My husband is a genius... I know why God gave me this man... to fill in for my numerous short comings!
Daily I've gotten use to spending hours cleaning up the mounds of toys. We DO have a rule that you play with a toy, put it away, before getting out another. But, for the life of me, I've found it nearly impossible to enforce this rule with any success. The minute I look away, some thing else is coming out.
Now, I have tried to do things to both limit toys and also to make them less accessible by putting them into sorted bins that snap shut and are stacked in closets... but try as I may... most days our older daughters room was piled a foot high with polly pockets, food toys, dolls and legos! Then I'd spend an hour helping her sort them... with a less than happy attitude.
Last week Tim came into Addie's room as I was helping her clean up and said, "Whoa, what mess! What are you doing?" I replied, "For the millionth time this week, helping her pick up!"
His eyes lit up and said, "I'll be back!"
He returned with a large rubber maid tub and told Addie, "You must put ALL your toys in this bin... every single one." Then he brought out a smaller bit about double the size of a shoe box and said, "You can fill this bin up with toys you want to play with for the next month... these are all the toys you can play with... then at the end of the month you can 'go shopping' in the big bin and pick out new toys for the next month. If we find any toys not put away by bed time, they will go into the big bin for the rest of the month, you don't get to play with them until the end of the month."
All I'll say is that it has worked wonders! The mess is manageable for Addie to do on her own... she doesn't have to worry about sorting, and honestly she is content with fewer toys!