Every time a holiday or birthday comes around, we start looking around. Where are we going to put the new toys and why in the world do we have so much stuff!?! The toy room is full! I immediately become overwhelmed with the thought of going through all of it. We know that we are going to need to dedicate time to organize it and it’s going to take a lot of effort. But it is also a great way to have the kids donate toys to others, get rid of stuff, and feel a little less chaotic.
We have had to organize toy rooms for many years now. We have bought all the “things” to help and many different types of storage bins. Some have helped and many have not. Here are some of the things that have helped us feel a little more organized, and sane, along the way.
Bins/Shelves to Organize Toys
There are so many different types of storage bins and shelves out there. We have tried many different types. I personally feel like low level cube organizers work best. They allow children to easily pull out the bins and even take them to other spaces, if needed. They help with cleanup because you can pull them out line them up and start sorting stuff. They come in so many colors and patterns that you can match just about any space. Don’t get the cheapest ones! We tried that and realized they fell apart within a year. Kids will climb, color, and hit these with toy cars. It’s worth the extra $20.
We also do this neat label thing on half of our storage bins. We write what it is and draw a picture, for our kids that can’t read yet. These bins have all the little stuff that needs to be sorted. (cars, puzzles, crayons, baby stuff, etc.) The pictures and label also make us hopeful that the kids will help put things where they belong when they are done. Ok…you can stop laughing now. Rarely happens. Try the clean up song.
Storage Drawers for Small Stuff:
We can never buy enough plastic storage drawers. We have them in our toy kitchen area, Barbie area, and craft area! They don’t take up too much space, are easy to pull out, and make things much more organized. You can buy various sizes and colors.
These are the pink storage drawers we use in the Barbie area. We sort by dolls, clothes, and “little stuff”.
Toy Room “Centers”:
Keeping toys that go together in one area has always helped us. We learned from daycare that kids like “centers”. So, we set up the toy room that way. It also helps them prepare for school or have a sense of familiarity. For example, we have a kitchen corner. It has the toy kitchen, shopping cart, table, and all food related toys. Our daughter’s preschool also has a kitchen area and I think little things like this helped her transition.
We learned that the kids play in the toy room a lot more when things are set up this way. They learn where to put things too. So eventually you can say, “can you put this back in the kitchen area?” and they know what you mean. There are a ton of different “centers”. From art, dress up, train, cars, gym, barbie, to dinosaur, and many many more.
Lastly, we keep technology out of the toy room. We purposely do not put the gaming system in there. They often just play music in the background. This allows their toy room time to be imaginative and creative. Even our oldest will take time away from his games and play legos or nerf every so often. But none of them will play in there if it’s chaos. So, we make sure to make the time and fully organize it every so often.
There are millions of ways to organize a toy room, and everyone does it differently. These are some of the things we have found helped us and I hope they can help you too. Do what keeps you sane, your kids playing, and minimizes the chaos of having a ton of toys.
Check out my post on Ways to Entertain the Kids so that it can give you some time to organize!
-Kristy M., Mommy to Many