Most families I know have some sort of “purging” of the old toys in order to make room for new Christmas gifts—at least in a limited sense. I mentioned before that we haven’t had much choice but to go through and get rid of things periodically due to the size of our house and the number of people living in it!
Like any other organizational strategy that you try to implement, organizing and sorting of toys will go smoother (eventually, obviously this doesn’t happen immediately), and the long term storage of toys and children’s things will be more permanent (if the word permanent can even be used in the same sentence with words about kids’ stuff!), if you enlist the help of your kids in doing this.
We have done this different ways—getting things ready to go to a children’s home, giving things to another family who doesn’t have as many toys and games as yours does, and even giving to Goodwill have all turned out to be good motivators with our children to get rid of things. (Of course, it takes a little extra work to get old toys, games, and books ready to GIVE away as opposed to just pitching them, but even that is a lesson in thinking of others. We do the extra it takes to repair game boxes and be sure dice are within the box because we are doing this for someone else.)
As for organizing the remaining games, toys, books, etc., we have had many systems in place for these. I will elaborate on some of these strategies in the days to come (as well as give reviews and ideas from some of our favorite toys and books through the years)!
In the meantime, I leave you with this tip: it really is worth the time and headache to do cleaning and organizing projects (especially of the children’s things) together as a family. It teaches children how to clean, organize, sort, discard, etc.—the thought processes that are needed in order to manage “stuff.” And, just as importantly, if children help develop the system, they are more likely to keep the system up (i.e. during their chores, jurisdictional cleaning times, etc.)