Has your house been inundated with a slew of new toys from very thoughtful, highly generous, doting family members and a certain man in a red suit?
Now that my big kids are back in school and the Christmas decor is stored away, it’s time to sort and organize the toys!
It’s a given, as a family of 5, that we will have toys. However, at the end of the day when the kids are tucked in their beds, I love to have a tidy, albeit temporary, adult space to relax in with my husband.
Here are a few toy storage tips that help me make peace with the toys
Find a spot to store toys. In both our first home and current home, I turned our front coat closet into a toy closet.
I found that most of the time when guests came over we either stored their coats on a bed upstairs or on the coat tree by the front door. That made the closet a great place for toy storage. We added some more shelving to accommodate the various bins and toys. We sometimes have to get creative with our space.
Before stocking our toy closet, I pull all the toys out and sort them into logical categories. For us, cars and magna-tiles logically pair since they seem to get used together. Don’t get too specific with your labels. Try things like balls, vehicles, make believe.
Then I use clear plastic bins and label them. Although my kids couldn’t read at first, the labels help me to quickly put away a rogue piece while tidying up.
If you want the labels to work for young kids, you could include a picture of what the bin holds.
Try to rotate toys. Not all our toys fit well into the main level toy closet, so from time to time as toys become old, I switch them out for new toys. Suddenly what was old is new again! I store toys in the basement or in our kids’ bedrooms. If your kids play in those spaces, they could use them there. It’s amazing what a change in location does for a toy
For the bigger, bulkier toys that don’t fit in a closet or shelf, I find a spot to tuck them. Either behind a chair or in the corner of the room. If there is a designated place for the toy, anyone can place the toy away during our end-of-the-day tidy.
Speaking of tidying, my kids know the clean-up song well. Occasionally I sweeten the deal for my kids by turning on a 5-minute timer on the microwave or my phone and racing to clean before the timer runs out.
A tidy home at the end of the day makes this momma happy, and generally a 5-minute tidy does the trick.
Toy organization, like anything else, has to function for your family. We have found that labeled bins, a toy closet and every thing having a known home is the key to enjoying our toys. A generic toy bin seems to collect clutter and prove to be more fun to dump.
Occasionally I do re-sort as well as thin out our toys. I especially love to do this when new toys come in. The great thing about rotating toys is you quickly see what are favorites and which ones you can pass on.
What to do with old toys
If you have toys to pass on, check if your local library will take your wooden trains, blocks, legos, duplos, and puzzles. Your children’s teacher may even love used games or building toys for indoor recess. Offer them to your local church for the nursery. Several local charities have thrift stores where the money made goes right back to serving the community. There are also some family shelters that may be in need of toys.
You could even consign them and save the money for next Christmas (it’s never too early to plan). Or use the money for your toy organization supplies!
Toys are a reality when you have kids, but they can be loved, played with, and have a place!
Love this! The closet is a great idea!
Great tips Erin! Using your front closet for toys is so much more practical. Clear bins are a genius idea, and like to double label our bins (for example, one side is animals and the other side is blocks). No new toy gets taken out until a Bin is filled back up. It helps keep the toys rotating!
You’ve got a great system going! I love that everything has a place. That quick clean up before bedtime is a must at my house. It feels so good to tuck the kids in bed and come out to a tidy house. I’d like to label my bins at the kids get older and things have a more definite spot.
I did a playroom cleanout at the beginning of December. We have 4 girls and three have birthdays between December 5 and January 5, so we do a big purge! Your tips are so affirming! I sent a tote to each of my two youngest’s teachers, a large haul for a community store benefitting the homeless in our community, and another haul to the trash. Now I need to implement your organizing and rotating tips and I’ll be set!
Thank you so much for this!!! I just implemented this last week and what a huge help!! We have a 3 and a 1 y/o so keeping this picked up is awful (as all mama’s know) but I feel we have a handle on toys now!! Now to clean out the old toys we have outgrown and take to charities!
Thank you Megan and others will be blessed by your donations so it’s a great way to simplify and pay it forward!
I love the training that you implement with your kids. It really helps us a lot when kids already know when kids already knew where to put their every time they’re already done playing. Great article!