Well hey friends! It sure has been a while since I’ve sat down to share a real post with you. I am so thankful for my new computer and I really hope that it motivates me to blog more often. I am also so thankful that this winter flew by (in retrospect – because let’s be real, January had 83,263 days while we were living it). Now that spring is officially in the air I am finally feeling like getting around to sharing my most requested post: Toy Storage.
I have to be honest, I am no pro. We do not live a minimalist lifestyle by any means, but I am always intent on making sure everything has a place. Having a home for every item not only makes it easier for the boy to find what he’s looking for, but it also makes a huge difference in how quickly we can tidy after play. There are a few solid rules we live by that would work for any family in any home.
1. Reduce, Reduce, Reduce!
(Don’t worry, it’s all downhill from here. Once you conquer this step it will make working out the other details so much easier.) I am sure most of us are aware that our kiddos have more than they could ever need. Studies show that children actually function better with fewer toys. Does your family, like ours, need to dial it down a notch?
Whenever we bring in a new toy, I try to put something to the side to donate or trash. Thin out the toys that don’t get attention, that are above or below your child’s level of play, and keep small clutter at bay by not collecting happy meal toys, party favors, and other odds and ends. You can also help this effort by speaking to family and friends about showing love to your child in other ways (college fund, anyone?). If your child has outgrown a nice item, consider selling it to put towards other needs. This is a win win!
If tossing some of the items seems overwhelming, try boxing up toys that are rarely played with and putting them away for a while. If they are missed, rotate them out with other items to keep play fresh. If not, donate or toss them. I would probably be the one to forget they were in the attic so we haven’t tried this method but it seems like a great idea.
2. Multifunctional Furniture
This idea played a huge part of how I planned our move into this house last year, but even if you’ve been in your home a while, I am sure there are ways to repurpose pieces you already have. For example, we purchased a vintage buffet table for our family room television table. The height worked perfectly under our wall mounted TV, and the drawers and cabinet doors are the perfect place for stashing away race car tracks and trucks. We also added baskets in both sides inside the doors to take the organization up a notch and make access easier for the boy. We also took the same approach in the living room by reusing an old dresser as a TV cabinet.
Both of these pieces of furniture, along with the built-in cabinets in the family room, allow toys to be put away behind closed doors. Instead of having adult furniture and kid furniture, we just have multifunctional pieces. While a lot of currently very popular console tables or bookshelves will have storage space for baskets there is often still a lot of visual clutter. Put the toys away behind closed doors and let your eyes rest!
3. Every Thing in Its Place
From a very young age, the boy has been responsible for helping clean up his own things. The best way to help him do this has been having storage space for everything and putting it back in that exact spot each time. For example, his wooden puzzles and other wood toys go inside one cabinet in the family room. He knows exactly where to find these things when he wants to play with them, and he also knows where to put them away. The never-ending “Mama, where is my…” is asked much less but also easy to answer.
The key to this is organizing everything once by grouping like items, then continually putting things back where they belong. If you are running out of storage space, go back to Step #1. We also try to keep things with small pieces out of the toy box that stays in the boy’s room. Small items are easily “lost” and are hard to find in deep storage boxes. We reserve that space for stuffed animals and dress up toys.
There are a few odds and ends, like baskets of balls, ride on fire trucks, and the food truck (and a basketball goal in his room) that are impossible to hide, but that’s okay. We are a family. A kid obviously lives here too! Not to mention that the dog has bones thrown across every room of the house. Our goal is simply to make it a peaceful environment for everyone, family members and visitors alike. (Peaceful environment = save mom’s sanity!)
I hope that some of these tips are helpful for you. If you have any other fun ways you keep your little ones organized I’d love to hear them in the comments.