Monday, 16 April 2012

Storing Outdoor Play Materials

Well, now that you have reviewed your inventory of outdoor materials, it is time to make sure that they are organized and available to the children so that they are easily accessible and quick to clean up.

When it comes to organizing outdoor toys, the same strategies that you would use inside also apply for outside. I grew up with the saying: "A place for everything and everything in its place" and when you assign a specific home for toys, they are more likely to be put away. There are many options for outdoor toy storage, and it is best if things are stored in a covered area away from the rain/snow. If you have a garage, that's great, but under the deck or patio works, too. You can also purchase outdoor storage containers that are normally used for deck storage, but also work great for outdoor play items.

Here are a few ideas for outdoor storage that you can adapt for your own situation:

The most important thing to remember is to label your containers - this helps at clean up time. You can purchase plastic luggage tags and slide a piece of paper inside to label bins. There are also many different types of labels available - some can even be written on with chalk and then erased if you change what's in the container. Make sure whatever type of label you do choose will work indoors and outdoors, depending on where your storage is.

You don't need to spend a lot of money on containers, either. Dollar stores, second-hand stores, Walmart, and Superstore all have a variety of inexpensive baskets and bins available. Make sure that you know what types and sizes of baskets you will need BEFORE you buy any - there is nothing more frustrating that spending money on things that you don't need or don't fit on your shelves.

And remember, even toddlers can be taught how to put toys away. Once you have things organized, spend some time teaching the children where everything belongs, and practice putting items away. It may take a few days of guidance from you, but once they learn where everything goes it will help things stay tidy in your outdoor play space and keep things more sane for you.

Have some outdoor storage ideas to share? Leave a comment and share it with our readers!

Happy organizing!


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