Post-Christmas, our toy room looked like a hurricane hit. When you have three children sharing a basement toy room, the play space can become easily crowded. Plus, Santa seemed to bring an unusual number of large toys this year, making the room feel even more claustrophobic. We only keep books in the children’s bedrooms, so we have to maximize toy room space. My normally easy-going husband’s grumblings about the space grew increasingly louder (and more annoying), plus the kids didn’t even know how to begin picking up, so I decided to tackle the toy room disaster.
5. Accessibility is Overrated. This might seem counter-intuitive when it comes to kids spaces, but I’ve found it to be true. If every toy is easy to grab, every bin simple to dump, then mayhem ensues. If a child has to decide to access a bin of toys and pull a dollhouse or race track from the wall to play, they are less likely to create five random messes in a play area. Unfortunately, older siblings also need choking hazards and tiny parts out of reach of younger siblings, so Barbie shoes, Pet Shop, Legos, and games need to be asked-for items.
6. Rotate Toys and Consider One In, One Out. This doesn’t need to be complicated. I sorted out many knick knack toys and things the kids had outgrown or hadn’t played with in awhile to the garbage or garage sale/donation bin. I then put baby toys in a bin in case a future sibling might need them. I then allowed myself one bin of toys to rotate periodically so the toy room isn’t over crowded and the kids have “new” toys to play with periodically. I’m also hoping to follow the One In, One Out rule in the future, where the kids let go of one toy each time they receive a new one to minimize clutter and overcrowding.
7. Make it Their Space. I would love to purchase adorable framed prints for the walls, but they aren’t in my budget right now. Three of the walls are also brick, making it difficult to hang anything. I have plans to re-purpose old frames and add in fabric elements in the future. For now, I decorated the walls with the kid’s art, giving them a display area and helping them feel ownership over their space.
8. You Want Your Kids to Learn How to Organize. Using a simple system can help kids gain confidence in their own organizational skills. When a four year-old can see the toys inside a bin and follow the pictures, he can easily clean up. Keeping things organized will become more intuitive and clean up time less frustrating.
9. You Want Your Kids to Learn the Why of Organizing. When I revealed the newly organized toy room to my kids, their excitement surprised me! The room really did look bigger and their first reaction was to run in the open space. Their reaction really does make sense, though. We all feel lighter, less stressed, and happier in clean, organized spaces. One of my kids did pray last night that “We can keep our toys organized and not make mommy mad,” though, so I guess we have a bit of work to do here.
10. The Work Up Front is Worth it! With all this simple talk, I have to admit that reorganizing this space took quite a bit of time and energy dedicated to planning, purchasing supplies, and organizing. It was relatively inexpensive, at about $100 for all of the bins, tape, and CD cases. I took time, but in the end, it was worth it!
Supplies For Simple Toy Room Organization
Large Clear Bins with Lids that Clip
Small, Clear Bins
Toy Storage Organizer for baby or toddler toys
I know that many people are in full organization mode with the new year! Feel free to share links to your blog posts with organizational tips as well.
You might also be interested in my Craft/Computer/Puzzle Room Redo!