On any given day, I would cut off my right arm to have a toy room. Unfortunately, we are maxed out in our little 3 bedroom house with 5 people and a dog. I love our house as much as the day we bought it, but it simply does not have the room our growing family needs. Moving is not an option right now, so getting creative with toy storage was a major MUST for me.
We moved into our house when our oldest was just 6 months old. It was easy storing his toys at that point. I mean, really, one box of toys for a 6 month old was plenty. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, I was an interior designer that vowed to never let toys take over my house. Well, I never realized how challenging that would be.
As our first child grew, he began accruing a large amount of toys, thanks to his grandparents, aunts, and uncles. I began to dump all of the toys into one large toy box. It drove me nuts! Even as just a toddler, he would empty the ENTIRE toy box each time he played. As he would look at every toy he owned spread out on the floor, he would get frustrated that he didn’t have the space to zoom his cars or roll his favorite ball around. I knew something had to change, for us both to keep our sanity!
I headed to the store with no idea what to do. That’s when I noticed all of the clear bins in the storage department. Sure, they weren’t anything fancy, but I loved how you could see inside each box without opening them. They also stacked oh-so-nicely on top of each other. I bought a few with the nice latch handles and headed home.
I began by sorting the toys into different groups. Cars, balls, dinosaurs… each toy group had its own pile. I then put the lids on and stacked them nicely in an old TV stand we were not using anymore. Now, rather than dump an entire toy box each time we played, we could take out the bin of the specific toys we were looking for. The mess was much smaller and clean up was a breeze. It was also easy to grab him a bin and let him play by himself in the bathroom while I took a shower. I knew he was entertained and safe!
As my son got older and played by himself more, I wanted him to start putting away his own toys. Unfortunately he doesn’t share my love of organization and just threw toys in any bin he wanted to. The dinosaurs were in the same bin as the cars. It was mayhem 🙂 The bins needed labels! I hopped on the computer and made a 7-1/2″ x 2″ label for each bin, with a picture so he knew what went where.
Three years, and 2 kids later, we are still using and enjoying our toy storage system. Because we don’t have a toy room, we have tons of the clear plastic bins all over the house. Some of the bigger ones are under their beds. There are still toys in the old TV stand and they’ve also taken over half of the media closet. Each child knows what is stored where and knows they can each have one bin out at a time and play with it wherever they want. They can play with the toys in that bin for an hour or 30 seconds; I don’t care! All that matters is that they put their bin away before grabbing a new one.
Sure, I’d still love a toy room, and a bigger house for that matter, but I am happy with the way we’ve been able to adjust without one. Though toys are stored throughout the house, I am happy with how neat and tidy they look when put away. Each toy has a “home” and the toys haven’t completely taken over the house!