Do you feel like your kids’ toys are out of control? It can be easy to get overwhelmed trying to keep things tidy, especially when your little ones have boundless energy for playtime (but little for cleaning up). Thankfully, we’ve got you covered. Check out these practical tips for organizing your children’s toys!
The most practical way to organize is to only organize what you need to keep. That’s right: declutter first. After all, you won’t have to organize what you don’t have anymore! So before you go out to find storage solutions, you need to go through the kids’ toys. After you’ve gathered all the toys in your home, get rid of any broken toys. Any toys with missing pieces can be set aside, and if the missing pieces aren’t found by the time you’re done organizing, those toys also get thrown away.
After broken toys are disposed of, the next task is to give away the toys the kids have outgrown. You may want to decide beforehand one or several places you’ll bring the toys: maybe a neighbor or donation center. It can help to have a destination for the hand-me-downs in mind to keep you centered throughout the organization process. Considering how kids can outgrow toys is a good reminder of the cycling principle: children go through cycles or phases where they like certain toys and then (often abruptly) they don’t. So you can feel free to put away toys the kids are tired of using and then cycle new toys into the rotation periodically.
Involve Children in the Organization Process
It can be easy to think of cleaning the house or organizing the toys as a parent task, but involving children in the organization process is both practical for you and powerful for your children. Toys are beneficial to children’s development, and these benefits can increase when children are involved with choosing which toys they have access to and where toys are placed.
So sit down with your kids (who are old enough) and talk through the fact that the toys need to be organized. Even younger children can help, though they may need you to guide them with leading questions like “should this toy go in this bin or that one?” As you work through this process, you may even find that it’s time to let your kid decorate their own room, which can help them take ownership of its organization. Of course, everything is relative to your children’s ages and circumstances, but it’s good to keep in mind that keeping the toys organized isn’t just your responsibility alone.
Repurpose What You Have
Let’s be honest: one bin isn’t going to be enough to hold all your crayons. But before you go out and buy expensive matching storage containers, why not repurpose what you already have? Baby wipe containers are great for holding crayons or Legos, for instance.
“What you have” can also include places you already naturally store things. Why not embrace the fact that your kids are going to want toys when they’re in their stroller and keep a few toys in the built-in storage compartment all the time?
Baskets, Bins, and Cubbies
Obviously, once you’ve decluttered, involved children, and repurposed what you have, you’re still going to have a lot of toys that need somewhere to go. So you’ll want baskets, bins, and cubbies that work with the style and needs of your various rooms. Don’t feel like you have to get storage solutions specifically marketed for children’s toys. You can use a hanging fruit basket as storage for bath toys, for instance.
Storage containers don’t have to be boring, either; they can add pops of color, personality, or style to the space. Maybe give each kid the chance to have one special cubby that’s their favorite color for their favorite toys. The possibilities are endless!
Embrace Wall Space for Storage
Storage doesn’t have to just be in baskets, bins, and cubbies on the ground; you can also use wall space. Consider using a coat rack that’s mounted on the wall or hanging hooks to store items like musical instruments or dress-up clothing. Similarly, an over-the-door caddy can be great not just for storing clothing or shoes but also for organizing toys.
Sort By Type
When you’re organizing toys, a logical approach is best. Keep the bath toys in the bathroom, and don’t have a place for play food in each of the kid’s rooms; keep that all together, preferably in or next to the toy kitchen. It’s fine to keep toys in lots of different places throughout the house as long as the same types of toys are grouped together.
For your peace of mind, keep the messiest toys out of reach—especially the ones that need supervision, such as complicated puzzles and models or playdough.
Utilize Unseen Space
There are more spaces you can put toys in your house—you just might not be able to see them! A great place to capitalize on is under the bed. Putting woven baskets under the bed provides an extra place to hide toys or out-of-season clothing, without it looking overly packed in or being hard to get out.
Look for Storage Options that Work Together
It’s fun to have different bins, hanging storage options, and baskets under the bed, but too much storage can become overwhelming, even as you’re trying to organize. So once you’ve got the toys under control, look for storage options that work together. This can be as simple as a matching color scheme or different bins that stack together. It doesn’t have to be hard, but a little extra effort can make all the difference.
Keep Small Pieces Together
It’s important to keep the house safe for the littles, so you’ll want to protect them by keeping all the small toy pieces together. For instance, puzzles should be kept in their boxes, in pouches, or Ziplock bags so none of the pieces get lost. Just like with sorting by type, make sure you keep the pieces that go together near each other.
Finally, no organizational system can be successfully kept up without everyone knowing where things go. And that means labels. You can write on some storage containers with a marker, or use a label-maker, but keep your method consistent so your kids won’t have an excuse to wonder where things go.
One Step at a Time
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your kids’ toys won’t be organized in one, either. These practical tips will help you get started in your organizational journey, though. You got this!
Contributed by Katie Tejada