Sunday, September 19, 2010

Toy Storage Lacking

I don't know about you, but it seems like every time Lucas and I pick up toys they seemed to have multiplied and there isn't enough storage (even if we don't have anything new)! We live in a house build over 50 years ago, so storage is lacking to begin with and the bedrooms are small. I'm looking for some easy storage solutions before baby #2 arrives a couple months into next year, but I'm also looking for some easy ideas on maintaining toy storage. I do have a system for cleaning up and my two year old always helps.

BUT, I'm wanting to know:

Do you have a clean up routine for toys?
What type of storage and organization do you use?
Have you tried anything and found it didn't work and switched to something new?

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Erin said...

My clean up routine is to make my kids do it, or I take them away. And I really do take them away. Right now my kids have zero toys because they threw them down the stairs. Even my 18 month old gets this. I do a ton as a mom and they can pick up their own toys! (Sorry...this is a sore spot lately.. :) ) Each kid has a toy box in their room, and I try not to have more toys out than can fit in it. We go through toys often and get rid of the junky ones, or the ones they grew out of. We have two other tupperware bins in the garage that have toys in them, and we switch them out once in a while when they get bored of the ones they have. When they get bored they just throw the toys around and make a mess instead of playing with them. I've thought about using the toy organizer shelves that have a different bin for different toys, but I'm more concerned that they aren't all over the floor than I am that they are organized.

Jessie said...

My only advice is to have a home for every toy, if you can. For example, my girls play with Polly Pocket type toys, dress-ups, and dolls, mostly. So those three toys each have their own bin, and the girls know what toys go where, and are expected to put them there. We also have a general toy bin in both their room and the playroom (yes, we're blessed to have one of those in our basement these days) where they can just put toys that don't fit into one of those categories.

We used to have all the toys in just general toy bins, but I found that my girls stopped actually playing with their toys--they couldn't find anything they wanted. By switching to more organized bins, they can more easily find what they want, and are much more creative in their play. The bins I use were cheap--I found them at a local place, but I've seen similar cheap things at Big Lots and the dollar store. Kids don't care that things are beautiful, just that they can find them.

For clean up routines, I try to get my girls to help me pick up their things regularly. I'm not very good at letting them do it completely by themselves, which I know is probably bad, but everyone is happier when we work together to get the job done right, so they can find what they want to play with in the future. We try to make sure their bedroom is cleaned up every night right before bedtime.

Good luck. :)

Anonymous said...

We made some really easy drawstring bags. All the cars went in one, all the army guys went in another, all the barbie clothes went in a different one, the wooden blocks in another, etc. They were fairly big bags. At least a square foot big. Then you put all the toys in the right bag, and throw all the bags in the toy box. Some toys didn't have a bag because they were too large, or there weren't enough of them to justify the bag. So they just went in the toy box by themselves. Once the toys had a designated bag, we just stuck to the system. We didn't have trouble finding things because we knew, for example, that the cars would be in the red back. Occasionally, we would go through the bags to resort toys if they were starting to get mixed up. It was a lot cheaper, and actually saved more space, than to buy the toy organizer bins.

wizz said...

We are using a great product called GoGoSac playmat and toy storage solution all in one. they are different than other sack type storage solutions because they are made from heavy canvas or denim plus they have the drawstring handles enclosed inside the GoGoSac that means its less of a tripping hazard for kids. We are using 3 now, 1 for LEGO, 1 for mega block and the last for general toys. The company is called GoGo&Co
They are great and make toy clean-up so easy, the website also has hints on how to get the kids to play on the GoGoSac - teaching your kids to play on the GoGoSac is easy
hope this helps

Delia said...

Wizz...that product is really cool!

I like the other moms have another different way to organize which I think shows that there is no one best way to do this.

We have a bunch of those plastic shoe sized bins and organize our toys with those. One has super heroes, one has cars, train tracks- wooden, train tracks- plastic...etc. That way my kids will pull out just one at a time {most of the time} and then we can clean it up fairly easily...this is kind of like the bag idea mentioned before. This bins are clear and allow them to see what the toys are in each bin. I do have to warn you that if the bins get stepped on, or pulled down with heavy cars in it they can crack. I quickly cover the crack with packing tape inside and out and it fixes it up pretty well. We have a few taped bins that are still holding up after a couple of years. I haven't had to throw one away yet. I got mine at Walmart for 96 cents each.

I also like them organized this way because sometimes the kids get the toys taken away as consequences for bad behavior, and I can take them away a bin at a time. They also fit nicely in our closet stacked up while they await their return to my son's bedroom. :)

We use baskets as well for costumes, make believe toys {like doctor kits}, and stuffed animals.

We do have a clean up routine but it is not really cut and dry. We clean up before we leave the house {most of the time} or before dinner...basically whenever Mom says it is time. My five year old gets a choice to clean upstairs or downstairs. Then my two year old and I clean up the opposite space together. I won't lie. My younger son's cleaning interest and abilities are not his best feature :). It is a struggle for us. I often pick the toys up and hand them to him while he puts them into the appropriate box or basket. It takes WAY longer that way. Yeah. I would love some ideas about that. :)

Anonymous said...

Does your youngest like music? There's always the "Clean up! Clean up!" song, or "Cleaning up is fun to do! Fun to do, to do, to do!" song from Primary.

I like to make it a game. "Take this car and hop as fast as you can to the box!" "Okay, take this animal and run run run to the shelf!" (my stuffed animals are on a shelf) "Hold onto this book and fly fly fly to the bookshelf!" Think of as many modes of travel the kid and can do, or different speeds: fast, slow as a turtle, medium, or different directions like zig zag, straight, wiggly, etc. Then cleaning up is as much fun as playing itself because it's just a continuation of their play.

The Halls said...

These are my new favorite storages. Especially with vinyl labeling the bins. I think the base would be easy to make.

The Halls said...

Forgot to post the link! :)