Toy Storage Tips
Four tips for children's toy storage that will help you reduce cleaning time and clutter.
You've tried it all - rotating the toys, putting them in colorful baskets, organizing then into seal top containers. There are still toys all over the living room, lurking in corners of the kitchen, cluttering the bathroom, and filling very other available space in your home. Time for a yard sale? Maybe. First, try these clutter buster.
Clutter buster number one - small toys
The essential problem with storing children's toys in bins and baskets is that the contents are easily spilled. Once the contents have been tipped over the living room floor, there is only one person who is going to return them to their proper container - you. Cajole, bribe, beg, scream or threaten you may, but your little helper is just going to look at you and say, "But the mess is too big!"
There is a simple, inexpensive solution to keeping all those toys confined - see-through storage drawers. These drawers are increasingly becoming available at discount retailers such as Wal-Mart and K-Mart. You can pick up a set for under $20.
Once you have your drawers, organizing is easy. Label each drawer with a picture of the contents and its name, for example, a picture of a car, with the word 'cars' underneath. If your car resembles a lump with wheels, you can cut pictures from magazines. The drawers are the perfect size for action figures, doll clothes, small blocks, or card games.
The toys then go into each drawer. For safety, place the heaviest toys in the bottom drawer, so the unit will be less likely to tip over. The bottom drawer on most units is large enough to accommodate cars or blocks. Place smaller accessories in the upper drawers.
Clean up time will not instantly become easier - it will take repetition to get your children to remember to put the toys away. The main advantage of the drawers is that they are hard to pull out. They are not easy to spill, so the mess is minimized.
Clutter buster number two - stuffed animals
The plastic toy hanging chains that are sold in many toy and department stores are an effective and inexpensive solution - if your child is old enough to hang up the animals (over age five). Otherwise, they are a frustrating solution. A large plastic container or toy box works well for stuffed animals - they don't break and there are no small pieces to be lost. If the container is tipped out, it is a simple matter to shovel the toys back in.
Clutter buster number three - large cars, trucks, houses
The best solution for large, bulky toys are low shelves. Melamine storage shelves - sold in the storage area of most department stores - are less than twenty dollars. They are designed to fit in closets and organize shoes or sweaters. There are also plastic stacking shelves, or metal utility shelves.
Keep in mind that you are looking for inexpensive storage options, not decorative furniture. You are looking for long, low storage, not height. High shelves are a safety hazard - they tend to topple when climbed. If you want to incorporate these items into your decor you could cover the unit with self-adhesive shelf paper. Another option is to decorate it with stickers and cover the stickers with clear self-adhesive vinyl.
Clutter buster number four - bean bags and other
Overwhelmed with Pez dispensers, key chains, or small bean bag animals? An over the door shoe organizer works perfectly to display these items.
Remember, it took you years to acquire all of your children's clutter. It will not be organized in a week, but if you follow these clutter busters you are own your way to regaining control of your living room.