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How to Organize Toys
One of the biggest challenges that we all face in our homes as parents is…toy clutter. Yep. It’s true! If you aren’t careful about it, toys can start coming out of the woodworks. Kids bring stuff home from school, from birthday parties, and of course, you can’t forget the ever-doting family members that show their love through nerf guns.
Now don’t get me wrong-we appreciate it! We love having new toys around to play with, and every kid deserves a childhood filled with wonder and imagination. But how do we avoid our homes from being taken over by kid stuff in order to save our time and energy? Here are my best tips to organize toys.
Side note: I recently rebranded my site from Keri Keeps Up to Families & Finance. Please forgive the stamp on my images, I will be updating them asap! Blogger Lesson #243,534: Don’t save over your original image.
1. Decide on Your Space
The first tip is to set boundaries. Basically, you need to decide where the toys will be kept, and then that is where they will stay. If they start spilling into other areas, it is time to purge! This doesn’t mean pick a closet and fill it with toys. I actually think that choosing strategic areas throughout your home is a much more functional way to store things. Don’t worry, I will explain.
Related: How to Overcome Overwhelm When Decluttering: My Mindset Secrets
2. Pay attention to what needs have to be filled.
If you only have a baby, a tall vertical space is probably not ideal for toy storage unless you only want them to access the bottom shelves. Try using a bench with baskets underneath so that they can reach whatever they feel like playing with. Some other ideas would be a storage ottoman or the low drawers on a secured dresser.
On the same note, if you are meeting the needs of several different aged children, a closet or bookcase could be perfect because you can put toys for older children up high. Floating shelves are also a favorite of mine. In short, use any combination of storage ideas, as long as they will meet your functionality needs! This is how I have done it:
Tip: Create a setup that your kids can use WITHOUT you having to help all the time. Trust me, your kids can actually play without your assistance. I dare say it’s even good for them. So, make it possible for them to access the stuff that they can play with independently so that they can actually use it!
3. Separate Your Toys
If you just read my headline, you might be thinking, there it is. Toy rotation. Knew that was coming. That is actually not what I mean! Although toy rotation is a great method, it only works if you are consistent and implement the system on a schedule. I personally can’t make it work, so I have found other ways to avoid toy overkill and keep some intrigue so that my kids don’t get bored. One idea that I have been using for a couple of years now is to segment my children’s toys according to where it makes the most sense.
Instead of keeping everything in their bedroom or the playroom, I have little stations set up all throughout the house. Besides the bedroom closet that holds the majority of the kids’ toys, we have several different storage spaces.
We have a drawer in the living room full of baby toys because that is where we spend time playing with Willow. We also have our play kitchen items in the kitchen, and we keep our board games in the camper since we don’t often get the chance to play when we are home. Art supplies are at the desk. Legos are in Parker’s room, and so are matchbox cars and tracks, because Aaro can’t put the tracks together alone yet. Outside toys belong in the tire toy box we made.
By separating the toys into different areas, the kids aren’t overwhelmed by them or digging through them and leaving a pile. When you only have a small bin to clean up at a time, it is easy to get it done! Another perk is that not every toy is seen on a daily basis, so the kids stay interested.
Just like before, in order to make these stations work, you still have to follow the boundary rule. Once the drawer is full, something has to go if you want to make space for anything new.
4. Use Containers For Smaller Toys
Now that you have a general idea of how much space you have and where it will be, you need to make it as functional as possible. Measure your furniture(or closet) so that you can buy containers that will fit into it just right. Even if you have chosen to put everything in the same room, I highly recommend using containers for small items or any group that has a lot of items in it. For example, I use a cute basket for our books. This basket is super easy to move around and pick which story to read without worrying about the books all falling over, or having to hold the kids up to the shelf while they browse it.
In general, being able to move a container full of items around is such an easy and convenient way to keep everything nice. When you are looking for something specific, you can pull the container out easily to find it, then put it right back where it belongs without disturbing any other organization in the larger space. If you want to avoid piling toys into a chest every day or reorganizing the bookshelf, having smaller containers is essential.
5. Prevent Toy Storage System Failure
While you are still in the planning stages, don’t forget to think about all of the things that could go wrong with your system and then prevent them. For instance, my middle child was a “dumper”. He dumped anything and everything he could at every chance he got. Canvas bins were no longer working for us. At that point, I designed this tote to keep the toys organized, but together. It worked amazingly well! When we moved, we had to figure something else out.
After measuring my space, and a bit of brainstorming, I decided that small boxes with lids would be a good alternative to the tote toy box. After some measuring, I found out that three of these Sterilite boxes would fit into one of the closet drawers. Bingo!
It’s not in this picture, but our block drawer also has these bins in it. I really love how sturdy these lid clasps are and I have started to use them all over my house. My plan is working like a gem. Willow is starting to dump everything now, but she can’t figure out how to get the lid off! By the time she can comprehend getting the lid off, she will also be ready to learn that she has to clean up her mess.
A few other things that might be an issue are tipping furniture(find a way to secure it so you don’t need to worry about it!), climbers(avoid bookcases), and overall damage(don’t put your kids’ stuff into something that you don’t want to be damaged because it probably will get hurt! Minimize the risk and find something that isn’t going to matter long term).
6. Organize Toys
As you can see from the above photo, sorting the toys is an important part of this process. This could be a simple job, or a difficult task depending on how many toys your kids have. The great thing is that you plan to use containers(or have I not convinced you yet?!), so you can start grouping similar items together easily. When we were sorting our toys there was a trend: lots of trucks and cars. This is how our process went:
As you can see, my boys really love trucks and cars. One container was not going to be enough, so we just niched into more specific categories. I would recommend this in any situation! Having them all separated has almost created the effect of a toy rotation without any of the efforts. It is wonderful. (Now that I think of it, our drawers are kind of tough to open, so I usually open one drawer and they play with what they see that day. I guess it is just a new kind of accidental toy rotation. Ha!)
If you can’t seem to get the toys to fit into the space you have chosen, you either have to expand your boundaries or get rid of some toys. I vote for the second option, but I think that is a personal decision! 😉 Once you have grouped all of the toys together, put them into the proper bin and put the bin away. Voila!
Related: How To Banish Clutter To Achieve Your Dream Home
Toy Storage System Bliss
Now that you have put all of this time and energy into creating a functional system for toy storage, it should be pretty simple to maintain. Use the power clean-up method every evening and stop tripping over your kids’ stuff. Don’t let toys control your home any longer!