How do you effectively (but stylishly) organize and store your kids' toys?
Organizing kid's toys with supreme focus on style only, becomes a young parent's design quicksand! That that sort of approach works until the child reaches the age of one, and has his or her own "design" idea!
As a former Pre-K teacher, I know that each child has his or her own way of doing things that makes sense to them, and why not? We adults are the same way! SO, with that in mind, here are my suggestions:
Take cues from your child and get creative with furniture!
If Mary likes to "stuff things into baskets randomly, then find a set of baskets that will contain the clutter and try not to stress too much over the chaos in the baskets! Consider it your parental victory if she learns to clean up (in her own way) by depositing her toys in her baskets when she's finished playing! She'll feel good being a helper by keeping her space clean!
Perhaps you have neat Nick! You could use the same basket system but instead of randomly throwing everything into baskets like Mary does, you could help Nick designate a type of item for each basket. I like to use the small round labels (made of card stock with tin edges) made for labeling keys. Assuming Nick can read, you can let him choose what will go into each basket, write the name of that item on the tag (front and back, in case it flips over) and then tie it onto the basket with a ribbon or short piece of rope. Next time Nick makes his room neat, all he has to do is look for the tag with "Hotwheels" on it and drop in those cars!. If Nick is too young to read, a sticker or a picture of the item can be used to label the basket. Be sure to write the name of the toy too! This will help the child to associate the word with the picture and the item; giving him a foundation for future reading!
It you have a clutter Bea and she's happy the way she is, well...you have your hands full! Shelves inside closets and a chest of drawers can help her Bea keep her clutter contained! It's still very important to teach children to take care of what they have but it's equally important to be careful to recognize their efforts and praise them for doing their best (even if it's different then your idea of organization)!
For books and magazines, I'm a big fan of stepped book stands that display books and magazines so they show the cover (rather than the spine), making it easy for your child to find what they are looking for and easy to clean up!
Art and artwork gives creative kid a boost in confidence when they see their art displayed! I love the art easel by Melissa and Doug! There's a place for every art medium and it keeps things within easy reach for your Picasso! When they create a new masterpiece, you can use frames with a hinged front, to change out art. Matting and framing select pieces that you know you will treasure for years, is another way to showcase their creations for both of you to enjoy! If they have made sculptures of clay or any other bulky piece of artwork, a house bracket (corbel) or shelf will keep them in view! Remember: Your small fries are short! Keep the art low so they can see it and display some at adult eye level too, to keep the room from looking too bottom heavy.
I have many posts related to organizing children's items. When you visit The reNOUNed Nest, be sure to use the "Search the Nest" box in the right hand column. Try searching for things like: Nursery, kids, undecorators (my pet name for my kids) and organizing.
Have fun and remember, they're only little for a short time! Enjoy them and love them every chance you get!
I'm a bin girl...all the way. When my kids were small we tried buying and using those plastic toy boxes, to no avail. Everything just settled to the bottom of the box and was never played with again. These days we use plastic lidded bins for things like games and puzzles (with small pieces and directions stored in resealable bags) I also love those large 'under the bed' storage bins for legos. We have millions of them and since the box is large it holds them, and since it is shallow, you can see them. We use smaller boxes for crayons or match box cars or Star Wars figures, or, well...you get the idea. My daughter has a few vintage suitcases that she uses for Barbie and doll storage...and they look so sweet stacked in her closet. I must admit, I do like open shelving. If I can't see something then I probably won't remember it's there to be used. So we utilized bookshelves in our rooms as well. They're not always perfectly organized, but we can definitely see what's there at a glance.
Storage is honestly something that we continually struggle with in our home, but we are always finding ways to make both organized and attractive.
I think toys should generally be stored where the kids can see them and play with them. In our family room where spend 80% of our time, I have 2 big baskets of toys and 1 basket of books, and those are the ones the kids play with most. We have a few larger trucks hanging around as well. The best part about open toy storage is that the kids can pick up themselves...theoretically. But even if I have to pick up the toys, it takes less than a minute to toss them in the baskets.
I have some open shelving in our basement play area where I store trucks, clear boxes of toys organized by type (balls, cars, Legos, Lincoln Logs, etc. and a few baskets of miscellaneous toys. If you use plastic boxes, use the type with clear lids so the kids can easily see inside. It's also great to rotate the toys that are in closed cabinetry to the open spaces - the toys seem new again!
We use baskets, bins, buckets, typical storage stuff. But we also use traditional furniture pieces and other unique storage options: drawers, coffee tables, hutches, towel bars, hanging kitchen cups, etc.
Every few months, I quickly sort through the toys. If items are broken or missing pieces or haven't been played with in a while, I either throw or give them away. To corral the rest, buy stylish bins. Some are from the Target dollar section (costing only $2.50), others look like a locker. The bins that are visible are always metal and usually a poppy color for a dose of fun. We keep other toys in plastic bins tucked away in our entertainment center behind cabinet doors. Bookshelves are also a great place to store toys and a lot of IKEA shelves work well with doors, so pretty items can be displayed above while keeping the clutter close by, but out of sight. And, we're not afraid to store bulky items under the bed.
