I think I went through typical writers block. As the days in summer blended together, so have the days of fall. Instead of group after group of children whizzing in and out, fall has become the season of cleaning and organizing. I would love to say that after a month and half the clean-up project is complete, but I would be lying.
I am proud to say that the sections have all been organized (aka shelf read in a way). And I am down to approximately 3 bins of mess instead of 6 and it is, and I mean this sincerely, organized mess. It just takes an amazing amount of energy, patience and time to dump out bins of miscellaneous pieces and put them in the bags which they belong. Any pieces that don't go into their "home" eventually make it to the wall of miscellaneous extra pieces. I am also trying to sort that out as I go, which is why, I believe it is taking so long. I am finding pieces of sets torn apart long ago and putting them back together, finally. Rescuing them from the dead, if you will. If you wait long enough, all the pieces make sense, kind of like a puzzle.
I have the uncanny ability of knowing where a piece of a toy belongs just by a simple glance. I can tell you which animal set a particular style of animal goes in, which game a pawn may go in, which set of baby toys the giraffe rattle goes in. Fisher Price makes this easy because they have so much consistency. So it started there.
I would like to say this ability was learned just by being surrounded by the toys. I would say 75% of it is. I learned how to do this job on the job. The other 25% of it I have Google to thank. I have the ability of finding whole toys by typing in description of some of the pieces. That comes in most use when I am sorting out donations. People will typically keep the whole set/ games together, but other times it is just a box of toys and I have to figure out what it is. There are a few other sites, especially the Fisher Price one, I use frequently. I am thankful for either the obsessiveness or boredom of people who have put these together. If only I could make a living making one myself.
This Old Toy-Fisher Price catalog of toys. Amazing resource if you are a collector of the brand. You can look up the play sets and then see how it's changed over the years. Also, you can look up an item by number and see which sets it's in.
bricks.argz.com- I found this one recently because I am trying to put together the mass amount of Duplos the library has into their correct sets. It will be a lengthy project. Anyway, thankfully all the bricks and pieces are numbered, because you can just look them up and it will tell you which set you can find it in. I am finding items from sets and I didn't even know we once owned!
Stingray's Hideaway: Toy Museum- I use this mostly for Little Tikes. It is a little harder to find items by pieces, but it does give you original catalog photos so you know which toys belong in a set.
I have to say that this whole organizing, putting things back together part of my job is probably the most productive feeling. I am adding back to the collection, I am making toy sets whole, they original way they were sold and enjoyed before coming to the library. Archiving toys is fun :-)