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Monday, October 3, 2016

Open Shelf Toy Storage to Foster Independent Play

My biggest home improvement project since moving into our new home almost a year ago has been the finished basement. I've gradually been transforming it from a dark TV room into a bright, happy kid's playroom. One of the biggest changes to the space, besides painting the dark wood paneling white, was putting in some new white shelves to hold a lot of the girls' toys. The new storage has been working out really well and has allowed the girls to play more independently, so today I wanted to share what I did!

I had this open space in my wall after taking out a giant china cabinet (that I moved to another room), and these Billy bookcases from IKEA fit perfectly! I already had the colored fabric bins (craigslist finds from years ago), but I also wanted to get some clear bins, especially for the higher shelves, so that the girls could see what was in the bins without taking them off the shelves. It may not look as clean and sleek, but I decided long ago that when it comes to toy storage, ease of access for the people using them is more important than how magazine-ready it looks!

I found these clear bins at IKEA to use on the shelves. Put sideways, they fit perfectly on the shelf. Turned longways, they stick out from the shelf a little bit, but they still stay just find and allow more room to put other bins and toys next to them. Also, they're a lot cheaper than most anything else I saw that was tall enough to maximize the shelf space!

I put all of the toys that the girls use the most (and that I'm comfortable with them using without supervision) on the bottom shelves, and gradually worked my way up to the items that I don't mind them playing with, but definitely require supervision. For now, that mostly includes things like big paint bottles, beads, and board games with lots of pieces that I don't want to lose :)

Although it's probably not ready for any home decorating magazine features, I do like that the girls can see everything clearly and access all of the toys that I want them to reach on their own, and I don't really mind the "eclectic" look of the fabric bins, clear bins, and loose toys mixed together on the shelves. Now that they know where everything is, the girls will quite often run down the stairs and start playing on their own without me even being in the same room (which is no small miracle for me!). Mission accomplished! ;)

You don't need big bookcases to utilize the concept of open shelf storage for toys at home. If you're interested, here is my previous post on how I organized the toys in our old apartment with the same principles:

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  1. Great idea! Sharing on Pinterest and StumbleUpon!


    1. Thanks Maria! I love the way these are working out! :)