How did we get here?! When did my kids accumulate so many toys? I’ve been a mom for less than five years but I swear if you stacked all of my kid’s toys on top of one another it would reach the moon. And I’m not even exaggerating.
And why do things have to have so many pieces? And why oh why did I keep all of these dang Happy Meal toys?! Ugh. A cluttered, messy house makes my brain feel cluttered. And since I work from home there was no escaping the madness. So I finally put my foot down, ran into target to pick up some cute storage bins, grabbed my label maker and got to work.
All it took was a weekend, a couple garbage bags and a bit of creativity to get my kids’ toys organized and stored in a convenient and logical manner. And now I pass on the parenting gold to you, Dear Reader! Try out these toy storage and organization tips and tricks to whip your home into shape in no time
Before you get started, I urge you to first go through all of your toys and separate items to throw away and/or donate. Odds are your toy mess includes items with missing pieces, that don’t work, or are out of your child’s age range. If they are in decent condition, definitely donate them.
I purge twice per year. The first time is around April when I am on a spring cleaning rampage, and the second is around Thanksgiving, to clear out space for all of the new holiday toys sure to come our way. After you’ve purged, you’ll have a better idea of how many toys you have to work with.
Store Seasonal Toys with Seasonal Decorations
I absolutely love switching up my home decor to match the season or coming holiday. This past year when packing/unpacking items I had an epiphany. I should keep any seasonal or holiday-themed toys, books and games stored away with the decor, rather than leaving them scattered amidst the rest of our toys.
So, I packed away the Little People holiday and winter toys, the Christmas books, jingle bell bracelets, and the wooden nativity scene with the Christmas decor.
I stored the Valentine books, heart-themed craft supplies, heart glasses and heart wands with the Valentine decorations.
The outdoor toys are stowed away in our shed and deck box until the weather is warm.
It clears up just a bit of extra space and serves as a nice surprise for you kids who have probably forgotten about them until they are unpacked.
Start a Toy Rotation
This is quite possibly my favorite tip. Take a good chunk of toys and store them away somewhere that is easily accessible. In about 2 month (give or take) get those toys back out and swap them with some others. Your kids will think they have brand new toys!!!
The last time I swapped toys out my kids spent HOURS playing with them because they had forgotten about them. I also set them all out with all of the pieces, too.
Do this throughout the year to keep your children playing.
Utilize Decorative Storage Bins for Favorite Toys
Get yourself some cute canvas bins, metal baskets, and other decorative storage. Please your kid’s favorite toys in these bins out in the open where they are easily accessible. If they know where their favorite action figure is stored and they can easily get to it, then you’ll avoid a big mess from them digging through everything and tossing toys about until they find it. Make it even easier by giving each child their own designated bin. And toys look a little less tacky poking out of a cute basket next to the couch than piled up in a mountain in the corner (IMO).
Make the Most of Built-In Storage
Do you have building shelves and cabinets on either side of your fireplace? Thkioooigjese cabinets are perfect for storing games and toys with multiple pieces (like all of my son’s Montessori toys and my daughters’ Frozen mannequin heads and their one million hair accessories).
Use book cases to store not just your books, but your kids’ books. Reserve the lower shelf for them!
Does your ottoman have storage within? Rather than filling with blankets, buy a blanket ladder for those and fill that bad big with toys!
Modular Plastic Drawers
These are one of my favorite organizational tools. Purchase some plastic and/or carts. I recommend some that are shallow and some that are deep. Use these to organize craft and art supplies.
We have one cart with drawers labeled (here is where that label maker comes into play) for the following: crayons, markers, paint and paint brushes, coloring books, paper, stickers, and misc. (this is for items like googly eyes, pipe cleaners, beads, sequins, etc.).
Another set of deeper and larger drawers hold Play Doh and Play Doh tools, kinetic sand, slime, etc. When your kids are ready to play, just pull the drawer(s) out and take it to them! Such an easy hack!
Puzzles in Bags
Speaking of puzzles, aren’t they a pain?! If you are anything like me it drives you mad if a puzzle is missing a piece. I’ll refuse to put them away until I find the piece and for some reason that always leads to not missing pieces!!
To help keep your sanity, store puzzles in giant zip loc bags and label them. For big, chunky toddler puzzles, place all the pieces where they go and slide it into the bag. You may be able to fit more than one in a bag. Place a label with each puzzle name on the outside of the bag. If your kids are older with large puzzles, I still recommend storing the pieces in a bag. You can store the bag in the puzzle box so you still have the picture for reference, or store in just the bag with a label containing the puzzle name and number of pieces.
I hope these toy storage and organization tips help you to jump-start your spring cleaning and to clear out some of the chaos in your home!