As a mom (and teacher), I strive everyday to engage, nurture, and expand the mind of my little one.
Here you will find the books, music, and activities most useful to me in my endeavors.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Toy Organization, Part 2

I usually feature new music on Mondays, while this post isn't about songs, I am hoping it's music to your ears ... and eyes.

About a month ago, I featured a guest blogger, my friend at Rocky Mountain Baby. She's got a great toy organization system that is working for her. Now I am sharing my system - or at least part of my system - with you. You should know that I am a freak when it comes to organization. If it can be color-coded or labeled, I am just that much happier :)

I am extremely fortunate to have a seriously handy/talented husband. He built the majority of my storage downstairs - in the family room and living room. In addition to tons of shelf space for storing books and a few toys, I have four big bins - stashed away on shelves - in each room. I don't know what I would do without all my delightful bins. Those bins save my sanity on a daily basis.

Here's the family room built-in. Lots of shelves up high for photos and my books and what-not, and everything in my toddler's reach is meant for her to play with ... how ideal is that?

View of the built-ins and baskets.

The contents of the bins in the family room.

The small animals make their way into most of our dance parties. The musical instruments (mostly homemade) serve as great accompaniment, too. The blocks and cars, if I am being honest, don't get much love from NHV, but many of her buddies like to play with them. Oh, and of course, I've designated one bin that's really for me ... diaper changing essentials.

The blank-and-white woven baskets came from Walmart Online. The top has a hard wire frame, but the rest is totally pliable. I looked to find a link for them, but I can't find them again. I was lucky to find them because I needed this exact size to fit the built-ins.

In the living room, there are more custom shelves ... but I bought the big, deep chocolate brown canvas bins before my husband started building. That saved me a major headache later. I think the bins came from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

All four are located at the very bottom - perfect for toddler scavenging. And just above them is a deep shelf for books, toys, and other goodies.

  • Bin 1: Pretending - Natalie's favorite! Hats, scarves, little bags, cell phones, bracelets, tutus, ... all the things a little girl needs to accessorize!
  • Bin 2: Stacking - cups, DiscoveryWorks pegboard and pegs (stored in Ikea bricks), super cool Wedgits, and plastic links (stored in hospital water bottles).
  • Bin 3: Learning - puzzles, puzzles, and more puzzles (again, pieces stored in Ikea bricks)
  • Bin 4: Cuddling - baby dolls, blankets, bottles, onesies, ... all the things a little girl needs to take care of her babies!

I have a different system upstairs and another one for crafts and such. I'll share those with you another time. If you have a toy organization system that you'd like to share, let me know ... I would love to have a few guest bloggers share what works for them :)


Ekanthapadhikan said...

You already have an absolutely well organised stacking system. Besides, I don't have kids and I'm too old to be playing with toys. So frankly, I've not given this a thought. But yes. This can always be used as a future reference.

Chris said...

We have a very similar system. We do our best to keep it that way but, most nights, things get sort of kind of put away in the right spots. Periodically it makes for a great sorting project to re-organize too. Good luck!

Big Mama Cass said...

Wow! Seriously! Wow!

SupahMommy said...

As they got older.. and the toys got smaller... I made bins with lids.

My rule is such. You may not have a new bin until the old bin is cleaned up. It makes sorting so much easier...

They are literally stacked up.
They can't get to them without my help / monitoring.. otherwise I"d hav 45 million barbiesdinosaurscarsfigurinespollypockets all over the floor.. and i'm not a mIXER.


Deann said...

Love it! You know how I too love organization! I was inspired a while back, probably from you :-), and started the process. Most of the toys are currently still in a pre-sort up in the guest room. They are going in bins and hopefully each week I can rotate them. For example, I have one bin with ABCs, so that week I can pull out that bin and it will help me to also remember what to work on with Sahara, the next week might be colors! :-)

Chi-town momma said...

so does NHV put things back in the correct bin? Is she limited to one bin at a time? I'm trying to envision cleanup - another never ending parent struggle!
Also - the IKEA blocks (which I am assuming are the colored ones in the pics?) can she open them herself or are they too hard to be opened by a toddler?

Jessica said...

Great system! We've been using all my old classroom organizers, as you may have noticed, as well as some bins from Target. My classroom organizer is the best because the bins are colored, so I came up with mnemonics - the red bin is for toys that roll, the blue one is for toys that bang (a.k.a. noisy toys), and yellow is for mellow toys (that can be used when we need QUIET). This was great for teaching to guests trying to help, and may someday be internalized by The Toddler. :-)

Anna said...

I love Jessica's idea. All our toy storage is at toddler height. We have clear lidded boxes under the sofa for train track and happy land- as they're clear J can see which is which- we only ever have one of these boxes out. We have story books and puzzles on open shelves then 4 unlidded storage boxes in a unit
box 1 lego
Box 2 home things, play food, sweeping brush etc
Box 3 vehicles
box 4 noisy toys
We allow multiple boxes out at once provided they are tidied away at the end of the day
we also have a high shelve of messy toys- crayons, paints dough etc these need an adult to reach and supervise
my problem is the bigger, funny shaped toys- dolls buggy, ball run, brick truck etc they have to live in the lounge as we have no play room and they are so unsightly