No one will deny the importance of play in a child’s life. However, just because play is important doesn’t mean their play area has to be a mess. Consider some of these tips on organizing your play room efficiently to finally get the area in order.

Begin sorting like items. This means getting all of the toy cars together and putting all of the doll items – dolls, clothes, accessories – in one place. Stack all books in one location. Find boxes or plastic totes to put the different toy items in. This will contain them until you’re ready to deal with them.

Once the items are separated and contained, start going through each container. You will be able to see how many toys your children have. You will also be able to determine which toys your children have outgrown. If they’ve outgrown the toys and don’t have an emotional attachment to them, put them aside to get rid of.

Decide what you will do with each toy. The choices are:

1. Keep it. Then decide where it will be kept or stored.

2. Donate it. Take it to Goodwill, Salvation Army, battered women’s shelter or another organization which accepts gently used toys.

3. Toss is. If it’s broken or not in good shape, get rid of it unless it has sentimental value.

4. Sell it. This option is only if you will have a yard sale quickly.

After you’ve purged your children’s toys, come up with a way to organize them. Get your children’s input. Ask them what would be easiest for them to put things back into when they’re finished playing with the toys. Plastic containers with lids, drawers or something else may be needed. The system doesn’t have to be expensive and is a good investment as long as the children will use it.

Think about what you’ve tried to use for organizing in the past. Perhaps they have a toy box with a lid which they can’t open. Chances are, if your children have problems with it, this may be the reason they’re not using it. Try to repurpose it in another room or get rid of it entirely. This will allow you room to try something different they will use.

Depending upon the age of your children, you may want to paste a picture of each item on the front of the box, bin or tote holding it. This will help them know which pieces go in which container. Lower shelves so your children can reach them, place boxes or bins back on them, and they will be more likely to keep things organized.

Have a specific place for them to be creative. A table and chairs with all arts and crafts supplies nearby may be just what your children need. Put a small bookshelf by the table with small bins with crayons, markers, clay or other craft items. Ask them to put things back when they’re finished with them to ensure the supplies don’t dry out or get ruined by some other means.

Take the time to help your children clean their play area or room after the new organization method is put in place. Show them where each item goes, point out the pictures and how you want the room to look when it is clean. Then let them do the work and you supervise, giving suggestions along the way.

When you’ve used some of these tips on organizing your play room efficiently and the children know what you expect, they should be able to keep their room in shape.