But fifteen month olds come with lots of toys. I can't even blame grandparents, or aunts, because they do a great job of buying her a reasonable amount of items at the appropriate times. It's me. And Amazon prime and Etsy. She's constantly growing and I work hard to provide toys that will challenge and engage her intellectual development.
As a reading teacher, I place a high value on literacy. We are constantly adding children's books to our collection. There are fun ways to do this without spending more than you can afford.
(Sidenote: our family is also very willing to buy things off Addy's Amazon and Etsy wishlists. It helps tremendously because her new items are things she actually needs, are developmentally appropriate, and overall are things we're happy to bring into our home. I highly recommend making wishlists for yourself and your kids as well!)
Toys and books. They're all over the house. And honestly, that's the way we like it. Addy lives here too, so our home should meet her needs. It helps keep her entertained when our attention isn't focused on her. It gives us more options to play with, since parents get tired of the same toys too. We keep toys in the living room, her bedroom, the kitchen, and the playroom upstairs. (There's also a handful in her diaper bag and the car at all times.)
All of her toys have a spot. We're not talking a spot where we dump everything in a basket, but a designated shelf for each toy. This limits the number of toys in one area, it helps Addy see what she has available to her, and it helps us when it's time to clean up. Here are her shelves:
I keep a variety of toys on each shelf. Stacking toys, blocks, puzzles, animals, books. etc. This gives her different options depending on what she feels like doing at the moment.
Every two weeks I gather ALL the toys in the living room. I grab all the toys from her shelves, as well as the boxes of toys I keep in a storage closet. Then, I rotate. I switch toys out from storage with the toys she had out to play with. Sometimes I just move a toy/activity from one area to another. I choose one item per shelf (upstairs gets 7 plus a book stack, the living room gets 3 plus a book stack, her bedroom gets 3 or 4).
Here's the why.
Toys that aren't in rotation end up being stored in clear boxes, grouped in similar categories (as much as I can). Early on I tried having each box hold an assortment of items from each category, so the entire box could go on a shelf together, but it didn't feel right to me. You have to do what works best for YOU and your home.
Toy rotation has made our home tidier, less cluttered, and more peaceful. Addy is grasping the concept of putting things back (because that proves that she's just the smartest baby in the whole world, of course). It's far from perfect- some toys still end up scattered without a home- but we're always striving for improvement, not perfection.