How to Organize Toys
So Christmas has come and gone. The newness of toys has worn off. And now they are all over your house – am I right?
The Coach and I have experienced a few swings of the pendulum when it comes to how we feel about toys and where they should be kept. In the early days when we just had an infant, our living room was fairly toy free. We were ok with having the baby swing in there, since Roo napped in it so much, but everything else was kept in the nursery or the spare room. Then Roo reached the stage where he actually played with toys, and we kind of gave up for awhile. Our living room looked like a day care. With another one on the way, we decided to convert our spare room into a toy room and move everything into there. We had our living room back. No toys at all. It stayed that way for awhile, and then the toys crept back in a bit. Now, we’ve kind of leveled out with no toys in the living room, but a couple baskets with kids’ books in a corner and a basket of dog toys in another corner.
But just because we moved all the toys into the play room, doesn’t mean it has been easy keeping it clean and organized. I have struggled, and honestly I think we are doing better now in part because my boys have gotten a little bit older. But along the way we have discovered a few tips that have helped us stay neat, organized, and fairly clean!
- Make it easy to put toys away. If it is too difficult to put toys where they belong, kids are going to get frustrated and sop trying. While there are several storage options that look really cute, they are not always easy for kids to open and close or for kids to reach. And the easier you make it for kids to know where toys belong, the more likely they are to put them in the right spot. I use a mix of open cubbies and ones with bins. And the cubbies are no more than a few feet high, so the kids can easily reach the top to put things away there as well. Our larger items, like our Imaginext sets, go on top of the cubbies, and the smaller toys go in the cubbies, or in bins that slide in and out of the cubbies.
- Make it easy to get toys out. It is just as important to make it easy to get toys out, as it is to make it easy to put toys away. If toys are not visible, kids will tear the room apart to find what they are looking for. The toys that go in bins are placed so it makes sense what is in them. The smaller items that go with our Imaginext sets are in bins under the sets. We have one Disney Cars bin and the kids know that one has all their “little things” like Happy Meal toys, dollar store finds, and birthday party goodies. All of our games are stored together in a bookcase, so the kids know games are there. The cars are stored by the racetrack, and so on.
- Realize the Pinterest toy rooms are not usually the reality. I don’t know how many times I have sighed and oohed over the play rooms on Pinterest. Where everything is color coded and stored out of site and nothing looks messy or tacky or like Nickelodeon threw up in the room. Unless you have perfect children who only ever take one toy at a time out and remember to always put everything back where they got it from, before getting anything else out, then you will never have those rooms for more than the 10 minutes it takes between pulling everything together and actually letting your kids in the room. While I hate that my play room is so bright and gaudy, the reality is I have two little boys who love to play with toys, and we have quite a few of them. So I try to find the balance between the room being clean and organized, and the reality that my kids need to be able to see and get at their stuff.