I tackled the organization of my game closet recently. It turns out it ain’t so bad to have a kid get his tonsils out. A lot can be accomplished with 3.75 ml of Lortab.
First, it isn’t enough to reorganize. It is also important to de-own. I had to decide what games to keep and what games to give away. As I went through the closet, I got rid of games that were
- missing pieces (Can you say Operation? Who still has all their body parts?)
- no longer developmentally appropriate
- never used
- boring or stupid (Have you ever played Fancy Nancy Posh Bedroom Game? Don’t.)
- draining- it took more energy to maintain the parts then it did to play the game (lots of batteries, small parts, many pieces, etc.)
Next, I wanted to get most of the games out of their boxes and into plastic drawers.
Stay with me on this one. I know it costs extra money to buy drawers, but here is why the transfer from box to drawer was worth it to me:
Plastic drawers are much more durable than cardboard boxes (and look nicer too!) Many of the boxes were beat up and split at the corners. You can tape the corners but that only lasts so long as well. Plastic bins are a one time investment.
Plastic bins make clean up easier. Some boxes only fit the games if you put the parts back in exactly the right way. It took almost as long to put Dominoes away as it did to play them because you had to stack the Dominoes perfectly in one by one into a column like box. With plastic drawers, all you do is put the drawer on the edge of the table and swipe the game pieces in. Easy peezy.
Plastic drawers are all the same size and look neat and tidy in the closet. Board game boxes are all different sizes which makes them difficult to stack neatly and nicely. And the more you stack, the less stable the stacks are.
And my favorite reason to convert to plastic drawers, is that drawers take less energy. They make random game pieces that you find lying around the house so much easier to put away. When you find that Jenga block or the Connect 4 chip under the bed, what are the chances you are going to walk downstairs, pull out the box on the bottom of an unstable pile, open the lid, put the game piece away and then close the lid just right, and then put the box back on top? Slim to none if you are me. And if you ask your child to do it for you, chances are a stack of games will fall out as he tries to remove the box from the bottom. But if you have all your games in a plastic drawer, the kids can just pull out the drawer and put the stray piece in. Again, easy peezy.
Lastly, I labeled the drawers using Avery labels and a cute font.
Now some of you might be saying, “But how do you fit the game boards in the plastic drawers?” And the answer is “You don’t.” (Sorry. It isn’t perfect, but it works. I promise.) I store the game boards to the side of the plastic bins along with any other big parts of the game that won’t fit in the drawer. I labeled those too so I would know at glance what game board it was.
A few games took two drawers and sometimes I even put two games in one drawer. I left some games in their boxes for now, and for a few of the big, awkward ones I threw away their thrashed boxes and put them in a cloth bin at the bottom of the closet. Even though every game didn’t fit perfectly into a bin, the closet feels much cleaner and much more stable now.
With most of my games tucked safely away in plastic drawers, next I tackled my game cards box.
Many of the boxes had fallen out the bottom and I had taped them or I had thrown away the box.
So I saw the idea on Pinterest to use a plastic soap dish to store cards. Well, I went to three different stores and couldn’t find any soap dishes that were big enough so I decided to come up with plan B.
I found these index card holders on Clearance in the School Supply section at Target last week. They had a few different color options.
The index card holders would have to do instead. I was pleasantly surprised how well they worked. All of my game cards fit in great with some room to spare.
I labeled them too and stored all the card games in a plastic tote.
Lastly, I organized our puzzle collection.
I put all the smaller puzzles in Ziploc bags with the Easy Zipper so my kids could get in and out, well, easily.
All of my puzzle boxes were split at the corners anyway, so I just cut out the front picture and put it in the front of the plastic package.
Locke me to have a reference when we put the puzzle together.
(Locke got these little orange socks from the hospital and he loves them.)
Now my game closet is all organized and ready to go for our Family Game Nights.
(Did anyone actually read that whole thing? Man, it was long.)
I don’t want you to think that I cranked out all these projects on one dose of Lortab. It actually took me several doses and several weeks to get everything done and labeled and I still have a few loose ends to wrap up. But organization is doable over time and with baby steps. And it is worth it. Good Luck!