December 28, 2011

Cleaning Up the Clutter

This weekend Hubby and I will be taking on the dreaded task of trying to organize our daughters' toys. This will involve tossing anything that's broken and packing away anything that's for younger children. Typically, it takes us a day to truly organize their toys. This time, though, we're at a loss on how to make it "work." We want something that is easy for them to help us maintain, without spending tons of money on storage bins. Right now all their stuffed animals end up in one big pile in a corner. This works, as long as no other toys are thrown into the pile. We have several mesh "bins" that work to an extent for storage, but they're not good for larger toys and they rip under the pressure of heavier toys. Yesterday I checked out plastic bins, but even those seemed expensive for the amount we would need. Feel free to share how you keep your children's toys separated and organized!


MaryAnne said...

I'm all about the plastic shoebox bins for anything that I can fit. For larger things, I have shelled out the money for larger clear plastic bins for bigger toys (I like the IKEA ones with lids the kids can remove by themselves)

Johnny and Emma's dolls and stuffed animals go in our wooden IKEA Leksvik toy chest (not cheap, but the lid doesn't crash down and it's worn well), Lily's go in the cardboard treasure box the girls' dress-up clothes came in a few years ago (dress-up clothes are in a clear plastic bin. not fancy but functional), and we have one of the 2x2 Expedit cubes for other toys. It's still a lot of work to keep it all organized, and I only have three kids!

Good luck - and if you come up with an awesome solution I want to hear about it!

mmunford2000 said...

drawers. I haev several plastic bins that have drawers and each is organized with something different. Barbie dolls in one, books in one, action figures in one, blocks in one, dress up clothes in another, etc. Since they probably can't read yet, you could take pictures of what needs to go in each drawer and tape the pic on the outside of each one so they have a visual. Then at clean up time it is a little easier.

For the stuffed animals, I weeded through and got rid of more than half. I put a shelf in their room that extends the length of one wall and is about a foot from the ceiling (basically rests on the door frame and has a few brackets to hold it.) On the shelf, we put trophies and other memorabilia and stuffed animals!

Stephanie said...

Boy- keeping kids' toys organized is easier said than done! Mine are only 15 months old and we just sorted through all of the toys yesterday. So far we just have a few big bins (those big cloth-covered cardboard ones from target) for the girls' toys. All the soft toys go into one and the hard toys and babies go into another. The other toys get put on the bookcase or neatly in the playroom.

Kelly said...

I agree with MaryAnne. I use shoebox bins for whatever I can for both myself and my kids. For stuffed animals and building blocks I bought a couple mesh laundry bags and put the animals and blocks in them. I then just put them away in a closet or attic. For dolls I bought drawer containers. One set has all of my daughter's dolls while the other has all the accessories.

I hope in a few years, my children will say Mom it's time to get rid of all this stuff. If they do, everything is already packed and in order for a trip to Good Will.

Elisa | blissfulE said...

Wow! Quads! That's amazing!! :) I have four kids as well, but they're all around 17 months apart in age.

My approach, living in a small house, is to rotate toys and have only a few things out. The rest are, unglamorously, in moving boxes so the kids can't see them. My kids play better when they have FEWER things available to play with. I'm continually amazed by this. But they're actually more content when things "disappear". Weird. But sanity-saving for me! Currently we keep the toys that are out on a small two-shelf bookshelf. It holds more than enough to keep them playing for hours and hours, day after day.

Writer Lady said...

I never succeeded, but once in a while my girls would empty the toy box so they could play inside. It saved me a bit of trouble because I only put toys back that they still played with.

Claroux said...

I have "closetmaid" shelves - eight bins to a unit - that we lie on their sides longways. I get the fabric bins and then make labels for the bins on the computer with pictures of what's inside (play food, little people, fairies, cars, etc...) and put them in clip-on plastic ID badge holders from staples. It's worked for us but the bins don't hold up as well as I'd like and Target stopped selling the metal bins in the store.

My in-laws bought the IKEA Expedit shelves and the are MUCH sturdier than the closet maid brand. Although their bins cost more to fit in each cubby.

Regardless, I find that no matter how I organize things I can never keep up and need to do almost monthly mini-purges. GOO LUCK! I'll be curious to see what you come up with!

Oh - when we lay the closetmaid shelves on their sides it creates a play-space around the room - so dollhouses and such can remain out an open - but off the floor. I find that things get played with more if they are up off the floor and at my girls' eye level

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