The following post was written by the amazingly gifted Katie Yonke. Katie is an Incredible Infant columnist, focusing on home organization, nursery design, and DIY projects. Get to know her better.
T.O.Y.S. Every baby has them.
Did you have a baby shower? You were probably given a few baby toys!
Has your baby had his first Christmas? He probably received a few new toys!!
What about celebrating that special first birthday? Let me guess… she probably received A LOT of new toys!!!
Am I right?
The toys accumulate so fast that pretty soon they’ve taken over the house.
- They’re nesting in the nursery.
- They’re flooding the family room.
- They’re blocking up the basement.
- They’re pouring out of the playroom.
- They’re gunking up in the garage.
- They’re even cluttering up the kitchen – making you feel like you’re walking on
Legoshot coals while trying to cook dinner!
Now, while some of us live in large, luxurious houses with plenty of closet and storage space, others of us *cough, cough* live in smaller sized homes with little space to store all these toys.
This means that aside from throwing them all into the Giant Toy Box Dumpster of Doom (where toys go to be buried and never again see the light of day) you’re left with the challenge of finding a useable place to put the books and the puzzles and the cars and the musical instruments and the dolls and the blocks and the Legos…
Not to worry! Katie to the rescue!
Here are 5 ways to organize toys of various sizes throughout your home – without using that GIANT Toy Dumpster of Doom!
Do Not Pass Go Until You’ve Done This
Before you go through your entire house on mission to put away all the toys, do yourself a favor and objectively address whether or not your child actually has too many toys.
Newsflash: He probably does.
Are there toys sitting around the house that your child never plays with?
Probably. (At least a couple…)
In this case, you want to separate the toys into categories in order to uncover which toys to keep in the house.
All toys go into 1 of 3 categories:
The Discard Pile:
These toys are broken or in such bad shape that you would be ashamed for another kid to come over and put their hands on them.
Take the “discard” toys and put them in the trash immediately! Consider those toys a hazard to your child and be done with them.
This would also be a great place for those recalled toys listed in your monthly Baby Recall Alert!
The Donate/Sell Pile:
These toys are in good condition, but your child has outgrown them or no longer plays with them (and no future siblings will either).
Take the “donate/sell” toys and put them in bags or boxes. If you’re donating them, take them straight to the garage or car to drop off on your next trip to town. If you’re going to sell them, set them aside for your next yard sale or eBay day.
The Keep Pile:
These toys are in good condition AND your children play with them on a regular basis (or you’re saving them for a younger sibling)
Now that we’ve sorted them, how can we keep them from taking over the entire house?
Five Smarty-Pants Ways to Make
Junky Toys Look Stylishly Organized
#1) Jars or Canisters
These are great for containing collections of small items – anything from little blocks or cars to art supplies. Using glass or acrylic allows your child to see what’s inside and find it easily. If your kid sees the item, s/he is more likely to play with the item!
Want to duplicate this look? Pick one of these:
#2) Plastic Containers
Big or small, containers with lids or pull-out drawers can store all that plastic food for your child’s play kitchen, doll clothes, dress up clothes, puzzle pieces, and Legos. The possibilities are endless.
This isn’t really “pretty” storage. So, you may want to find something that will easily fit in a closet or on shelves.
Want to duplicate this look? Here’s how:
#3) Baskets, Bins, & Buckets
Square or round, you can use baskets and bins to corral books, balls, instruments, stuffed animals, trucks, and other miscellaneous toys.
The great thing about this type of storage is that it can be both decorative and functional! Set them on the floor next to your sofa or under your coffee table.
Idea @ Decorating Your Small Space
Use bookcases or open shelving to display the bins. Your child can easily access everything and it’s easy to put everything away.
Bonus Tip: Hang baskets on the wall from hooks or command strips. By taking advantage of the vertical space in your home, you won’t use up so much floor space!
Want to duplicate this look? Start with these…
#4) Under the Sofa Storage
Don’t forget hidden space that’s under your furniture! Often forgotten, this shallow, space can be used in a variety of ways. You can use serving trays or cookie pans for tight spaces.
Recycled cardboard boxes or plastic zipper bags that your bedroom comforter came in can hold bulkier toys (and they work great for storing clothes too!).
Want to duplicate this look? Here are a few suggestions…
#5) Hanging Organizers
Utilize the backs of your bedroom or closet doors! Shoe organizers come in many sizes and all those pockets make easy access for action figures, Barbie dolls, small stuffed animals, costume jewelry and more!
Want to duplicate this look? Pick one of these…
It’s Time to Reclaim Your Home from the Toy Monster
The time has come to take back your cozy cottage. To win your floor and chairs back from the Terrible Toy Monster.
Don’t let toys overtake your home any longer.
Be sure you have toys your child will actually play with and find a way to store them so your child knows exactly where to find the toy and where to put the toy away!
Ah-ha moment: Once your child knows exactly where a toy belongs, the child can be held accountable for putting the toy back in that exact same location. My baby boy starting putting toys away in specific places starting at about 12 months old! He KNEW where it belonged. It had a home.
When it comes to organization, my motto is…
Keep this in mind, and it will be much easier to clean up, pick up, and put away the toys every day!
You tell me: How do you store toys in your home? What’s a new way you’d like to start storing the toys in your home?
Meet Katie Yonke
Katie is a wife and mother to a toddler boy and baby girl. She loves being a stay-at-home mom and taking care of her family. She’s a self-proclaimed neat-freak and loves organizing! Spending time with family and hanging out with friends are high on the priority list. In her free time, you can catch Katie drinking a warm mug of hot chocolate, browsing Pinterest, and watching Downton Abbey.