Sunday, July 13, 2014

Toy Storage

Way back when (pre-baby) I wrote a post about how I was concerned about my home would look with toys and baby gear strewn about. I know it comes with the territory for the most part but that didn't keep me from constantly reorganizing and thinking of ways to disguise the kid factor in my decor. I came back when Charley was 10 months old and showed pictures of my baby-fied house, although even looking back at them I don't think it was ever really that bad. Shew!

As Charley has gotten older, the amount of gear and large items decreases and her ability to play independently increases, which is good news for my kid stuff disguises. I know if we ever have another kid I'll have to revise all of this but for now this is the state of the toy storage in our home. (And spoiler: I'm very happy with it at the moment, which I why I want to share it. A, so I can remember it and B, so I can get or give suggestions from/to anyone else!)

Let's start with the main living area - the area that I want MOST disguised.

In the living room we have our big shelving unit that we built that naturally has lots of built in storage/disguises. The baskets on the bottom left of the shelving unit are designated for toys. Any/all toys that Charley was playing with and got left in any room that is not her room or her playroom winds up in these baskets each night.


There are no rules about what belongs in these baskets. They are just a way to clean up any toys that were left out after she's gone to bed. If they start to get too full, we take them to her room and empty them and put the toys where they actually belong. They are also good for having Charley help clean up since there are no rules about what goes where. I can have her clean up her toys in the living room and she knows to just put them all in these baskets. This is all of the toy storage in any of the main living areas. Sometimes we'll have Charley's Anywhere Chair out in the living room which obviously doesn't bother me, but all other big gear belongs in her room or her playroom. Let me live in my dreamland this way until if/when we have another kid. 

Next up is Charley's room. For the most part, all of the toys belong in her closet in her room. Things that are left out are larger items like her shopping cart, baby strollers, baby cradle, etc. There are some things that are stored under her bed so she can get to them easily like a bin of blocks and a couple of her favorite games. (Hungry, Hungry, Hippos for one - she is obsessed with hippos!) Everything else is in the closet.


The Expedit cube thing from IKEA works really well for now because it's not permanent. Once this closet set-up no longer works for Charley we can take it out and add more space for hanging clothes or whatever her needs may be. For now though, it works great!

In those top flowered baskets are any clothes or shoes that Charley hasn't grown into, organized by size. So there is a 4T basket, size 5, etc, and then a shoe one also.

Obviously all of her books go in those top 4 cubes. On top of the Expedit is an owl basket containing dress up stuff that she can get to herself, piggy banks, a couple of Melissa and Doug things that she plays with pretty often and a couple other baskets for whatever we need them for at the moment.

In the pink cubes is the majority of her toys.


In the left two cubes is roughly pretend toys, with a couple other things thrown in too. All of these toys she can play with by herself and get to by herself. That's kind of my only requirement about what gets put here versus on higher shelving.


In the right two cubes are music toys and then puzzles. Again, toys she can play with by herself and get to by herself.


On the left side of her closet is just more toy storage, but things she either doesn't play with as much or things I'd rather her play with while supervised. Stuffed animals are all stuffed in the bottom so she can get to them.


On the right side is more of the same (except dolls on the bottom instead) and it includes some bigger items.

In those pink/white striped boxes I keep a lot of like things together. One box is labeled 'junk' which I'll get to in a second, and the other is 'baby doll items' which stores all extra clothes, bottles, bibs, shoes, or whatever came with the baby doll that I don't want lost somewhere.


 The junk box was an idea stolen from my Mama. We had junk bags as kids which housed all of the junky toys that really don't belong anywhere else but you just weren't ready to part with. This includes kid's meal toys, gumball machine toys, and random party favors. The idea is to only have enough junk to fill one bag or box at any time. So if the box becomes too full, it's time to toss a few things. And, since there are just so many little toys that a child acquires like this, getting the box down and letting Charley go through them all and play with them is always fun for her and takes up a good chunk of time. It's a win/win.


Finally, the play room/3rd bedroom. Obviously the future of this room is the most up in the air so for the meantime, this is the room I just let Charley's favorite toys stay out in. In here I keep her Little People stuff set up, her Littlest Pet Shop stuff out, that giant tub is ALL Lincoln Logs which we like to play with her and any of the bigger stuff that doesn't have a good home elsewhere stays in here too. IF this room's future ever needs to be something else, then I think I would do a combo of moving the toys back into her closet in her room or moving some of the bigger things down into the basement to keep things as organized as possible.

Am I naive to think that toy storage can still be managed with multiple children? Gah I hope not. I'm really kind of liking our current set-up! Any suggestions to make things even better? I'll take 'em! What toy storage ideas have worked for you?


Mama Bub said...

{\fonttbl\f0\fnil\fcharset0 ArialMT;}

\f0\fs26 \cf2 \cb3 \expnd0\expndtw0\kerning0
\outl0\strokewidth0 \strokec2 Looks great! Not naive. We have two kids and still work to keep the stuff contained. We have a playroom, so everything goes in there or the kids rooms. And while they're not good at keeping everything put away, everything does have place. }

Mama Bub said...

Um. I have no idea what happened to my comment up there.

Shannon H said...

I love that idea. I have been wanting to slowly start moving more of Ethan's toys into his room and out of the little nook in our living room. Storage bins and cube shelving are a huge hit in our house too!

Heather said...

First - does Charley have more clothes stashed in dresser drawers? Because I'm a little jaw-dropped at the amount of clothes Tory has in her closet compared to C. I *might* have a shopping problem.

Re: toy storage, we have a similar solution. Tory has one big toy bin in her room which holds mostly dress-up clothes and baby dolls. Books stored on a shelf in her closet. Bigger toys in an IKEA storage cube downstairs in the playroom. Aden has a small bin of baby toys in his room. I feel the same way about not having toys take over my house but some of it is inevitable right now with baby gadgets. Tory's play kitchen is currently housed on the three-season porch which I don't love, but she plays with it often so I suppose it's fine for now.

Nicole Tully said...

I was wondering the same thing…do you keep her clothes in a dresser or does she have two closets?! LOVE the idea of putting all the toys in a closet though - I'm all about keeping the toys out of sight! But my girls only have one closet in their room and its FULL of clothes. And their dresser too. But I admit that they have WAY TOO MUCH clothing. Walker on the other hand, poor buddy, next to nothing, ha!
Anyway, I did a post when updating the playroom all about storage options. But basically we have a set of cabinets in the built-ins in the family room where toys are stored, mostly baby toys, but other than that, all toys are in the playroom. I allow some toys (there is one basket in their room), but mostly books and stuffed animals in their bedrooms. The kids still manage to bring tons of toys up from the playroom throughout the day, but I always chuck it all back downstairs at the end of the day.
Shortly after my second was born I realized our house was getting taken over by toys and it drove me batty, so I decided that all toys belonged in the playroom. And the kids are pretty good about following that rule. The playroom is definitly overflowing with toys, but I haven't found a way to cut back yet. With 3 kids, every birthday and christmas, things get a little out of control. But they play with all of it and it's too nice to throw out, so I'm not really sure how to cut back quite yet. And since they have younger siblings, it's not like they've outgrown their toys yet. Anyway, that's our system!

k said...

We have a "junk" drawer too!