BTB Tip #19: Organizing Toys

Back to basics tip #19: As a mother of two girls age 4 and 18 months, my house used to look like this. Who knew two little girls could make a mess this big every. single. day.? Don’t believe me? They are in the pictures. Proof. And the mess even traveled upstairs and into other rooms. It wasn’t unusual for me to find toys in my bed, in kitchen cupboards and hidden throughout the house. Every inch of carpet was covered with toys. Ridiculous.

To put an end to this insanity, I got clear plastic bins. Shoe box size in a pack of 10. I organized the toys in each bin according to type. It’s soothing for me to sort things. I’m one of those weird people.

The rule in our house is each child can only have one bin open at a time. If she wanted to play with toys in another bin, the first bin must be put away. If she is good, sometimes I would spoil her by allowing two bins opened at a time. Oh. You cannot what a difference this makes. My kids learned to appreciate their toys and enjoy playing with them more than before.

Not only that, we purchased a coffee table from Ikea that holds all the bins below. It is nice to have the toys hidden and the play room is more visually appealing.

And yes, the play room has undergone a little makeover since the pictures taken at the beginning of the post. The play room is at the front of our house and one of the first rooms people see when they enter our home. I wanted to make it more inviting than childish. It is still a work in progress.

Β» Tell me… How do you keep your children’s toys under control?

21 Responses to “BTB Tip #19: Organizing Toys”

  • Melissa

    Thank you for this post! We don’t have kids yet, but we’re working on it. Honestly, the prospect of living in a constant mess causes me some anxiety. It’s good to see that I can maintain some semblence of normalcy with a little organization. Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Tiffany

      so glad this post can help with your anxiety! and plenty more mom advice here too!

  • Carrie

    I absolutely agree about the bins. I just used the same ones to do all of our craft supplies and my kids (My boys are 6, 5, and 3 and my daughter is 8 months) have been great about putting things away. We use larger bins than those for toys but also clear so even my littlest guy knows where to find or stash things. The ONLY thing I might argue with (slightly!) is that I am not quite so strict about the “one bin at a time” rule, only because, when left to their own devices, my boys have found a myriad of ways to use different toys in unexpected and brilliantly creative ways. I can’t tell you the number of adventures the Little People have been on when mixed with the Superheroes and the Brio blocks! But, in the end, they all do end up back in their rightful place (mostly!) We do have a new rule that things must be picked up multiple times a day, most importantly before meals, whenever we’re leaving the house, and before bed. Leaving it until bedtime was too overwhelming.

    Reply
    • Tiffany

      yup. i use the bins for my craft supplies too!

  • Cecilia

    Things are definitely crazy in our small house, as well. We use a variety of storage solutions, but until the kids grow bigger, we have no choice but to keep the toys in the living area of our house. As long as they get picked up at the end of the day, or before we have visitors, I’m ok, though πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Tiffany

      i love small spaces. that’s when people live on bare necessity and get creative with their space.

  • Erin

    The best thing we ever did was move into a house with a basement. LOL. The kids’ playroom is down there, and it does help a lot just to keep most of their toys down there. They are organized into labeled baskets (no lids, because they tend to get lost anyway) which have a matching labeled spot on the shelf. It’s not fancy or pretty but at least now everyone knows where everything goes. And honestly, they read and make things out of paper and cardboard boxes and toilet paper tubes way more than they play with most of their toys.

    Reply
    • Tiffany

      our next house will for sure have a basement. lucky you.

  • Nicole Robinson

    I have one basket filled with toys, and that is all they have in the common area. I switch out toys ever month or so (the rest of the toys are boxed-up in closets). This way old toys seem new and exciting each month!
    Each of my kids also has personal toys in their closets. They only get to play with these during “quiet time” in their rooms. πŸ™‚
    I love those bins though! Where did you get them?

    Reply
    • Tiffany

      i bought them at bed, bath and beyond. i use them for everything in the house. i love them.

  • Stacy of KSW

    Hey Tiff,
    We have a very similar set-up. Our playroom is in the entry of our house as well. It holds some of the odds and ends furniture (two bookcase towers that are supposed to go with our entertainment unit but are just entirely too large for our space. They house the big things – large blocks, lincoln logs, wooden blocks & board games. Then I bough 4 Ikea lack side tables in different colors and placed them in between the two towers to make a sitting area of sorts. We have our bins sorted by types – trains, dinos, cars, play food, etc and some rolling bins for puzzles and misplaced items. The bins all fit under the lack tables and I added some velcro to the tables so I could conceal the bins with a curtain/skirt (still working on that part). I’m still working on a reading nook and some sort of an art display over the seating area. I like the Lack tables b/c we can bust them out at any time to use as a kids table for dinner parties or single units if the kids want to play tea party of build something. I can even push them together in a group of four or make a long tunnel out of them for the kids to crawl through. Ok, this comment is waaay to long. One day I’ll get around to posting about the playroom and then I’ll share the link with you πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Tiffany

      oh yes. please do share the link with me! and aren’t the lack tables nice and cheap? we have a few of them too.

  • Angee

    What a great tip! My living room looks like that and I only have one kiddo. We have canvas bins but she just dumps them until she can find what she wants. Maybe clear bins will help solve that problem.

    Reply
  • Line

    I love organizing too! Sometimes cleaning is a great stress-reliever for me. Our play room is in major need of recontructions, thanks for the ideas! I especially love the one-bin-open at a time rule. πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Tiffany

      i know. i love to sort and organize. it’s weird. πŸ™‚

  • Kim

    Where did you buy the clear bins in packs of 10? Our toys and crafts are both out of control.

    Reply
    • Tiffany

      found a box of 10 clear bins at bed, bath and beyond. i also used their 20% off coupon to lower the price of it to around $12/box of 10. it was the best deal i found.

  • sherrie

    I just came across your blog and LOVE it πŸ™‚ Where is the Dolls house from? its sooo cute!!!

    Reply
  • Sharleen

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for this great tip! I have just one little one but she can turn her room upside down in a matter of minutes and I know what you mean about finding toys in your bed. Amazing how toys travel. Thanks again! Going to have to go shopping for bins, not sure why I didn’t think of this, all my craft stuff is in bins.

    Reply

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