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!
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.