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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Organizing Toys: The Neverending Battle

If there's one thing I feel like I am constantly working on, its keeping all of the kids' toys organized. My Mom always said, "If things have a home, they can be put away, but if you have too much stuff, it will always be cluttered." Granted, I don't think our rooms were ever very clean, but a Mom can dream!

At the moment, Charlie has a few different kinds of toys - the bigger things you can throw in a toy box, games/puzzles/toys with a zillion small pieces, and stuffed animals. The trick is keeping all the little pieces together and away from Ginny. Baby proofing has a whole different meaning when you have a toddler and a baby!

Here's how we troubleshoot the kid clutter. Or at least try to.

Problem: Throughout the day, Charlie brings all of his toys from his room to the living room. When it's time to clean up and go to bed, it makes for several trips back and forth to his room.

Solution: My31 Large Utility Tote

Instead of carrying toys, clothes, shoes, etc. by the arm load back to Charlie's room, we fill up the large utility tote and I carry it back to his room. We then put everything away as part of his bedtime routine. It saves SO much time! Also, if Charlie falls asleep before cleaning up (we all have those days), I can fill the tote and place it outside his door to be put away in the morning.

Problem: Charlie can't read labels, so he has to open every baby wipes container turned toy storage bin to find what he's looking for.

Solution: Clear bins from Walmart

For a mere $.97 each, we got these little square bins to hold toys that have small pieces. He can easily see what is in each of them and find what he's looking for. I thought using baby wipes containers was genius -- until he started busting them ALL open looking for a particular toy. As a bonus, he can open these much easier than the wipes containers.

Problem: Many of Charlie's toys (as seen above) have a lot of little pieces that we'd find under the bookcase, behind the couch, on the kitchen table, etc. Meanwhile, when we cleaned up, we thought we had all of them. How many pieces are there?!

Solution: Count toy pieces and label their bin.

We didn't do this at first, leaving us to do a little catching up, but now whenever Charlie gets a toy, we first count the pieces, write it on a label, and stick it to the bottom of the box. At the end of the day when we're cleaning up, we know exactly how many pieces we're looking for. It minimizes the risk of forgetting a piece and it ending up in Ginny's mouth.

Problem: Picking a movie to watch can take an eternity.

Solution: Organizing movies by genre in boxes.

Now, it still may take him a year to actually choose a movie, but organizing this way does help cut down on the picking time.We used to have our movies lined up across the TV cabinet all willy nilly, making it hard for a kid to find the kid movies. We picked up six decorative shoe boxes from Michael's and organized them all by genre. Now, when its time to pick a movie, we can pull out the "Family" box or "Disney" box and let him pick from them. Each shoe box holds approximately 20 movies, even with a few special editions or BluRays mixed in.

Problem: Bath toys never dry!

Solution: KidCo Bath Toy Organizer Storage Basket

We've tried the mesh nets and we've tried the plastic bins that hang on the wall, but neither of them work. The toys aren't able to drain properly and take forever to dry causing mold issues. Eww. Also, have you ever had a basket of tub toys unsuction cup from the wall and crash into the tub in the middle of the night? Its terrifying!!

This fully adjustable basket sits across the tub and allows the toys to drain and dry quickly. Then, they're ready for the next bath in easy reach of the kids.

What are your favorite toy storage solutions? What have you done to troubleshoot the clutter?


  1. Great tips!!! I especially like the count and label idea!

    1. Thank you! I'm glad you found them helpful. :-)