But, I must confess, my out-of-rotation materials were a giant mess! We live in a smallish apartment with extra storage, so I ended up throwing things here and there. In addition to looking terrible and taking up tons of space, it made material rotation time a huge headache. So, I decided to re-organize.
This is what everything looked like when I pulled things out of the closets: AHHHH!
Here are the steps I took to clean up:
|Things were too out of hand to do a true "before" shot, but this is in the beginning stages.|
- Throw away "Happy Meal Toys." True, we've only gotten one happy meal for Q-ball (who subsequently lost the accompanying toy about 1 hour later somewhere in the car...), but we've gathered tons of small favorite-toys from birthday grab bags to awesome finds at the park. I got rid of pretty much all of these toys as they really aren't in line with any of the goals for our shelves.
- Group items by type. My previous problem was when I was looking for a certain object, I didn't know where to start looking. I'd tried labeling boxes, but as I was consistently rotating materials, the labels didn't do much good. By grouping items by generic type (sensory, puzzles, blocks, music, bead activities, etc.), I can still label my boxes.
- Package items individually, when possible. Here, I grouped blocks in paper bags and reused boxes. I have also seen people use the plastic, zipper bags that come with new sheet sets and mattress pads for this task- that way you can see inside!
- Label boxes.
- Find a place to stash. This step has been the toughest for me given our current storage limitations. For larger items, I used large storage tubs. For smaller items, I used a hanging shoe organizer and a larger hanging closet organizer.