The key to organizing toys or frankly anything that is starting to take over your house is to purge.
The rocking chair in Elly’s room that hasn’t been used in at least 2 years – moved to the basement.
The stuffed animals that Elly never plays with – stored in jumbo plastic bags and moved to the attic.
The baby toys Elly has outgrown – also moved to the attic.
The store bought blankets that were no longer needed because Elly has been gifted so many beautiful handmade blankets – donated.
Then, armed with a hodgepodge of old tins, mesh bags, baskets, buckets and plastic organizing bins, I start sorting. End result looks something like this.
I know many people like their containers to match, but I prefer the hodgepodge. First, it’s cheaper because you get to use what you already have. Second, it doesn’t require a labeling machine. Each toy gets its own unique home.
Tins are perhaps my favorite container to store toys and craft supplies in. I decided a long time ago that my life is too short to spend several minutes everyday to painstakingly inserting crayons or any toy or craft for that matter back into the cardboard boxes they are sold in. It is so much easier to just grab a handful of like items and dump. Pop a lid on and you’re done. It’s my kind of cleaning up.
The huge popcorn tins are perfect for storing legos. I’m sure I could organize all of Elly’s toys if I had a collection of these popcorn tins, but alas I don’t. Perhaps it is for the best, since Elly recently learned that rapping the tin with drum sticks makes a magnificently loud sound.
Baskets are great for corralling block collections. The size of the basket had to be upgraded after Elly got a set of foam blocks for her birthday, but the system still works. Baskets are also great for storing stuff that is too big to go anywhere else.
When Elly received a toy with itty bitty parts for Christmas, I balked and seriously thought about hiding them from her until I found this stackable container. Elly likes playing with the container almost as much as she likes playing with the toys inside.
Storing a variety of puzzle pieces in a large bucket is not for the OCD person, but I prefer it to the traditional method of returning the puzzle pieces to their original box. With this method, Elly can put the puzzles away. My trick to being able to distinguish the pieces apart is to draw a crude picture on the back.
Although Alex and Doug magnetic dolls are packaged in a wooden tray, I do not keep them stored that way because the wooden tray lacks a lid. Instead the dolls and all their clothes live in a plastic bin. These bins were designed to hold scrapbooking supplies, but they are awesome for kid’s toys. Check out the handle! Elly can tote her dolls from room to room. Plus they are transparent which is a necessity when your kid is too young to read labels.
Mind you this organizational system probably won’t last long. It seems that every few months Elly grows up on me, changes her mind about her favorite toys and then her room is in need of an overhaul.
It is true that at clean up time there is first a sorting process so toys can go back in their rightful container, but that little bit of extra effort means that Elly can always find the toy she is looking for. Plus I don’t seem to mind the massive amount of toys that Elly has accumulated so long as they stay corralled in pretty containers. It’s a win win. Elly keeps her toys. I get peace and harmony.
On a side note, the wooden tray from the magnetic dolls now sits in the drawer in my kitchen island and organizes all my small cooking utensils.