If you are a parent, you have them, EVERYWHERE! So over the years I have read tons of help tips from all the magazines and books, all saying that the best thing for your kids and your pocket book, is to "rotate" the toys. Well, after first, I was all for it, sounded easy and made sense. For those of you who have not heard of this process- You take half of the toys and store them for months (or until they get tired of the ones that are out) and then rotate the ones in storage out and store the current toys away for a period of time. This process is meant to give kids the feeling of getting 'new' toys every few months, but without you spending a dime on new ones. So I started doing this about a year ago, and at first it was hard to choose toys to take away from my kids, I wanted them to play with everything they had. As my third child got older, more toys would get dragged out and left. This is when I implemented the plastic storage containers and storing certain toys. I started out with the things they played with the least at the time. Those toys got put into a solid colored storage bin and placed in the back of the closet. My kids didn't even notice those toys were missing. This was also a great chance for me to organize the toys. We sorted through and threw away broken ones, donated inappropriate aged toys, and put the toys that are parts of a set together in clear bins (things like potato head pieces are all in one bin). I know, I know, that's expensive! Not really, I promise, we are on a very tight budget, and I was able to pick up a few medium sized clear bins from the dollar store and the larger ones we ONLY buy when they are on clearance or a really good sale.(Everything in my house is in plastic bins, makes moving very very easy) With that said, unless you have extra cash to spend, this can take sometime to get bins purchased and have a good stock of them. We did it little by little, gradually adding bins for new toys or replacing bins that the kids broke :( After a year of rotating toys, I am a firm believer in what the magazines and books claim. My kids toys are more organized and each toy or set of toys, has a bin that the toys return to when the kids are done playing.
Another nice feature of rotating, it gives you a chance to weed out broken and out-grown toys. We donate and sell a lot of our kids old toys, and having them organized has made it easier to sell them because all the pieces are there (well most of them anyway). Now, I know you are saying "My kids would NEVER keep the toys organized and would dig for the ones they want" Well I never would have imagined my kids understanding that certain toys go in certain bins, but they figured it out and do well and my youngest, 2yrs, is doing well with it now too. It does take some direction from you and a little time to switch toys out, but the look on their faces when they see toys that they forgot about being pulled from the bin, it's like Christmas in July! ;)And please let me know if you have questions on how to rotate or if you already do, how well does it work for you?
Here are a few more places to read about rotating toys :)