Wednesday, September 28

10 Tips for Toy Storage {Organizing}

I know toys. With the day care, we have lots of them! It’s a constant job to keep it organized, clean and manageable. My system continues to change but here are my tips for de-cluttering and organizing toys in your kids’ playroom or bedroom.

Does it look bad?? Not really, it's what I call organized chaos.

1Sort. 
Keep parts and pieces together. Do this often so you know where things are. Also, you’ll see what’s getting played with and what’s not so they can be got rid of. Avoid all those little odds and ends that collect and lie all over. I find twice a year is a good time to sort a child’s room when I go through clothing for the new season. If parts are missing, it’s time for the toy to go. No one wants to play with it if it’s not complete.

2Kids help.
Kids can very quickly learn what goes where. Label everything! I love to use my Silhouette and photo printer for labeling. Then kids know where things go. If you do clean up with your child, they learn how you want it. Get on the floor and show them. Say “Where does this toy go?” or “Put this car in the car bin.”  Soon they can do it themselves. Songs or games work! We have 4 different songs we use for clean up. Sometimes we set the timer to see how fast we can clean up. Give an incentive such as, going outside or cleaning up before snack time. On a difficult day, I may say “everyone pick up 5 things”. Generally they pick up more than 5 each. Don’t expect your child to clean up alone. It’s overwhelming and it doesn’t help to nag.

3System.
Color coordinate your storage to your room and label. Baskets of any type will work as well. I keep an eye out for coordinating baskets from Goodwill and the Dollar Tree, Target, Wal-mart, anywhere I can find that will make life easier. It seems like you can never have too many!
Open baskets and shelves make it easy for little ones to help themselves and return the toys when they are done.

Consider your space. How do YOU want it to look? Find a way to create it so you can enjoy the space as well as your child.

4Recycle.
Peanut butter jars are perfect for a collection of small items. They are clear so you can see what’s inside but it also keeps smaller ones from getting the lid open and dumping. Can’t get better than free! Before you throw it out, think “how can I reuse this?” So many creative ideas for storing craft supplies in baby food jars, etc.!



When it comes time to get rid of toys, use Craigslist and Freecycle. Garage sales can also teach kids valuable lessons.

5Rotate toys.
Store some away so everything isn’t available at once. About once a month rotate the toys so the others get played with. Or if need be, on a rainy day or when things aren’t going right, you can bring out something that will be “new” and entertaining again. You’ll also be picking up less.

6Less is More.
To a kid it’s not, but sometimes telling or passing on wish lists to grandparents and friends of what your child really needs or wants for birthdays and holidays avoids overload. Before special occasions sort out toys to donate to make room for the inevitable new gifts.

Don’t get caught in the trap of “buying something” for your child just because you walk into a store. Teach about needs vs. wants and how to save and wait for something special. I find we sometimes need to talk to our child about a toy he thinks he wants. How will you play with it? Do you see how easily this could break? Do you think it really will work the way it says it will? One year our son got several toys from friends at his birthday party that were so disappointing.  Buy quality, not quantity.

{I admit we used to throw away some McD’s toys before even leaving the restaurant because we didn’t find them desirable. Now he’s too aware!}


7Supervise Play
Sometimes a “free for all” play time is fine, but other times, it needs to be supervised. Such as: “Yes, you can play with this but then it must be cleaned up before we get anything else out.” It keeps pieces from being lost and teaches responsibility. Make sure toys are age appropriate.
It can be helpful to show a child how to play with a toy. Sure, they can usually figure it out, but they may be able to play with it longer or differently if you sit down and interact with your child.

8Broken or low quality toys.
If it’s broke, fix it or get rid of it. Broken toys can be dangerous and take up valuable space. If you see something that’s not being used, pass it on or get rid of it. If you don’t like HOW it’s being played with, it needs to go. Research toys before buying them to see what the reviews are or if there are recalls on older toys. Amazon is great for checking reviews.

9Routine
Having a set routine at home works. Clean up before snack, after lunch, before nap, before bed, etc. Be consistent. If you have the expectation, it will be easier, most of the time!

10Think outside the box.
Use all your space. Lots of floor space? Use baskets, bins and shelving. Wall space? Wall shelves, clip up puppets or doll clothes.  Put bins under the beds, up on high shelves, use dressers or whatever you have. Make the most of whatever space you have. It doesn’t have to be expensive! I re-purposed this easel to separate an area, hang dress up clothes, store books and hang up displays. On the other side, stuffed animals sit on the shelf. It originally came from a garage sale but was going unused in the basement.


“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Hot Wheels® blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

About Hot Wheels®
Since 1968, Hot Wheels® has been passionate about creating thrilling vehicle experiences through innovative product and content. With a fan base of more than 41 million people, Hot Wheels® is the No. 1 vehicle property in the United States producing the coolest cars imaginable. The Hot Wheels® brand began as a line of 16 1:64-scale die-cast vehicles; today, it has evolved into a true, global lifestyle brand for boys of all ages with segments that range from aftermarket parts to licensed apparel to branded digital content from Team Hot Wheels™, a real-life race crew of professional drivers performing over-the-top stunts.

More on Hot Wheels® Wall Tracks™ sets: http://www.hotwheels.com/walltracks

More info on Hot Wheels®: http://www.hotwheels.com

3 comments:

  1. I've been doing licensed child care since 1988 and so agree with your ideas here. See many of the same toys and storage solutions I use in my space. I also do the rotation of toys - find it keeps it fresh and extra benefit is lengthens the life of the toys.

    ReplyDelete
  2. In total agreement with your suggestions :-) I find that many have asked me storage solutions and I tell them some of the above that have worked for our family/child care. However, it can seem like a lot of work at the beginning (especially getting rid of the toy box) but it's so worth it and allows for future clean up and organization to go so much smoother/quicker

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey, look at that...it let me post! I just don't get it! LOL

    ReplyDelete

Share your thoughts...I love to hear from you!