Who has kiddies? I do, I do! Gosh, I heart them and love to see them exploring, learning and playing, just as kiddies should. Having a household that can take a kiddie-sized lickin’ and keep on tickin’ is definitely a challenge. However, it can be done as long as you find a way to contain the dreaded toy clutter. *enter dark and scary music here*
With two growing boys, I’m constantly searching for creative, yet stylish solutions to hide their toys, while keeping them accessible. Here are a few things I’ve done (and plan on doing) to keep chaos to a minimum and style and function to a maximum.
Repurposed bookcase Our kids toys are stored in our dining room so we needed a way to organize them so the toys can be hidden when they’re not in use. I was in luck because last year I found the perfect bookcase during our neighborhood garage sale. We repurposed it by turning it on its side which made the shelves into dividers for the fabric toy bins we already had. Each bin fit perfectly. We also use plastic shoe boxes to hold smaller toys that stack on top of each other, which maximizes space as well. My plan is to paint it and add a custom seat cushion on the top (formerly the side) to make it a seating bench too. Can’t wait for that! Look around and see if you can repurpose items you already have to help get a handle on those toys.
Storage for games Who knew that storing games would be so difficult? Seeing those broken, smashed and torn cardboard game boxes drove me bananas! However I could not think of a way to effectively store them outside of their boxes; that is until I came across an old under-the-bed storage bin. It was perfect because it was long enough to accomodate all size boards and store oddly shaped games – think Hungry, Hungry Hippos. I simply used clear freezer or sandwich bags to store the directions, pieces, spinners, etc. for each game. Voila! All the games are stored together (I’ve stored 6 games so far and still have room), they take up less space, and they now have a durable new home that’s easy for little hands to open (and not destroy).
Involve the kiddies Every 3 months or so I have my oldest son help me go through all the toys to see what’s broken, has missing pieces, or just isn’t played with anymore. We discard the broken or incomplete toys and store the ones not played with in a bin in the basement for his little brother’s to use later. The rule is that the remaining toys kept upstairs must be able to fit in the storage space we have. Anything that can’t fit will either be stored in the basement (if there’s space – yes I limit this too) or given away. Believe it or not my oldest son loves this. It helps him to be able to find what he wants quickly and easily. I find that involving him in the weeding out process teaches him how to be organized, as well as help to reinforce his decision-making skills. I’m secretly hoping it will rub off on his younger brother. (Crosses fingers!)
Do you have some tips on containing toy clutter? Share in the comments below!