8 months ago
Toy Organization: How to Declutter and Store Toys
When you become a parent, slowly but surely, kids’ toys begin to take over your home. I don’t want to be dramatic and call it one of the biggest challenges of parenthood but when you have little kids, it can feel like a lot. Pikler climbers, bounce houses (why yes I did), a toddler trampoline (don’t act like you don’t have one) and anything that might keep your little ones occupied. It takes some time to learn what kids actually need and what your kid(s) will play with on repeat, so there’s some trial and error – it only took me three years to start to feel like I had it figured out. Let’s discuss my children’s toys and toy organization tips – specifically, how to declutter, organize, and store toys.
Toy Organization: How to Declutter and Store Toys
I’ve done a few rounds of organizing our toys and after having a second baby, I have come up with what feels like the best way to organize toys. After learning how toddlers play but more specifically, how my toddler plays, I now know that open-ended toys are best. Example: your 2-year-old loves Frozen. Buy a few figurines, but skip the giant castle. Small toys are easier to store. Larger toys are “fun” but are so unnecessary and all that plastic stuff takes up too much space. Buy some blocks that your child can use to make their own frozen castle or a city. Here’s how I finally simplified and implemented a truly organized toy storage system.
Figure out what toys you actually need
Children’s toys can easily take over your home. We only have so much storage space and kids don’t need that much stuff. But between gifts and surviving 2 years of isolation at home, our play areas were busting at the seams, and I needed to figure out the best toy storage ideas for our home. So I looked into some different toy storage options, but realized the number 1 thing I could do was declutter, and eliminate some of the big toys from our home. I went through the entire house, sorted through random toys, implemented a toy rotation system, toy bins, and figured out a great toy storage system for small spaces.
Declutter and Donate
Chances are there’s some toy clutter in your home, and the first step is limiting the number of toys in your home. Action figures, board games, and lots of little toys (and some with missing pieces). A great place to start? Less toys = less clutter. Great idea, right? Go through everything (yes, everything) and make two piles but never do this in front of your children. Similar items can go – because how many cupcake sets do you need? One to keep and one to donate/sell/recycle.
I kept the things my girls use the most – mainly, toys that can be used different ways. So like I said, I kept the figurines and even the little Peppa car, but the Peppa treehouse? Goodbye. And guess what? Margot didn’t notice. I listed a few things on facebook marketplace (for free) and donated the rest. Another tip – when new toys come in, donate something. This will keep children’s toys from taking over your home.
Sort everything by type. Younger children have a lot of toys, and sorting through them can take some time. Truthfully, this wasn’t a big step for me because my kids’ toys were already organized by type. I’m two steps away from being a professional organizer. I just put the toys I planned on keeping into baskets in the playroom and living room. Having a specific area where toys live also really helps. I would recommend not doing this in front of your children since they won’t want to part with anything.
Figure out where the bulk of toys will be stored and utilize shelving and cabinets. A playroom? Closet? Family room? We have an IKEA cabinet in our playroom that is full of labeled bins and boxes where we keep art supplies, figurines, Duplo, etc. I use baskets, a large bin, boxes, and canvas pouches to organize toys by type. I had this whole plan to make iron on labels for the canvas pouches but that project is so far down on my list that it hasn’t happened. Maybe I’ll get around to it someday. I keep the girls’ most-used toys in baskets and bins on the floor. All the IKEA bins are linked in this post.
We are fortunate to have a basement and some pretty great playroom storage for our children’s toys. If we didn’t have these shelves, I’d need a cabinet or some other system to store everything that’s in here. And we’d realistically need to own less.
Our toy storage shelving
As you can see, this shelving unit in our playroom is pretty organized, although I’ve since redone it. It has fabric bins on the bottom to give my kids easy access to small toys. When there’s a place for everything, you’re less likely to have smaller toys all over your home, and cleanup is easier, tooI keep art supplies on higher shelves, and plastic tubs and larger bins that dress-up toys and other types of toys can get thrown in at the end of the day. Open storage units are great, but I love that this system is behind doors that close, so we don’t have to see everything.
Easier access to your kids’ toys makes things more fun – and I keep a few favorite books and toys on a low shelf in the playroom, too. Tiny toys that might pose a danger to toddlers and babies should be kept up high.
I have these baskets scattered throughout the playroom and a few in our small living room play area. They’re aesthetically pleasing, and are great for keeping toys out without things feeling cluttered. These are a great option for smaller spaces, or where you might not have closed cabinets to hide toys. I like switching out what’s inside, and leaving just a few baskets out with my girls’ favorite toys.
Different types of storage
Figure out what’s going where. I put all our big wood toys in a big floor basket since that’s a great way to store most-used toys. There’s a small basket for puzzle pieces, another for wood toys, books, food toys, baby toys etc. And this system has meant not one puzzle piece has been lost. Not one! I keep smaller pieces in IKEA bins in our toy closet. Anything Kate is too young to play with is up high, but I actually went through all Margot’s toys and put most toys with smaller pieces away for now. We have a few that Margot is allowed to play with during nap time and it honestly gives me so much anxiety.
Organization ideas for the play room
Rotating toys really helps keep things organized. I am admittedly not the best at this but I’m working on it. I keep a few baskets in the living room and the rest in the playroom. Each of the girls have a lidded basket on our console, and I keep shared toys in floor baskets. Right now, there are baskets for wooden toys, Magna-tiles, and books. I try to switch out what’s in those baskets, even if it’s as simple as switching out different types of wooden toys, books, or food toys (Margot’s favorite). This is a great way to give old toys life again, to give your child a nudge to be creative, and to find out what your child may have outgrown (or no longer seems interested in).
Storing craft supplies
I keep craft supplies in storage bins from IKEA (linked below). Try to minimize having multiple types of paint and markers – art supplies really pile up, so stay on top of using them and going through old, dried up markers.
Stuffed animal storage ideas
Keep stuffed animals to a minimum, and I try to stick with small stuffed animals. We have one basket for stuffed animals and another for dolls. And that’s it. Kids don’t need a million stuffed animals. They pile up, collect dust, and often go untouched. They should be one of the first things to go.
Toy Organization Storage
I used the label maker to label plastic bins by type. It makes storing stickers, art supplies, and other toys a lot more organized.
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