Toy clutter with two kids at this age (3 and 18 months) is overwhelming, and Devin is going through the dumping phase. It is a daily issue, an hourly issue some days! You think it’d be simple, but it isn’t. There are so many toy boxes and shelves on the market to help you organize toys, and most of them stink. See it doesn’t matter if you use a toy organizer if your tot’s favorite playtime activity is dumping bin after bin of toys.
Here’s what I need my storage solutions to do:
1. Keep toys visible. If the toys are out of sight, the kids will not play with them.
2. Keep toys from being dumped out and abandoned.
3. Sort toys by category and keep sets together.
4. Be repurposable as the kids get older.
With this criteria in mind, you can see that the typical toy organizer and toy box don’t work for me. The typical toy organizer allows for way too much dumping action, and toy boxes do not allow for organization or visibility.
If I had endless piles of cash, I would get pieces from Ikea's Trofast collection with lids or this style toy organizer, but I can’t swing the price tag of either of them.
After much experimentation, I use a combination of storage solutions to handle our toys. The $10 storage drawers pictured above are very important to our toy storage. The toys are still visible and dumping them takes effort. The drawers get dumped from time to time, but surprisingly, the kids usually just open the draw and pull out a few toys. They aren’t pretty, but they are practical and the price is right for us! We already had two in use elsewhere in the house, so we only had to buy one more. These are great for puzzle storage! I keep the puzzles separated in Ziplocs and put the bags in the drawers. I also use them for some of the train stuff, large transportation toys, and small blocks.
The inexpensive clear, plastic bins are also useful for sorting toys. Just to give you an idea, I keep our matchboxes, floor puzzles, a train set, and our music instruments in the small ones among other things. The larger ones I use for our play food, Devin’s age-appropriate toys, figurines, and a random assortment of sensory fun.
In addition, I use a few larger bins to store our train tracks, larger toys, balls, and some random stuff. We also have a toy box, but I only keep stuffed animals that the boys don’t play with in it. Its main purpose in our play space is to block an outlet. I can’t figure out how to hide.
Lastly, we have our books, which live in three large diaper boxes. We own a lot of children’s books, and with two climbing, jumping, thrill seeking boy, I do not want any sort of scalable shelving units around. In the past, I used small dollar store bins, but we out grew them. I should decorate the diaper boxes. I planned to, but I doubt it will happen. Just being honest. The boxes are too heavy for easy dumping, so if the books are out, it is because the kids are enjoying them.
Looking around, I think that is the majority of the storage solutions I use to keep the kids’ toys organized. Now if I could keep the art supplies organized!
It’s a new year, and that means it is time for a new bullet journal. (If you haven’t heard of bullet journals, you should check out the original creator’s video explanation.) I love, love, love my bullet journal. It keeps me on task and focused, and the task lists remind me that I am in fact accomplishing things on a daily basis. All around, I am more productive and happier when I’m using my bullet journal, and that is why I am sharing my set up for 2017 with you.
I decided the best way to share the pages was in a video on my YouTube channel, but below is a sneak peak of some the pages you will find!
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You don’t need much to start a Bullet Journal. The beauty of the system is that it can be as simple or as fancy as you want. All you absolutely need to start a bullet journal is a 20 cent notebook and that weird pen your insurance company gave you.
That being said, most people don’t keep it quite that simple. Some people have gorgeous, hand lettered, colorful bullet journals that are so pristine I don’t know how they dare write in them, while others stick to the basic framework. Most of us fall somewhere in between. My bullet journal is imperfect, practical, and fun. You won’t find fancy layouts or beautiful hand lettering in my bullet journal. Instead you will find cross outs, scribbles, and slanted lines. Still, I enjoy adding special touches even if they are amateurish. I do what suits me at the time, and that is the heart of why the bullet journal system works for so many people.
So, for the average joe bullet journal, what supplies do you need?
A notebook you love. I like a spiral-bound notebook with thick pages and a hard cover.
A ruler. Absolutely essential if you care at all about straight lines or anything that comes close to a straight line. I have one of these metal rulers, but I’d prefer one of these transparent, 6 inch rulers. I started out thinking I didn’t need a ruler, but after a few pages I gave in, and I’m happier for it.
Pens that write nice. I picked up a 3 pack of these Micron Pens on sale at Michael’s, and they were worth it! They make a nice smooth line and don’t bleed my pages. I use them to create my layouts, but not to write in my bullet journal because they are on the pricey side, and I write a LOT.
Colored Pencils. If you want to add color to your pages, go with colored pencils. They don’t bleed through the page, and they add a touch of color without being overwhelming. I use regular old Crayolas!
An everyday writer. This should be your favorite pen and reasonably priced if you plan to use it often. I love these Lamy Safari Fountain Pens with this refill adapter and Noodler’s Ink. The initial expense is high, but a bottle of the ink lasts forever and the pen does too.
That’s all I use for my bullet journal. My equipment works for me in practical ways, and it makes my journal enjoyable to keep. For the average person, the items on this list will get you well on your way to a great bullet journal.
Welcome to the family!
We are a laid back, fun, family of four living on a dime in 700 square feet. Life might not be perfect, but every moment of every day, it is beautiful.