My stylish solution for storing my son's toys is dual purpose! I purchased an Ikea Expedit bookshelf, turned it on it's side, and made a cushion for the top out of leather-look fabric remnants. I now have a super chic window seat with toy storage below. I use bins in the open bookshelves to store smaller toys and alternate open bookshelves for larger toys and books. And, it's in perfect reach for my little one to find his own toys and eventually pick up after himself.
The IKEA Trofast system is a dream come true for moms! I painted mine and put photos on each bin so that my twins (who cannot read yet) would know what goes where. I also created extra seating in the playroom by adding cushions.
Since my kids were little ones, I've taught them to keep their toys organized in clear plastic containers in their closets. We've never had a "play room" in any of our homes, so their closets had to multi-function for us. I have always labeled each container, and it has worked beautifully for our family. Each of our children know that one of the golden rules for keeping the house organized is putting up what you aren't playing with, and all three of my kids are really good at doing their part. We keep all like items in containers together so that our nightly routine to tidy the house before bedtime is easy and painless! During the summer months, we take the time to go through all of the toys that aren't getting much attention and we decide if they are toys worth keeping and storing in the attic for future grandchildren or if they get sent to children who could enjoy them today! If there is one thing that everyone who comes into our home says about me, it's that I'm organized. I don't do it expensively but there isn't anything more stylish to me than an organized house!
First, we try to analyze how you use your space and make it work for us. Don't be afraid to roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty and create the storage you need! My son LOVES his books, so we built a little library rack for him (which you can see in the linked post). He can see the front covers of the books, and he can easily reach them all. Works great for us, and the little guy seems to be a fan.
Edit, edit, edit! We go through his toys regularly to remove the ones he no longer uses. For us, that usually means they end up in our annual yard sale.
Finally, don't fight the craziness! (At least, not TOO much.) To an extent, I try to recognize that this stage of life is just a season, and sometimes part of being a mama is realizing that the baby swing has become a part of your living room furnishing plan. Someday, we'll all wish we were tripping over sippy cups again.
Playroom organization was becoming a bit of a problem around here due to the young ages of my last two children. When it came time to play the "clean up game a la Barney" they wee ones didn't know what that meant exactly. So, they basically just shoved the toys in any available bin, basket, drawer, closet, corner, etc. The results? a larger mess than before we started :)
We bought and IKEA bookcase, bolted it to the wall, and then purchased some grass baskets at IKEA as well. These were our second choice as they didn't have the ones we originally selected at our local store. We haven't filled up all the bins yet (we are somewhat slow at aquiring toys around here) so we have a few empty ones just waiting for Christmas to arrive. Grandparents seem to be good for that sort of thing :) If I had more of a certain toy than could fit in one basket, I used two baskets with two of the same labels. For example, we have a lot of teddy bears and girly dress ups for some reason; so I have two bins labeled with a dress up tag and two with a teddy bear tag.
To take the images I placed groupings of toys on a white table from IKEA. I tried to arrange the trains, stuffed animals and My Little Ponies as nicely as I could before taking pictures with a digital camera. I then uploaded them to an online photo processing site (I used Costco's) and selected the "wallet size" option for printing. I picked up the wallet size prints, went to FedEx/Kindos, and ran them through the self-use laminating machine using the heaviest weight plastic available. When they cooled I trimmed them to size using a basic paper cutter from a craft store. After punching a hold in the top of the label and running a little ribbon through it, they were ready to hang. While there are more than a few steps here, it wasn't a difficult process per se. All of the places I visited and supplies I used are readily available to just about anyone.
You can view all the images I took and the finished product at the link below:
When you have kids, toys are going to be a part of everyday life. But when the kids go to bed I don't want to have to keep tripping over them. I always look for ways to hide toys with baskets, containers, and bins. It takes me 2 minutes to throw all the toys in my storage and it's back to a stylish, adult space.
We've corralled smaller toys into stylish large baskets and then placed those baskets onto an expedit bookshelf from ikea.
As we know space is always a problem with the ample amount of toys children get from family and friends (especially when they’re the first born child, grandchild and great grandchild!) My solution is using the Lulu mobile unit from Milk Deco and some wall shelves. I keep breakables such as money boxes, ornaments and books up on the shelves and all accessible toys in the unit. Each cube is large enough to store quite a few toys and has a cupboard. The 3 bottom squares are drawers for smaller items such as cars, Barbie cloths, crayons etc. With being able to close the doors the unit always looks neat once items are packed away. The wheels make it easy to move around the room if need be and it has chalk board sides for additional functional use while saving space. It’s definitely my favourite space saver J It can be used for a baby’s room, toddlers room, teens room and even a study for additional storage! It’s versatile, sleek and interesting with all the offset slit handles giving it cutting edge design.
Stashing them in an oversized basket with a faux sheepskin throw on top is not only easy but it is oh-so-stylish.
My favorite way to store toys is large woven baskets. The basket are attractive and when placed on shelves for storage they look neat, orderly and more like a decorative accessory rather than a toy box.
Sort, store, simplify and Label
I have large vintage baskets in each of my childrens rooms and outside too for skateboards and ping pong paddles etc.
It makes clean up simple and fun
I also have hanging buckets in the bathroom for hairbrushes and combs
Its easy to put the brush in the bucket
I have a vintage trunk in our living room that i will only buy toys that fit inside that trunk once there's more than that I chuck them. And I have lots of outdoor toys to keep my kids loving to be outside. I find that less toys actually equals more imagination time.