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Monday, September 22, 2014

Mommy Monday: toy storage

Today's edition of Mommy Monday is all about toys! No matter how much I try to whittle them down, my girls always seem to have an over-abundance of toys. And the truth is, they are all so great, I have a hard time getting rid of them. So the result is a lot of stuff that needs to be easily taken out and put away by 2 year olds (you know I'm not doing that for them!) and hopefully not be too much of an eye-sore.

Here's one of my current solutions:

(See what I mean about the over-abundance problem? Groan...)

Pretty much every store has these cube shelves these days. I got mine on Craigslist (originally from IKEA). I also got those different bins on Craigslist- aesthetically it would probably be better to use just one kind of bin, but to be honest I kindof like the eclectic/colorful look, and I am able to use the different bins for different purposes (and also I don't want to spend more money). Here's a look at what's inside those bins:

In the two big wicker bins I have dress-up clothes and accessories in one and stuffed animals in the other. We have quite a collection in both of those categories, so it's nice to be able to use the full space of the cube to hold everything in one place. The down-side (and the reason I wouldn't want to use them for all the toys) is that you can't see what's inside very easily.

The two bigger colored bins on the bottom shelf hold music toys/instruments and kitchen/food toys. Again, we have a lot of each of those, so it's nice to have a bigger bin, but they are easier to see into and easier for the girls to pull in and out.

I think you can see the contents of the two smaller bins on the top shelf in the first picture so I didn't take another- the pink one has our toy cars and the purple one has different stacking and sorting toys (that they have mostly grown out of and I should get rid of but I can't because every now and then they pull them out and get a lot of fun and skill practice out of them). The other two cubes on the top shelf have some of the most-loved stuffed animals and creative play supplies.

I have two more bins on top of the shelf unit- one has all the pieces for our toy zoo and the other has assorted lego-type building blocks. I put them up there originally because the girls couldn't reach that high and I didn't want those toys with lots of little pieces to get pulled out without my supervision. But now that they are bigger and can reach them, I have kept them there because it keeps them a little bit "out of sight, out of mind", and honestly, I still don't want all those pieces pulled out all the time!

The shelves are nice for storing bigger items, and bigger groups of toys, but I also have another storage space for toys on the other side of my living room:

These are the "bits and bobs"- the smaller toys that I want the girls to be able to get in and out separately. The bins, along with the two toys that live on the floor, are behind the glider:

Putting it back there still keeps it within view and gives the girls easy access, but also keeps the room from looking too much like a daycare. I may be outnumbered by toddlers, but I do still have my standards, after all!

These bins have been great for keeping up with all the smaller toys, and the girls have had no difficulty putting them back and taking them out on their own.

The bins are still organized in categories: all the puzzles together, all the balls, all the cups, and all the dolls have their own bin to share.

Sidenote: I have thought about putting labels on all the bins, as I have seen some others do, but I like having the flexibility to change things up if we get a new toy or get rid of an old one, or if I want to draw the girls' attention to something that I think is under-used. And since the girls don't seem to have a problem knowing where to put things, I haven't seen the need. I think having the toys always visible makes it easier to keep up with the system without having to go around labeling everything.

So there you have it- my two main toy storage solutions! I have a few other toy-related ideas to share, but I will save those for another post ;) How do you (attempt to) corral all the toys in your house?

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