Do you have trouble keeping the toy room or area neat? Are there times you despair of ever having the room organized and clean? I used to feel the same way. So I worked at finding ways to keep it organized. Here are some tricks and tips I used, perhaps some of them will work for you.
For really small items, like Hot Wheels, building blocks, arts and crafts, etc. we purchased shoe boxes and labeled them. You could always put a picture on the end for those too young to read yet. Remember, my children were all varying ages. The other nice thing is that these were stackable, easily fit on shelves or under other furniture.
Obviously we used a toy box for other items that would not fit in the bins and that were not breakable. We actually had 2 toy boxes at one time. A boys toy box and a girls. That way you didn't have doll clothes mixed in with trucks, cars and motorcycles.
Another thing that I personally did, was switched from crayons to colored pencils. I got tired of broken crayons, getting mashed into the carpet, or melting on a heat vent. Colored pencils, don't do that! They also can be more easily removed from walls. Although I must say with 6 children, none of mine ever wrote on the walls. The worst that happened was one of my children used their school pencil and erased a picture into the paint on the wall! Unique!
Stuffed animals we used one of the nets for, and we also had a rope from floor to ceiling that other stuffed animals could be attached to. Of course favorites were always on the bed!
Games were kept on shelves in a closet. I did learn to put all the pieces in plastic bags though, because as boxes wore out, pieces would fall out of the edges and get lost. We usually found them when someone stepped on them. You know a Monopoly piece in the bottom of the foot! Ouch! Sometimes we would put all but the game board in a Zip-loc bag and we would include a cut out piece of the board. We would stack all game boards in one spot and then put all the bags containing the pieces in a plastic bin. You just pulled out the board that was needed. grabbed the bag and you were ready to go.
We used a larger plastic bin for coloring books, because these do not stay on the bookshelves as well. When they wanted to color they could pull out the bin, grab the colored pencils and go. It made for quick and easy clean up.
For dress up items (all little girls like to play dress up!) we used a trunk. They stored odd outfits, wigs, shoes, hats, capes etc. in the trunk so they could have tea parties, put on plays, or just dress up as mommies! There was a small shoe box for jewelry and glasses that was also kept in the trunk.
We also went through the toy room twice a year to get rid of old or broken toys. Also toys to be donated to thrift stores, or to be sold at a yard sale. Sometimes they gave these to friends who had younger children.
Last but not least we had a timer or we played a song for clean up time. They had until the timer buzzed or the song ended to get done. This made clean up a little more interesting to see if you could beat the clock.
I hope these tips are helpful to someone who is just starting out. I know our toy room evolved over time, and we were always coming up with new ways to store and organize.
I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Hot Wheels® blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here