Toy Organization – the 4 Commandments

Blog Mom Life June 10, 2013

If I told you my house was clean and organized all the time, I’d be lying.

My biggest challenge with house cleaning and organization is that I work from home.  It takes a lot of self-control to NOT do housework that’s begging to be done when I’m in-between client calls or trying to procrastinate from doing the stuff I don’t like, like bookkeeping.

My work hours are work hours, and I have no business cleaning my house during my work day.  But some days it seems I can literally hear my clean dishes calling to me, “Stacy, put me away!”  Or the clothes in the dryer are yelling, “Fold me!”  And the little man’s toys?  “Put me away before you step on me and break your leg!”

No!  Leave me alone!  I have a BUSINESS to run!

I recently met a fellow woman entrepreneur, Marissa Hagmeyer, whose business is focused on helping others live NEAT so that they have more time to focus on their families and businesses.

Marissa said she hears the same question countless times, “What can be done about my children’s toys? It drives me crazy when they are everywhere!”  Yes.  Crazy.

She has shared her step by step process to tackle the toy problem, and she says it really works.  She also said it will not only leave us cleaning less, but will give our children the early literacy skills needed to successfully navigate the early years in school.

Organized toys courtesy of NEAT MethodHer prescription:

 Step 1: Categorize

Take your children’s toys and separate them into as many categories as necessary.

The typical home “organization” solution is to have a few large bins and just throw all the toys in. By separating the toys, it is easy to see what items can be discarded as well as which category of toys is excessive.

Sometimes, it’s easy to over buy when you don’t know what you have. Categorizing will solve this issue once and for all.

Step 2: Contain

NEAT Method encourages all clients to use the clear shoeboxes from the Container Store.  This way, it is easy to see what toys are in each bin. The lids make the bins extremely transportable.

Now taking toys from the playroom into the car for a road trip can be seamless. 

Step 3: Classify

Labeling the bins promotes early literacy skills. The child can see what is in the bin and can relate what they see to the words on the front.  These skills will help children with their reading strategies as they begin to look for text clues by referencing the pictures in children’s books.   

 Step 4: Consistency

When the expectation is set that the items need to go away in their proper bins, children can successfully clean up at the end of play time. When the bins are not cleaned up properly, the bin can be taken away for a period of time until the child is ready to put the toys where they belong.

By following the 4 C’s your family will be well on its way to living NEAT and your life will feel much less hectic. Who knows maybe you will even have time for the gym or a home cooked meal now that you aren’t constantly cleaning up!

Marissa Hagmeyer Headshot - for NEAT MethodNEAT Method was originally founded in San Francisco and is rapidly expanding across the US.  Marissa recently launched South Florida as an Independent Organizing Professional and is already very busy helping South Florida women leave what she calls ‘the NEAT life’.

NEAT Method specializes in home and office organizing that brings style, comfort and efficiency to your space.  Their services have been changing the way Moms across America live for years.  NEAT not only helps organize clutter but also prides themselves on implementing systems that every family can sustain.

For more information on NEAT Method visit their website Marissa can also be reached via email at or at 630.750.3774.

Happy Organizing!

Oh – and remember – don’t do this during your work day!  xx

*Marissa is our featured guest speaker at our July breakfast of South Florida Mompreneurs!

She is presenting:

Organizing 101 for the Work-at-Home Entrepreneur.

For event details and to register, click here.

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  • Hi Stacy,

    Hope your Tuesday is feelin’ good and happy!

    Just want to thank you for sharing Marissa’s NEAT organizing methods…I’m just learning of her work, but totally use the same approach in my own life. I am a “neat freak” at heart and LOVE organizing…I appreciate that Marissa has created a clear and simple program to help those who are a little less “type A.”

    When we are able to organize & clear our space, we more easily move into a clear mind and heart…creating an environment that nourishes our spirit and helps us shine our brightest light!

    With Love, Gratitude, and Clarity,

    Denise 🙂

    • Stacy says:

      “When we are able to organize & clear our space, we more easily move into a clear mind and heart…” – TOTALLY, Denise. And when we tend to it and nurture the space to maintain its “neatness” – we are really exercising self-love and self-respect. The key to shining bright! Thank you so much for your thoughtful and inspired comment, Denise! xx

  • Donella says:

    This post is a year old now, but what a gem! Messy toys drive me crazy, too. That’s one thing that I don’t have a good handle on yet, but I’m trying to get them organized now. There are so many challenges (and distractions) when you work from home. I talked about decluttering and 16 more tips to improve work at home productivity here if you’re interested: Have a great (and productive) week!

    • Stacy says:

      I LOVED your tips, Donella. So spot on. So important to keep a schedule, get dressed, get out of the office, all of it. Thank you for sharing the link!

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