Spring is definitely turning into summer! The weather has warmed up and all the garden toys and games are finding their way outside, as well as some things that probably aren’t quite so sturdy.
In an ideal world, kids would play with one or two things at a time and put everything away neatly before moving onto something else. But we live in the real world which means everything is likely to come out, and if you’re lucky a small portion of it may find its way back indoors – eventually. After all, it’s going to be played with again tomorrow, what’s the point of bringing it in? The rain! Unfortunately for us, warmer weather generally brings heavy showers, so you need to make sure you have some easy storage solutions for getting everything put away quickly.
Putting things away will also help prevent damage and not just to the toys! Stepping on small toys is painful, and tripping can cause more serious injury. However, if toys get caught up in your lawnmower or strimmer, it could also mean the death of your garden equipment.
So how do you encourage your children to not only put things away, but put things away properly? I could say talk to them about the value of replacing things, the importance of looking after things, safety etc. and of course, we all need to do that if our children are going to learn But in addition, there’s one key thing you can do – make it as easy as possible for them!
If things live in the garden shed or garage make sure there’s a space that’s accessible for them. If they have to clamber around the car and lawnmower, it’s very likely everything will get dumped just inside the door meaning you’ll need to move it all before you move the car or the mower out.
There are lots of storage options out there and they don’t have to cost the earth. Plastic buckets from a local DIY store can be bought for as little as £1. You may even find your local supermarket or bakery has plastic crates that they’re happy for you to take. That old cupboard sitting in the back of the garage – what about putting some shelves and hooks in it and making it the toy cupboard? Painting and decorating it could even become a project for the whole family.
Here are our tips for quick storage solutions
Garage / shed hooks
If tennis rackets, badminton rackets and skipping ropes have caught you around the ankles before, consider putting a few hooks or long screws along the wall. This will allow rackets, ropes and hoops to be hung up quickly and easily, but remember to put them where they can be reached.
If you have space a dedicated shelving unit in the shed or garage where everything can be kept in one place is ideal. Remember to make sure it’s secured to a wall to prevent it toppling – it’s likely to have more things on it at the end of the summer than it did at the beginning!
These are great for indoor storage of balls, games, water toys; in fact, anything! Even better, label them so wet play toys go in one bucket and dry play in others, ensuring things last a little longer. Tip: if you decide some things can be left outside in open buckets or tubs, drill a few holes in the bottom to allow water to drain through.
Tubs with lids
Like the bucket idea but have no storage space inside? Use clear plastic boxes with lids. That way they can stay stacked outside on the patio. Clear boxes ensure your children can see what’s inside each and prevents them emptying multiple boxes in an attempt to find something.
Multi use furniture
You can now get many types of garden furniture with storage underneath. Most common is a garden bench with box storage underneath. You may even be able to fit some small tubs inside to help organise things.
If you can get your kids to put things away it’ll make it a whole lot easier at the end of the season, when it’s time to have a good sort out and store everything away until next year. The chances are they’ll have more things at the end of the season than they had at the beginning and if you’ve been organised throughout the summer months, you won’t be panicking about finding space to put it away in.
If you’ve also added some new garden furniture to the mix and think you’ll struggle to find storage space at the end of the season there’s always the option of a self storage unit. Be sure to clean and dry everything before you store it away.Space Centre Self Storage have facilities in North Bristol, Stroud and Gloucester.
Have you mastered the art of organising the summer toys and games? If so, and you’ve got more useful hints and tips or innovative storage solutions, why not share them?
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