I am a parent, but that doesn’t mean toys have to overtake my home.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore my kids. But Jesus take the wheel if one more Barbie finds its way into my work bag. Or bed. Or bathroom vanity. It’s all about unnecessary toy overload people, and my husband and I firmly believe in controlling the chaos. Translation: Don’t be a toy hoarder.
I know, I know, easier said than done. And that’s why I’m writing this. In our home, we “try” (and often fail, mind you) to stick to a few rules when it comes to toy storage. We’ve achieved some success, too. When we have friends over—specifically, friends with kids—we often get the question: Where are all your toys?
So here are my best tips for toy storage, so you, too, can live like a sane adult in your own home:
Purge, purge & purge some more
I don’t know anyone who would say, “My kids need more toys.” Duh. Cuz let’s face it, not many of them do (#FirstWorldProblems). So keep that in mind when deciding what to keep, and what to let go of. As for my kids, they don’t play with half their toys, so this is what we do to combat that:
- Ask them to pick out toys they could live without to donate to kids in need. My oldest daughter especially loves to do this. I truly think she understands what her actions could mean for a lesser fortunate child, and that’s a great life lesson for her.
- Rotate toys. And by this I mean, store some of your overflow toys in a closet or a storage bin, and start a rotation. Every few months, bring out the bins, and trade the “new” ones with some old ones. Even though they’ve seen the toys before, they’ll be excited by the newness. Absence makes the heart grow fonder folks.
- Remind yourself that minimal living is healthy living. Purging certainly isn’t always possible. But when the next holiday or birthday rolls around, remind yourself (like we do) what your kids already have, and think of alternatives to more toys.
- Bid adieu to the unused & unloved. Sell them on Craigslist, a garage sale, wherever. But don’t keep things that don’t get used. Trust me, it will feel so good to downsize.
“Contain” the mess
Bins are your new best friend. Baskets are the bomb. Containers of all types are what will keep you sane. Just check out my own house. Great metal bin for craft supplies (the lid is a must):
Easily accessible baskets & bins for toys of all types:
More bins with lids:
More bins than you can even image. And boxes. God I love boxes.
Soooo many baskets & bins:
I also love baskets for books:
Cute decorative buckets for craft supplies. I use these on my kitchen table so they’re easy to access, and bonus, they look good, too. Thank you, Target!
Match the size of your toy storage to the size of your toys
This may seem obvious, but I didn’t always abide by it. But now that I am older and wiser (ha), I can tell you this… Just as toys come in all shapes and sizes, so, too, should their storage solutions. Large toys can fit in bigger bins, toy boxes and closets, while itsy bitsy accessories (jewelry & doll stuff, oh my!), legos and the like, need itsy bitsy storage. It just makes sense to match the variety of your storage solutions to the variety of toys. Lots of options on this one shelf in our basement:
Pick a dedicated toy room, and stick with it
When I think of my newly renovated basement, these are the images that come to mind:
Light, bright, airy & CLEAN.
But when my kids picture our basement, I’m sure this is what they think (ignore the bare walls and lack of shelving; it’s a work-in-progress):
Why are the images we each conjure up so different? Because we’ve chosen to give our kids, and their toys, their own SPACE. When renovating our basement, we designated one whole area as the “playroom,” and it is NOT a coincidence that the playroom happens to be around a corner, just out of sight when you walk down the stairs (at least, as much as it could be). I suggest you do the same.
If you don’t have a whole room to devote to toy storage, choose specific areas. In our living room, this is how we used to store random house stuff (in these 2 boxes that served as our coffee table):
But after experiencing toy overload, we decided to convert them to toy boxes. Super simple, and gives our kids their own “space” in the living room. Plus, soft lids are PURE PERFECTION. Open toy containers are great, too, but for a cleaner look, think LIDS 😉
When in doubt, use labels
I haven’t yet adopted this method, but now that our basement is being finished, I probably will. The Sunny Side Up Blog
did a nice job of labeling here, don’t ya think? Keeps everything nicely organized = keeps mom sane.
I’ve also been dying to try an idea like this for a while now. It’s not a label system, but it’s a cool keepin-things-organized system, once again. Thanks to A Bubbly Life
for this picture inspo:
Now go enjoy your clutter-free home!!!! (Hey, we can dream, right?!)