If you have small children you know how quickly toys accumulate. Somehow a tiny baby who starts out with a handful of rattles and a play mat grows into a toy-crazed preschooler with enough Thomas trains to start his own eBay shop. When I wrote about our toy conundrum way back in October, to say I felt overwhelmed by the amount of toys in our living room would be an understatement. Without a dedicated playroom in our home, the living room is a catchall space and I am starting to lose my mind. At the end of a busy day at work and once the kids are in bed, I don’t want to sit on my couch and be surrounded by toys; I crave a more peaceful environment.
To kick-start my organizing efforts, I formed a toy organization game-plan using Evernote. No, this is not a sponsored post. My director at work, a woman for whom I have a great amount of respect, turned me on to Evernote a while back and it’s such a handy way to keep track of all kinds of ideas and lists for both work and home. So why not toy organization?
Divide the note into toy zones
Some of you (hi, Mom!) prefer handwritten checklists and that’s totally cool. But if you are like me and spend 90% of your day in front of a computer, create a new note in Evernote and write down the zones you want the toys to occupy. For me, that’s the cupboard in our built-in bookcase, the TV stand/media cabinet, toy corner (which will have a shelving unit), and the kid’s bedrooms. I focused on which zones I would keep and not the ones that are going away.
Be specific about what toys will go in each bin or basket so that you can determine what will and will not fit in advance, and also create graphic labels.
Use check boxes to stay on target
Check boxes are a great little tool to remind you of what you’ve already accomplished as well as what’s left to do. Evernote’s little check box feature is in the toolbar at the top of the note:
Use the check boxes to keep track of what you what to remove from each zone, what needs to be done to prepare it, what will be put back in the space, and what must be purchased.
Note that I started my Evernote list after we purged damaged books as well as unloved or outgrown toys from the space. If you haven’t completed that step, you should start there. Since we already purged, in addition to noting what I plan to put back in the space I added tasks like selling the changing table (yes, we had a changing table in the living room), throwing away a broken lamp, and adding a pretty rug to make the space more inviting and comfortable.
Link up products and inspiring images
It’s easy to keep track of what you want to buy by creating a hyperlink in Evernote. Simply highlight your text, right click, and select “Hyperlink -> Add”:
You can use the same method to link up inspiring images, or use the paperclip icon (seen in the toolbar image above) to attach a file to the note.
A checklist is only good if you actually check things off the list and truly, that’s the hardest part. You can see that we’re slowly making progress. In fact, the media cabinet is almost done – I just need to label the new DVD boxes and photograph them so I can share the project with you. We purged a lot of toys, sold the changing table this weekend, got rid of a broken lamp in the toy corner, laid down a gorgeous rug that’s been in storage under our bed, and bought trimmings to update the canvas bins that were previously used in the changing table. Checking things off in Evernote helps me to stay on task and reminds me that I have indeed made progress.
Are you a fan of Evernote? Are you also tackling toy organization this year? I’d love to hear your ideas!