As I shared with you last week, I recently re-organized my preschool-aged girls' clothes closet to make it easier for them to dress themselves and put laundry away. I also finally put away all of their diaper supplies (now that they've been fully trained for many months!). In that process, I managed to clear out an entire closet (a small one in their bedroom), and I knew I wanted to move some of their toys into that space. Today I'll be sharing my new setup for all of their toys- I'm pretty excited about how much easier it will be for the girls to use their own toys!
So before I re-organized the toys, diaper supplies, and clothes, the closet in the girls' room looked like this:
And the main toy storage area in the living room looked like this (see my previous post explaining this and other toy storage ideas here):
I love using bins to store toys- easy cleanup, attractive, and easy to find what you need- but a few of the bins were getting overcrowded and, therefore, underused. I also had started to accumulate more and more toys on top of the shelves (even more than you see in the pictures above), which was unsightly and difficult for the girls to reach.
The two worst bins were the stuffed animals and the costumes. Especially the costumes. The girls have grown more and more interested in pretend play, and when they do manage to find what they want, they LOVE wearing all of the fun costumes we have. The problem was that the bin where I kept the costumes was chock-full!
(Yes, there are costumes under there... this is what I'm telling you. It was a problem.)
Although I was hoping to keep the costumes in a place where the girls could reach them on their own, I decided it was better and more accessible if I hung up all of the costumes in their closet, and put the accessories (hats, tools, jewelry etc) that go with the costumes in another bin in the same closet.
The girls won't be able to reach the hanging costumes on their own, but they will be able to see them all more easily and, I think, be more likely to use them- especially since they can pull out the accessories on their own easily. And if they dump a costume or two in the bin from time to time I won't complain :)
The other problem area was the stuffed animals. The girls don't honestly use them very often- they are more interested in the smaller figurines and baby dolls- but they do occasionally pull them out, and I myself really love them (shh, don't tell!) because many of them are my old toys. I got this hanging storage from IKEA and hung it from the hanging rod next to the costumes:
To be honest, if the girls played with the stuffed animals a lot, I probably would not use this system. It's not as easy to take things in and out of the bins as I thought, and because it's so long, you have to hang it pretty high to be able to use all of the bins (I actually have one that is not being used because it is squished against the floor as it is), making it impossible for children to access all of them. Still, for something that doesn't get used a ton, it works well. Again, I think it is easier for the girls to see the toys, and therefore encourage and inspire them to use them more often!
Here's what the closet looks like now, with the costumes and stuffed animals stored inside:
With the two biggest bins completely empty in the living room toy storage shelves, I got to do some re-organizing there as well!
The biggest thing I was able to do was to move 2 bins off of the top of the unit and into the shelves. I moved some toys from other bins into the large wicker ones that I had just emptied:
Then I had space to move some of the other toys that were haphazardly sitting on other shelves or in other smaller bins into the ones that those came from, including putting several tinkering/crafting toys that I had spread out around the room into one canvas bin:
SO much better, you guys!!! The tea set in the purple bin was one of their favorite toys, but it had sadly been practically forgotten in a mismatched bin full of odds and ends (like playdough and alphabet blocks). I bet it will get a lot of use now that it is paired with another favorite that is a more logical combination- the birthday cake!
I hope you got some new ideas for organizing preschoolers' toys, or at least some inspiration to tackle your current system and give it a fresh start! The whole process didn't take very long once I figured out where I wanted things to go, but everything seems much less cluttered now than it was before!