Toy Clean-Up: Attempting to Turn a Nightmare into a Dream :)

I hate toys.

Well, let me clarify:  I hate storing them, sorting them, getting my kids to clean them up.  It seems the bigger the girls get, the smaller the toys get.  Our house is a world of Polly Pockets and all their little tiny rubber clothes, Squinkies (which are just as tiny and rubbery), small plastic animals and Disney princesses, and most recently, Legos have been added to the fray.  We've always had the big Duplo ones and MegaBlox, which the girls have loved, but we have moved into the teensy-weensy kind that are oh-so-pleasant to step on/clean up.  Her new favorite is this - good for you, Lego, for coming up with a "girly" version!

I shouldn't complain - after all, all these tiny little toys are actually great therapy tools for C, and M gets the added benefits of developing all these fine motor skills without us having to fork over thousands of dollars to the OT (heehee).  Getting Polly dressed requires quite a bit of pinching and tugging - all the while working out their little fingers, and locking those little Legos into place is great for working on fine motor skills and proprioception.  Yes, this is what happens to your brain when your child has SPD (or any of the other stuff we are dealing with) - you start to look at EVERYTHING as a potential therapeutic activity.

But storing all this crap stuff is another ball of wax entirely.  We have bins and shelves in our basement.  We also have clear plastic shoe boxes that are labeled with photos of what goes inside on our first and second floors.  We have baskets and book cases upstairs, too.  No matter what the little stuff never really gets sorted, and ends up dumped into one of these with a lid.  Out of sight, for sure, but not so much organized!

We have known for awhile that, with her sensory and attentional issues, C literally has trouble seeing "the forest for the trees." She can't visually sort things and gets very easily overwhelmed at the prospect of finding her stuff, or strategizing how to get it put away when it's time to clean up.  Breaking this process down into singular tasks is the best thing for her - you can't just tell her to go clean up the sun room; you have to tell her to go pick up the Pollys, then when that's done, tell her to go pick up the princesses, and so on.  That's why figuring out a system that works for her AND the rest of the family is so crucial.

The Lego situation, in particular, has spurred me to see if I could find something even better, even if it's just for the small stuff.  My aunt used to have this awesome drawstring bag for hers.  While my cousins or we played, the bag laid flat, like a play mat.  When it was time to clean up, all we had to do was shove the Legos onto the mat and pull the drawstring.  I think she made the bag herself or something.  If I tried to do that, it would be stapled and glued together.

Thank goodness for Google.  Look what I found on one of my new favorite websites, The Daily Grommet:

Absolutely BRILLIANT.

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