It's a super simple concept, but I needed a guideline - somewhere to start. I decided my kids wouldn't ever be able to play with, or need more than five of any item. This meant no more than five matchbox cars, five barbies, five doctor accessories, five types of fake food, five stuffed animals etc. I started sorting through their playroom and filled 3 large Rubbermaid bins full of anything that exceeded five. I kept their favorite items as to not arouse suspicion from the oldest one, and I also rearranged the playroom so it looked different. I made some exceptions to the rule of five, including books, board games, Legos and dress up clothes.
We're three weeks into the change and I am pleased with the results. The mess at the end of the day is manageable enough now that the kids are able to help me pick up. The playroom doesn't get so messy that they are too overwhelmed to go into the playroom, they seem like they play more intentionally with items because there aren't so many things distracting them. I've noticed they are playing more in the playroom and their toys aren't spilling out into the rest of the house as much. They haven't seemed to notice that they are missing toys either. I'm happy that the playroom looks more organized overall.
I plan to rotate out the toys from the 3 bins that we packed away to help keep the toys fresh and exciting for the kids. If it wasn't obvious - all this changing, removing and switching needs to be done under the cloak of the darkness at night to avoid melt downs.
Do you have any tips or tricks to keep the playroom chaos under control? Do you think the rule of five would work for your house?