I love an organized home. I love waking up to clean spaces where everything is in it’s place. It inspires me. It energizes me. However, a couple months ago I realized that the kid’s toys were taking over the house, and I decided to do something about it.
The system has been working fairly well for us since we implemented it (read: fairly well NOT perfectly), so I’m ready to share. We keep it really simple. Here’s what we did.
First, we took ALL the toys out of everywhere in the house and brought them to the living room. Before that we had toys in the living room, in my son’s room, in my daughter’s room, and even a few things in our bedroom. It’s hard to organize things when they aren’t all together. By the way, we have a 2.5 year old girl and 9 month old boy.
Next, we got rid of anything that was broken and donated a few things that were redundant or we didn’t want anymore.
Then we started a toy rotation by taking two medium plastic bins and storing away toys that we weren’t using at the time. This cut the number of toys we have available which means they fit more easily into our available storage, there’s less of them to put away each time, and our kids can actually play with more of them because they are less overwhelmed.
Then we put everything back in the living room. This was also key for us. We don’t have toys all over the place. They are all in one place, and that’s the living room. We picked that room because it’s where we spend the most of our time. Also, we have a big open layout for our living room, kitchen, and dining, so I can see the kids when I’m working in the kitchen.
We used this Ikea Expedit/Kallax shelf to store the toys. I think 6 out of the 8 bins are toys. We organized to some extent within the baskets but we didn’t go crazy with it because we’re putting these things away all the time and we want our two year old to be able to put things away herself (or at least help).
I like using this because it doesn’t make our living room look like a playroom. When all the toys are put away, you would never know that toys are stored there.
Here’s a look at what’s inside the bottom baskets:
The first basket has our wood blocks, giant plastic “beads”, and mega blocks in handmade custom bags my mom made for us. It also has a puzzle and an Elmo plastic alphabet set:
I love the bags. They are have thick batting so they stand up on their own and are easy to fill.
The next basket has our stuffed animals:
Then we have a couple baskets that have toys that are mostly for our son who is still a baby:
The last basket has all of our daughter’s coloring stuff. We have all the regular crayons in one little pouch (from Target dollar spot last summer) and color wonder markers in another. We used these large pouches from the Container Store to organize within the basket. That way we can just pull out one or two pouches. One of them has color wonder coloring books, one has the Melissa & Doug Water Wow notepads and water pens, and one has regular coloring books. I think there is also one with our Melissa & Doug puffy sticker books. Until our daughter got really into Play-Doh recently, this was by far her most used basket.
The one toy basket not pictured has dolls and doll accessories. We also have a couple puzzles that are too big to fit in the baskets, and we just slide those under our couch. We do have a few books in our daughter’s room. We actually don’t own a lot of children’s books, but we go to the library very frequently. We have a special spot on a shelf in our entry for library books. I like to keep them separate, so they stay safe and we always know where to find them.
The whole process took less than two hours, and that’s with both kids awake and “helping” us.
The system has been working pretty well for us. The things inside the baskets do get a little sloppy from time to time, so we have to take a few extra minutes every month or so to clear them out.
I should mention that at any given moment if you dropped by unannounced our living room floor would likely be covered with toys, and that’s relatively okay with me. The mess stays in the one room and takes only a few minutes to straighten up.
What about you? How do you organize your kid’s toys?
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