I wonder where is “away” anyway. Most things end up piled in bins and boxes, usually disassembled and missing pieces. Dress-ups and costumes become a tangle. Mops, brooms and wash cloths get banged up with the rest.
Here are a few tidy and thrifty tips I’ve accumulated to help ev keep all her important little things in place (we are still working on those two “miscellaneous” drawers).
1. HOOKS From aprons to wash cloths, purses to swords and so much in between, the hook is a clever solution for a place. Not to mention, the texture and accessory those animal-shaped ones add to a wall space or the neatness and order the small metal ones create in a closet or a cabinet. Most hooks in our space are adhesive and easy to apply within ev’s reach. And how great is it for those chubby little two-year-old hands to have a reliable place to retrieve and replace her items whenever they call!
2. SHELVES & TRAYS As neat and charming as a toy box looks on the outside, the inside invites pile-up! Really, I do love toy boxes, but unless one contains a few easily visible and retrievable items (stuffed animals maybe?), trays and shelves hold most of ev’s current interests. Shelves, within her reach, make items visible and appealing for use. Shelves also encourage order and provide a constant place for returning items when finished. Trays or baskets are also great for activities of multiple pieces, like shapes, letters or whatever other game is of interest at the moment.
3. FEW AT A TIME This simple rule is too simple to be so! Too many books, toys, puzzles and games seems to be too much. A few thoughtfully chosen pieces (of interest to ev), neatly displayed, works. She uses them again and again until she has mastered, memorized or just plain lost interest. Once a month we rotate five books on ev’s book shelves, always keeping her favorite for as long as she says so.
Hopefully, creating this habit in the early years will last (get back to me in adolescence). Either way, I have found with a hook or two that ev finds putting away just as interesting as taking out (at least sometimes).