Genie, pretty much covered what I was going to say.
May I offer a suggestion if it is available to you:
First, turn a room or the basement into the designated toy area, if ou have the space. Someplace you can close the door on the mess and leave it there and your chances of having a toy-mess stroke have just dropped by 70%.
Our’s is our basement. 90% of the toys are there. No toys are allowed in the living room overnight, they must be put away. I’m not saying my children comply like zombies, oh I wish.
With this basement is a storage area that is Christmas stuff/sports stuff and the rest is toy’s. It is a lockable room.
( Four feet wide/ 35 feet long/no heat.) We do not allow the kids free access into it. If they want something out, another toy has to be picked up and put into it.
The playroom is usually a disaster, but limiting them to say, five or six toys a peice, cuts down on the tornado like spew pattern and lost peices (ha! who am I kidding) considerably.
I am not an anal person, (come and see our garage -loaded with loads of valuable things,FTR, but looks like a hurricane went through it.) kids need to be kids and making a mess is half the fun. But, we have all been to those houses that *always look like a toy bomb blew up in every room, every floor and outside *. This makes me wince. unless there is a major quarantine ( colds, sickness, long bouts of crappy weather), it is clearly a *child lead * house. Then, you go to the other kind of houses, where it looks like they never had kids, and everything is precise and perfect and very, very, surreal. This is clearly the home of drugged children who are so perfect it is frightening or Martha Stewart Wanna be’s. Avoid these people, they are space aliens.
One phenom to watch out for: stuffed animals multiply at an alarming rate. Just have one. One only. Put it in a box and leave it alone. I swear on all that is holy ( and holey) it will multiply on its own. I have, in 5 years, given away at leave 5 large garbage bags filled with stuffed animals. I have not bought any of them.