Discover professional tips for keeping your child’s toys organized, as expert organizers share their best advice for arranging a playroom and ingenious ways to manage painting supplies, stuffed animals, and other challenging items.
When facing a huge pile of Hatchimals and LEGO pieces, matching bins can only go so far. Therefore, we have enlisted a brave mother team of experienced organizers. Continue reading to learn how they used resourceful organization techniques to overcome playroom overload.
Plan First, Then Organize
It’s time to take stock once you’ve done a purge, getting rid of anything defective, outdated, or left over from a party favor bag. You frequently won’t realize how much of one category you own until you see it all in front of you, advises Azure MacCannell, a mom of four and the proprietor of Composed Kids, an organizing business. “Set everything out and group like with like.” You must have a strong understanding of what you have to choose how to appropriately house it, so don’t neglect this stage.
RíOrganize founder Ría Safford, says it’s much simpler to utilize the space once you know what you have and where it will live. “The most common error is to purchase bins and baskets before beginning an organization job. In this situation, you’ll attempt to make things work with the products rather than the other way around.”
Utilize shelving that children can grow into.
The interests of your children will change over time, so prepare the groundwork accordingly. According to MacCannell, one of the largest mistakes parents make attempting to meet only the child’s immediate needs.
Instead, seek out components that your brood can develop into, such as:
- Tables with adjustable heights.
- Huge, movable storage cubbies for storing stuff.
- bins in a range of dimensions.
Layout and design are subject to the same regulation. (That is, don’t hang the PAW Patrol mural.) When your child enters a new phase, changing the room shouldn’t be tough, says Atlanta mom Naeemah Ford Goldson, owner of Restore Order Professional Organizing.
When you start arranging, resist the impulse to fill every gap; leave some room available for the items that will inevitably accumulate. The Organized Mother in Chicago founder and mother of two Jessica Litman says, “When you’re starting, aim to fill the room by only about a third.”
It won’t be empty for long, we assure you. A tried-and-true method of controlling clutter is implementing a “one in, one out” toy tidying policy. (Holidays and the change of the seasons are two more prime times to “get rid of the old.”)
When kids share space, be careful.
With the same area, how should siblings’ rooms be set up? Put any potential choking hazards, messy craft products, and little items in closable bins that are stored up high, if not in a different room. According to Litman, Barbie and her little shoes, Peppa Pig toys, and mini-wheel cars with narrow tracks should all be kept up high.
Also intended for taller shelves:
- brittle objects
- family heirlooms
- finished models.
Anything that needs to be watched over by an adult, like a science kit.
Goldson advises allocating a space for each child’s collection to distinguish who belongs to whom and prevent fights. You can also give each child a certain hue, she adds. “Gavin can have the green bins, and Ethan can have the blue ones. They will be able to identify what belongs to them in this way.”
Sort and group the toys.
What gets along remains together as a group. For instance, everything your child uses for arts and crafts must be gathered collectively and given an appropriate container within that grouping. Remember the kindergarten classroom concept with its separate activity zones whenever you’re unsure. To help her clients understand where to store materials like Silly Sand, Play-Doh, and putty, Litman defines art supplies as any fine motor substance that may be handled and explored.
But, the reasoning need not make sense to our mature minds. While organizing, I work with kids because it needs to make sense to them, says MacCannell. “Occasionally, ‘Transportation’ or ‘Things With Legs’ are the requirements.
Avoid tossing toys that defy classification into the “Miscellaneous” abyss. Goldson insists that “nothing should be left without a home.” Binoculars can be kept among other tools for exploration, like a magnifying glass, while Mr. Potato Head can be placed in a container by himself.
Grouping younger children.
Kids have varying needs for toy storage based on their ages. Here, the age-to-size relationship is inverse: The vessel grows in size as a child becomes younger, for the assortment of large musical cubes, fuzzy balls, and sensory toys that rule the early years, large bins or chests work perfectly. You will be responsible for keeping the organization system in place because there is no rhyme or reason to the toys that young children choose to play with—everything ends up on the floor anyhow.
Assign broad categories to start forming excellent habits in your children and for your own sanity. You may categorize them into “plush,” “wooden toys,” and “blocks,” according to Safford. Store the items in soft-sided bins with picture labels on low shelves so small children can easily reach them. Experts advise precisely lining up large, asymmetrical pretend play objects along the room’s border. According to Goldson, “let the toy kitchen or dollhouse be the star of the playroom.”
Younger children in groups.
As children get older, become more precise in your grouping and labeling. Choose smaller storage items; larger ones become pits of doom, advises MacCannell. Sort the mishmash of Shopkins, L.O.L. dolls, and Calico Critters into various, more manageable containers.
According to MacCannell, “with tighter categories, your youngster can remove a toy, play with it, and put it back.” Avoid stacks of containers that make it difficult to access the items at the bottom of the pile. We never stack deeper than two layers, according to MacCannell. After all, kids won’t play with anything if they can’t see it.
Finally, Litman advises sticking with your decision once you’ve selected a position for a category. “Your kids will eventually figure out where things go,”
Decorate with durability and comfort in mind to ensure that the playroom is more than just a storage space for toys. A playmat or rug can be added to make the space feel cozier. It’s always wonderful to break falls with something that has a little give, according to MacCannell.
Do not neglect to remember your own behind. Nothing is worse than spending hours confined to the floor or a child’s chair, according to Safford. Whether it’s a rocker, a sofa, or a beanbag, incorporate seating that is friendly to all age groups. A place to rest food and drinks, floor pillows, and a clock, so you won’t have to check your phone for the time constantly, are some creature pleasures that may be a godsend to parents.
Brilliant Toy Storage Tricks
In addition to organizing toys generally, consider how to store these particular, frequently abundant toys.
Stuffed animals are overtaking your child’s bedroom. Try the following suggestions:
- Put them on a beanbag chair as the filler.
- Hang hatboxes on the wall to display them.
- On a clothesline, clip them up.
Although while dress-up garments need their own area, it doesn’t have to be disorganized or messy. Look at these clever-looking hacks:
- Between two bookshelves, a tension rod has been put to hang them.
- An impromptu “dressing room” can be made by attaching adhesive hooks to the wall.
- Put them in a hamper for laundry that you can conceal in a closet.
Art supplies must be stored in an untidy manner, however this is optional. Try these things:
- Arrange them in a lazy Susan with divisions.
- In a tool organizer, group crayons, pencils, and markers.
- Fill the pockets of an over-the-door shoe hanger with them.
Each and every parent has survived stepping on a Lego set. These clutter-busters can prevent accidents and keep the mess under control:
- In transparent food storage containers, stow sets.
- For ongoing tasks, use a tray as the foundation so it may be moved under a bed.
- Put colored bricks in a hardware-store multi-drawer cabinet.