08 August 2010

Toy Organization

Here is the tutorial on toy organization I shared on Sherbet Blossom last week for her series on Home Organization. If you haven't stopped by her blog, DO! She is a talented crafter/cardmaker/graphic designer! Plus, all month long, she is featuring tips and ideas for organizing our homes and lives. I, for one, have a lot to learn in that realm!
I am so excited to share one of my favourite organization tips! Probably my ONLY organization tip, but who's counting? But first, some background: My oldest daughter was not only our first child, but also the first grandchild on BOTH sides of our family. Needless to say, she was always very well-dressed and concurrently amassed a literal MOUNTAIN of toys. I noticed early-on that if they were all available at all times, she would not play with any of them; but if I put something away for a time and got it out later, it was like new again! I found it easier to start "collections" rather than just having a bunch of random toys laying about. It also became easier to organize that way. To do so, I chose clear plastic boxes so she could see inside and large labels with simple graphics to help with word/letter/symbol recognition and placed them on the no-longer-needed changing table.
With larger collections, such as our embarrassingly vast accumulation of Pixar Cars and Fisher Price Little People, I used larger clear boxes (obviously) and labeled them with cut-outs from the packaging. We kept those in the closets. We initiated a new rule which still stands today: only ONE box of toys out at a time. We now have 2 more children- 20-month-old twins- who are just starting to understand the system and it has just renewed my desire to keep the structure in place. Sheesh, I sound like a toy-Nazi! But with twins, everything becomes an organization nightmare! You literally HAVE to be organized yet you are cut-off, thrown-off and de-railed at every possible junction. Having the toys in place was just one less thing to worry about. And as our oldest has grown into other toys, like Barbie and Calico Critters, we just keep adding plastic boxes. Is the system perfect? No way! Are there arguments and whining? All the time- but not as many as when I relax on the rule and it comes time to clean everything up!Thank you, Hannah, for inviting me to participate in your awesome series on organization. Seriously, I cannot wait to learn from all the other contributions!


  1. I too do something like this, but we have a "toy library." To get my girls (5 & 6) in the habit of picking up one thing before they play with another, they "check out" a box. They can't check out another until they return the first box and all the toys from it are picked up. This has really worked for me. (I wish I had thought of using my old changing table! brilliant idea!)

  2. What is great about this system is the same concept works as they grown older and the toys change to Legos, Polly Pockets, and Barbies.

  3. @Julie- I love the idea of "checking out" a box. I will have to incorporate that into our system- especially when the babies get older.
    @Melinda- I am noticing as they all get older, I am starting to need bigger boxes as well =)

  4. We are doing the very same thing at our house this week. Our twins are 2 1/2 and their collection of little people and our 5 year old's hotwheels, we don't do anything but pick up things. The shelves are assembled and all I have to do is finish up the labels! I love the idea of adding the photos, especially for the little ones.


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