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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Steal This Idea: Develop a System for Toys

By Keri Foy 

Grayson Chisholm embraces order. Photo by Tiffany Chisholm

After a play date with Grayson Chisholm, age 5, my kids felt like they were on Easy Street.

When we offered to help Grayson, son of Ryan and Tiffany of Henry County, clean up the toys, he politely refused and asked that we leave the toys on the floor of his room. Tiffany casually called out from the other room, “Grayson likes to put his toys back a certain way.”


Part of me did an internal happy dance (because I get tired of picking up toys anyway), but the other part of me felt guilty. Here, my three kids had demolished her house and were only expected to simply place the toys into Grayson’s room for him to do all the dirty work. After a couple of reassurances from Grayson and Tiffany, I sheepishly loaded my kids in the van and wondered, “How did she create such a marvelously well-organized child?”

Was it nature or nurture? Tiff says nature, with a little help from nurture.

When Grayson was two years old, Tiffany noticed his knack for organization. She would find Grayson arranging toys by characters. “At that time he was into Cars and Toy Story, so all the Cars characters would stay together, and all the Toy Story toys would stay together,” says Tiffany. Grayson even matched the bins to the main character’s main color: red bins for Cars star Lightning McQueen and green for Ninja Turtles. It makes perfect sense.

“I like to know where my toys are,” says Grayson, who has always liked his clothes to match and his hands to be clean. “He’s just got a Type A personality,” says Tiff. “I think it’s part of being the first-born.”

Now Tiffany and Grayson have a tried-and-true system in place that helps Grayson organize his toys, thanks to a toy organizer his grandmother purchased a couple years ago. The bins tilt toward you, so Grayson can see exactly what’s inside.

The method of organization: Cleaning up and organizing are woven into the Chisholm daily bedtime routine. “We take a bath, play a little bit, clean up toys, read books, and go to bed,” says Tiffany. This established nighttime ritual helps set expectations at an early age.

“Everything has its designated place,” adds Tiffany. As a youngster, Tiffany, like Grayson, displayed a penchant for zero clutter. She had a spot on her desk for her stapler and pens and would know immediately if they were out of place.

That philosophy of organization has, of course, found roots in her home.

How do you teach your kids about organization?

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