With that said, I am more than okay with packing away items that I'll reintroduce in a few months, while swapping out other toys and books. I'm also okay with stashing away toys for a few years until our youngest is old enough to find interest in them or find new use in the toys. Case in point, my oldest received a beautiful set of Brio blocks when she was just a year old. They sat, essentially untouched, for years. She chose books and other imaginative toys to play with instead. However, my middle child, absolutely loves blocks. Every since he was close to two years old, he was a builder. Now, my youngest has discovered blocks and also gravitates torwards them. Now, the blocks are used to construct rather detail oriented cities and buildings when my older son is playing with them and simpler buildings when my youngest is at play.
When I look around our home, I am so gratefuly my children have toys and books with which to use. And yet, when there is too much in their space, much of it is pulled out and disregarded pretty quickly. This is when rotating in and out toys and books makes sense. It brings new life to their toys and they tend to revisit books they had read months before. I also realized that I needed to step in and teach them how to organize and care for their things. Staying über-organized is not necessarily one of my best qualities, so it takes some conscious effort to revisit our organization and management of our stuff. But there's nothing like seeing your children's things strewn about the house to realize that something needs to change.
Deciding whether you can manage a home with one central toy box or instead prefer smaller organization systems is up to you. For us, the big toy box is useful for bigger items, such as the big dump truck, Hot Wheels loops and pieces and indoor sports equipment. It also tends to make searching for anything smaller a bit of a chore, and for that reason I don't love using a toy box as our primary way to store toys. For these items (Duplo®, Lincoln Logs, doll clothes, etc.), I prefer a multi-compartment toy organizer or small tupperware containers. This tends to keep items together and easily searchable. Be prepared, however, for your young child to disregard the sorting process when it's clean-up time. Instead, everything gets mixed together all for the sake of picking up. This might be when you decide at what age do you want your child to take more ownership of cleaning up and organizing. Or, maybe it's really of non-importance and as long as it's off the floor, it's a win!
Lastly, if your home is being overrun by stuff, take a step back and only keep the items that your child uses regularly or has potential for future use. I find that my older son loves to collect as many of something as he can when his interest is high (i.e., dinosaurs, Legos, Monster Trucks). This means that one Christmas he walked away with over twenty dinosaur figures. Where are they now? Well, I can tell you he most certainly does not play with them daily! We have a few upstairs, with the rest packed away for when our youngest finds an interest in dinosaurs. But did my older son need this many dinosaurs? Absolutely not. Did he enjoy them for the six months he was obsessed with all things dinosaur? Yes, he did. But I guarantee he would've been just as happy with five as he was with twenty five. In these situations, you may want to kindly request to gracious grandparents that even though your son absolutely loves trains, he absolutely does not need to be gifted more and more and more trains.
And someone wise recently reminded me that I won't always be living with all these toys and books underfoot. So for now, I'm going to find balance between too much and just right.