ride go in this corner and so forth. This all depends upon the age and ability of the child and the type and amount of toys. Below are some specific tips for organizing outdoor toys and ways to keep them contained and organized:

Clear the deck…

A deck box is a wonderful way to store outside toys! This type of organization works best with outdoor toys that can all be stored together. Deck boxes also make clean-up very easy as all toys get returned to the same place.

Invest in some good shelves…

Finding a good shelf is helpful when using containers to organize and store toys. The  metal shelving from Lowes is a great choice. Then you can choose your container and label according to its contents. Clear bins on the shelves look great. 

Clear bins are a win…

Not only do clear bins with labels look nice, but being able to see what is in the container is a big win. If your child is too young to read, you can always use picture labels for easy reference. Items like chalk, sand toys, bubbles, jump ropes, yard games, and water toys all work great in clear bins. This system is an efficient one because kids know where to return items.  

Plastic tubs work great for storing balls…

Balls can be difficult to store. Plastic tubs are a great way to contain them and keep them off the floor. Small, large and anything in between fits very comfortably and neatly in a deep tub. These tubs also look really cute lined up next to each other.

Sports equipment grab and go…

If your child plays a sport, then you definitely do not want to be trying to find goggles at the last second before a swim meet, or a bat before practice. Here is a great blog post on organizing a launch pad for kids so that you are ready for all these grab and go scenarios. Often times launch pads are in the mudroom, but as you will see when you read this blog, you can make a launch pad anywhere that works for you and your family.

A note on bikes…

Those bikes and scooters can take up a lot of space and finding a helmet can sometimes be quite difficult if everything does not have a place. A bike rack can be a thing of magic – getting the bikes off the floor and giving your kids a place to put them away. However, if you have younger children this might not be possible. We recommend designating a part of the garage, mudroom, or porch for “parking” the bikes and scooters at the end of a play day. You can use hooks for helmets so that they can put their helmet to rest right next to their parked bike or scooter. It really can be turned into a game, and though it will take encouragement and guidance from you in the beginning, it can save you time in the long run.

Rotating toys is an option, too…

Lisa, one of our wonderful team members, also says that one of her tips for organizing outdoor toys is to rotate toys. Divide the toys up into types and separate them to be rotated on a weekly basis or a time table that works for you. Once again this goes back to allowing kids the opportunity to play more with the toys that they do have out instead of being overstimulated by a large assortment of toys. Put the other toys out of sight and rotate them in and out so there is a continuous variety but never too many options at once. This will take setting up a system and making it a routine, but it works very well.

Do you have any tips for organizing outdoor toys that we didn’t include? Be sure to share them in our Abundance Declutter Group on Facebook!

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