I recently discover Dawn at The Minimal Mom and she had a great tip when it came to decluttering your closet. Dawn asked the question, "Which items are your favourite?" This helps us to make easy decisions as to what belongs in our closets. I decided to try to apply this question to our playroom with our kids. All my other efforts to declutter had been met with resistance, but this question worked beautifully. My kids quickly found their favourite toys and I sorted them into the bins. I made a quarantine box (another tip from Dawn!). I told the kids that if they noticed a favourite toy was missing to let me know and I would get it out of the box. We agreed that I could get donate the contents of the box after a few months. The 'favourites' idea worked really well for our dress-up clothes. The kids kept less than half of their dress-up clothes.
The other tip that Dawn gave was to make bins the "bad guys". I told my kids that everything they kept (with the exception of a few larger items) had to fit in 9 bins for the organizer. The bins set the limit and I didn't have to be the bad guy. This idea will really help when we receive a new toy or gift. The kids will need to make decisions about what can stay and what has to go.
The result is that the playroom no longer makes me feel overwhelmed. The kids can clean up in less than 10 minutes with very little direction from me or their Dad. They also know where to find their toys so there aren't as many toy explosions as there once were. We have been so happy with the result.