Saturday, August 6, 2011

Kid-Approved Toy Storage

I am not an organized person. I love to create and leave a tornado behind me. I also have a hard time completing projects because I get distracted by the next one before the previous one is finished. Since I know that about myself, I have to make sure that I am really disciplined when I start a task. I need a large chunk of time (something that is sometimes impossible to find with my kiddos running around).

This week's job was organizing all of the toys in our house to make them more 'kid-approved!" Before this week we had some buckets and a few toys bins with a hodgepodge of everything in them. I decided to follow the example of my husband and insanely organized Mother-in-law and make sure that every toy had a specific place to go. I dumped all of the toys out in the center of our living room and started sorting. If it didn't have a spot, it went in a holding bag. At the end of organizing, I decided if it was worth adding to the "miscellaneous" basket or if it needed to just get donated or trashed. Some toys got relocated to my craft cupboard to use for "independent art station tools."

I made labels for each basket in our toy room with a photo of the items that belong in the basket and the names of those objects.

We also made a rule that in the playroom (our living room which has no furniture in it), kids can take one basket out at a time (unless it is part of a set, for example: they can take out the little people, little people fences, and little people farm all at the same time).

I also created an independent reading area for my son. I'll be rotating books in and out. He loves it and likes showing his bear some books too.

I kept heavy or big things like blocks close to the ground. These are probably the easiest things to clean up, but make the house look the most messy because they take up so much spacing. Having a space to keep them has really been helping my son when it is clean up time.

I'm almost done with the overhaul in my son's room. He has these toy bins from Target. Originally I wanted to start fresh with something different and a little cuter, but since money doesn't grow on trees, I decided to just stick with what we have and try to organize it a bit better. I am still trying to figure out where to put labels on these bins. I'm thinking the back of the bin (on the inside)? Or on the front of each bin? Thoughts? If I put them on the bottom, then the labels get covered up when toys get put in.

Lego tubs are hidden in a cupboard... so they are accessible, but not that accessible... so they won't be everywhere all the time.

I am still also trying to figure out how I want to organize some of our nicer picture books- my teacher books- the ones my little guy can rip easily if they are at his eye/hand level. These ones are on higher shelves in his closet. Some of these books are also ones that I rotate in and out of his book sleeves.

Do you keep them stored away? Put them in baskets and hope they don't get ripped?

All in all, I think the labels with pictures and designated bins for each type of toy is going to work well. As there is an influx of toys with the holidays... all of my organization typically goes out the window. I planning for this year to be different!

I am also going through our toys and deciding which ones we still use (or which ones my daughter will use as she gets older) before I donate some. Since we host playgroup quite often and love having lots of kids over, it is nice to have a variety of toys... but keeping control of the clutter as toys move from room to room can be chaotic!

My goal this weekend is to give my son a tour of each newly organized room and have several practice sessions with returning toys to their proper places. I'm hoping if I can teach him where everything goes, he can become my little toy monitor :) He has an awesome memory for things like that!

Please pass along any other tips or words of advice about organizing and teaching kids to be organized!


  1. This is nice. How nicely these are arranged. thanks for sharing.

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  2. Where did you get your bookshelves and baskets?

    1. Rebecca the bookshelf was bought about 6 yrs ago at Costco and the baskets are from Target.

  3. Books are for reading, they can be taped back together or purchased again. Every book in my house was out for reading and within reach! Yep there were some books that were read to death. Pat the Bunny comes to mind, my daughter and her buddy ate at least 2 of them...but that's okay. It's not out of print. Jillian, Jillian, Jillian Jigs! It Looks Like Your Room has been Lived in by Pigs is in pieces by my bed where it has lived for nearly 20 years. My daughter is graduating from college in May! Guess what! She'll be a reading specialist! So...books are there for the total experience. We love books :)

  4. Great Job! Everything look nicely organized. I like the labels idea and the reading area. My daughter's room is well organized too but I am getting new ideas here. Thanks for sharing

  5. Labels for the wooden shelving with plastic bins... what about hanging labels from the wooden dowels in the front that the bins rest on? Then another label on the inside towards the back of the bin with the same photo/words so if the kids take the bins down, they know where to put each bin, and if the bins are left on the shelf, they can easily see where everything goes.

  6. Thanks for sharing and helping give ideas! I am so not good at organizing because I am constantly using things everyday!(why organize if I'm just going to use it lol) but with having small rooms and two closets FULL to the top of toys in boxes, totes, and milkcrates something needs to be done ;) I have been letting my boys(4 & 5) use the 3-Drawer Plastic Storage Rollers(without rollers) to store their "Action Figures" "Little People" and "Kitchen Food" that seems to be working great! Just wish I had more of them! and I am always sorting their toys every week to every other week--habit because I would always find food since my youngest is a food monster ;)or broken toys. Good Luck to you!!! Thanks for sharing! :D

  7. I've found that with my nephews and neices, it's important to make proper and organised storage a fun event so that they keep their things. Having nice-looking containers help a lot too of course!

  8. Very inspiring! I covet your playroom!


  9. This is a great article! I notice you created an independent reading area for your kids. We found our kids love to read and play in the lounge, but there’s no room for bookcases or big toy boxes there. So I designed the Rainbow Box – a fun, colourful portable storage box allowing us to store books and do toy rotation anywhere in the house. It’s at toddler level and makes it easy for our kids to pick a book or toy and then put it away again.

    The Rainbow Box is handmade in Wales from ethically-sourced materials and is designed to be long lasting and durable, kind to the environment, eco-friendly and non toxic.
    I wanted to design furniture that children really do love, and to celebrate childhood through great design, vibrant colours and a planet friendly ethos.


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