What's the best way to keep toys organized?
Real Mom Problem
“I am having the hardest time getting toys organized. It is toy overload in our house. What are things you do to keep toys stored in a neat manner?”
- 1. Consider donating toys your children don't need to keep clutter to a minimum
- 2. A good organization system makes it easier for kids to clean up their own toys
- 3. Large bins are good for bigger toys while baskets and drawers help keep small items organized
- 4. Labeling bins with pictures helps young children to keep their own toys neat
- 5. Shelves with baskets, or fabric drawers, can conceal toys in a decorative way
Real Mom Solutions
If you you've got kids, chances are, you've got clutter. See how the moms of CafeMom keep toy chaos contained.
Our Expert Mom Says...
When you're standing in the cereal aisle of the supermarket, you can get easily bewildered by all of the types of cereal. Too many choices are overwhelming! Kids feel the same way with their toys, and too many toys are hard to clean up at the end of the day.
Ideally keeping a manageable selection of toys out for them in any given room is best, while storing others to rotate in and out (or donating the excess). The big gaping toy boxes we may have grown up with are definitely not a good choice, as they don't allow children visibility to what is available. Lack of visibility causes kids to root through everything, dumping it all out. The best storage is a series of low shelves with baskets and bins sorting out groups of items like cars, dolls, action figures, LEGOs, and other play sets. You can find photos of the toys online and print picture labels for the bins to make it easier for kids to understand where to put them away. You also may find it helpful to put a basket near the door of each room where the kids play, so that you can gather up the toys that get distributed around the house and quickly declutter the rooms. You then can periodically return everything from the baskets to their actual storage places.
Lorie Marrero is a Certified Professional Organizer® and the bestselling author of "The Clutter Diet: The Skinny on Organizing Your Home and Taking Control of Your Life." She is also the creator of ClutterDiet.com, an innovative program allowing anyone to get expert help at an affordable price. Lorie is the spokesperson for Goodwill Industries International, and she is a sought-after expert for national media such as CNBC, "Family Circle," WGN News and "Woman's Day." She writes regularly as an organizing expert for "Good Housekeeping." She lives in Austin, TX with her husband, two human sons, and 30,000 bee daughters in her backyard beehives.
The Moms of CafeMom Say...
We have all kinds of storage. We have toy boxes, with bigger toys on top. We have bookshelves with big baskets on the bottom and smaller baskets higher up, and gigantic bins with lids.
We use those round bins with the white rope-like handles.
My first suggestion is to go through their toys and get rid of things they haven't played with in a while. Donate them, or Freecycle them. The biggest part is getting rid of the clutter. That should take a lot off your hands.
We have one storage tote per room. The girls have one tote. The boys have one tote. If toys don't fit in the tote, then we do some purging.
I keep all of my daughter's Barbies and other small dolls in under-the-bed storage containers. I try to keep as much organized under her bed as I can.
My daughter has one of those three-drawer rolling carts for most of her stuff. She also has all her stuffed animals and babies on top of her dresser, and all her Barbie/Polly Pocket/My Little Pony/Strawberry Shortcake in a stackable bin in her closet.
I have a $20 bookshelf in my son's room. It works great. The Little People toys fit on it perfectly! We also have bins filled with the smaller toys, and a large plastic storage tote for the medium-sized toys. I'm thinking of taking his clothes out of his closet (moving them to a dresser) and using the closet for toy space as well!
My daughter has a tall, lingerie type dresser and she has all her toys in there. Plus all her Beanie Babies are in totes under her bed.
My son has a playroom where most of his toys are kept. He also has a bookshelf in the living room. He keeps puzzles on the first shelf, books and alphabet papers on the second shelf, and on the third shelf he has a shoe box filled with toys and a mini tool box with random things. The bookshelf gets cleaned once a week because that's about how long it takes for him to bring down enough toys to crowd the shelf. We've got some hanging nets for stuffed animals, and all of his costumes are in a storage bin attached to his bed.
We have a big shelf with soft storage bins to put the toys in. We also have the same kind of shelf, but smaller, for their books. We use a lot of bins and containers. I have all their toys organized so it makes clean up easier.
I use colorful plastic bins, and they are scattered throughout the house.