Thursday, January 12, 2012

How to Organize Kid's Toys

It's hard to find the ONE thing you want in this toy boxes.

Toy boxes eat toys like dryers eat socks.

I know I put all the parts in there but somehow I can never find all the matching pieces. And in the process of looking for the matching pieces my children like to empty the entire toy box onto the floor.

I've learned it doesn't have to be this way. You CAN have organized toys if you follow these guidelines.

  1. Sort and group toys. We have Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, Thomas the Tank Engine trains and tracks, cars and trucks, miniature princesses, etc. You get the idea.

  2. Store each group in a square lidded container. (In other words, a plastic tub.) When purchasing your tub consider how big your collection will eventually be. If you are just beginning your Thomas track collection don't buy a small tub. Buy a medium tub to grow into.

  3. Label each tub and lid. If you have non-readers print a photo of the toy and use it as your label.

  4. See through tubs help non-readers. Labels help babysitters.
  5. Stack the tubs in a corner or closet. If you are concerned about how the tubs look, buy tubs in matching colors.

  6. Find new homes for old toys. Sometimes children receive toys as gifts that they lose interest in pretty quickly. DON'T clutter your home with these toys. If he hasn't played with it in months or asked about it, quietly find a new home for it at the Salvation Army.

  7. Throw away broken toys. Yes, I understand most of the Transformer still works but that one piece keeps popping off and you keep picking it up off the living room floor. It's broken. It really is OK to throw it away. Unless this is your child's most beloved toy, but that's rarely the case.

  8. Store puzzle pieces in plastic bags. Has your child ever pulled a stack of puzzles off a shelf? If so, you know the nightmare of trying to work 10 puzzles with the pieces jumbled together. I place each puzzle's pieces in a zippered plastic bag then all the bags go into a tub. 

  9. Plastic drawers are a great way to hold small items.
  10. Clean up the toys. All the organization in the world won't help if your child doesn't return his toys to their homes. We have clean up at least twice a day - before we begin our school work and before supper. This keeps me from tripping over toys in the middle of the night and my children know where to find the toy they want to play with.

These are a few of my favorite toy organization tips. What is your favorite tip for organizing toys? Do you use a toy box or some other system?

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Carrie said...

Our favorite way to sort now is with Ikea kids storage units which consist of various sized buckets. So the Gears go in one bucket, the cars in another and so on and so forth and then you just slide it into the unit. Clean. Neat. Awesome!

Stephanie Kay said...

Carrie, sounds like a great toy storage system. I think Target has similar shelving units. Finding a system that works for you at the current moment is the most important thing!

Pam said...

Great tips. Wish I would have known these things when my kids were younger! Love the LIDS (I just posted about the benefit of LIDS!)

Stephanie Kay said...

Pam, I love containers with lids! Your post ( for anyone that wants to read it) is fantastic. I hadn't thought of using decorative photo boxes. I don't know that they would work for my rough boys, but it might work for my daughter's things.

tori@ the ramblings said...

We just turned our guest room into a toy room. I hate losing the space but am SO glad to have my living room back!

Susan (5 Minutes For Mom) said...

Love these tips and i'm going to follow many of your suggestions when i reorg my girls toys in the next couple weeks.

Stephanie Kay said...

Tori, with 4 kids in a 1200 sq ft 3 bedroom house space is at a premium for us! Our basement was sorta finished by the previous owners but has no heat so my kids can't play down there in winter but love it in the summer. So I've turned one section of the basement into their play room/toy storage room. It keeps all of the toys and children's books out of my living room. My goal is for my living room to look more like a grown-up space than a play room.

Stephanie Kay said...

Susan, glad I could help! Have fun organizing your girls' toys in a way that works for you and them. :)

Amy said...

I totally agree that toy boxes are tricky!!! We have 2 and at times I've really struggled with them. For anyone that already has them here are a few thoughts: use them for big toys (folded toy strollers, baby swings, stick horses, etc.) that won't fit into a bin anyway, and they're also great for storing smaller bins or buckets (we put matchbox cars in a bucket we already had, but by putting them into the toy box there was a built in lid, we also store small bins of magnetic letters, little dress up dolls, etc.) this way you don't have lots of little bins sitting around--they stack easily into the toy box. I'm ALL for organizations and I'm ALL for using what you already have!

Unknown said...

Great tips! I'll be tackling our playroom soon. (I need to get a truckload of new bookcases first. LOL) I'll use some of these tips to get our playroom more FUNctional!

Stephanie Kay said...


I DEFINITELY need more bookshelves. Right now I have a huge tub full of our Thanksgiving and Christmas books. I have toddler books in a big basket and early readers in another basket. I'm addicted to our local library's used book sales - the kids' books are only a quarter! I just can't resist! :D

Have fun organizing your playroom!

Kristin @ Yellow Bliss Road said...

These are really great tips. My kids are HORRIBLE at cleaning up - although so am I! :)

Thanks for linking up at Simply Klassic Home!

Unknown said...

These are some really great tips. Now that we are moving into a bigger place with more rooms its time for us to get these toys organized!

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