How is your Toy Room holding up? You’ve been at the decluttering, organizing, and preventing stages for 1-4 weeks now. Do you feel better? No longer as anxious when you glance into the room? I hope so! As with any plan or life change, it takes a wee little bit (tossed in a bit of Irish vernacular since it’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend!) of time before your actions and behavior become the norm. Give it time and keep trying. It’ll become second nature soon!
Today, I’m sharing some neat tips and tricks I’ve discovered on how you can store toys and keepsakes. Enjoy!
Create a memory box today so it’s ready for the next 1-18 years! I worked with a client whose mother had letter file bins with file folders that were labeled with my client’s age and grade (0-18; K-12). Inside each folder were the important keepsakes from that year: drawings, report cards, ribbons/medals, cards, etc. When my client graduated from college, her mother gave her the two containers. (What this means in the scheme of organizing is that the papers/keepsakes not kept in this bin should be discarded or used in a different way). Read a detailed “how to” at I Heart Planners.
If a toy holds emotional attachment to you or your child (but is at the end of its life), suggest taking a photo of your child playing with it and putting it in a frame. Then when it’s time for the toy to go to toy heaven, the child has a visual memory. You can also create and display the toy in a unique way. View other ways to keepsake a beloved stuffed animal here.
I love this idea by Artful Parent of hanging thrift store frames in each child’s room. When s/he brings home a piece of art, it’s given honor inside a frame. After you take down a piece to replace with another, take a photo of the original. Then either make a photo book with ages or grades listed besides each piece or keep it in a portfolio, box, or a photo frame that holds up to 100 pieces of artwork. So many options!
One of my favorite organizing tricks is regarding puzzles and games. Let’s face facts: repetitive use destroys cardboard boxes, then pieces fall out of the side because it is no longer attached (and tape only preserves for so long), and before long the puzzle is complete, but missing 1 or 2 (or 10) pieces. So, we have a few options, depending on your space. Either (1) buy a zipper pencil pouch with a clear front or (2) buy a small plastic container with a lid. Cut out the front of the puzzle box or game and tape to the clear front or the plastic lid, so the picture of the puzzle is facing outward. Place all the pieces, instructions, etc. inside the container, then place the containers inside a bin.
Clear storage bins are sometimes the best option (so you know what’s inside), but I personally like solid colors so it’s more aesthetically pleasing (and I can hide my stuff!) (). Either way, buy book shelves, boxes, or bins, and then assign each bin a category (stuffed animals, trucks, dolls, puzzles, etc.). Amazon bins
Toy hammocks are the best because you can see everything inside and they utilize the normally unused high corner space! You can use one or stack multiple. Place your child’s favorites in the one at child eye level, then the ones they have out grown but aren’t ready to part with on the next level, and so forth.
OR if you have more space and are feeling creative (and also have the skills to create), build a zoo! This is a fun visual for the kids and an easy way to store all the stuffed animals. The best part? The kids are more inclined to return their animals to the zoo or if they need want one, they’ll most likely pick from the ones they can see. Check out the tutorial here.
How cool is this? Buy a hanging shoe organizer and place on the closet or bedroom door. Then gather the barbies, G.I. Joes, stuffed animals, etc. and place inside. This organizer works great for shoes (of course), but also scarves/bras/belts, bathroom toiletries, laundry or cleaning supplies, extra desk supplies, crafts, snacks or spices. Essentially, picture one of these hanging in any room in your home, and then spend the next week placing items inside. It’s an amazing addition that saves space while allowing everyone to see what’s inside.
Toy chests are a simple tool to store toys. You can find wooden toy chests, pirate themed, cloth ones. Sometimes there are separators inside, sometimes it’s one big area. You can buy large ones or small ones. So many options that will depend on what you plan to place inside your storage toy bin.
Check out this exciting idea! Children are constantly copying the adults in their lives so why not build them their own wall of “tools”! Inspiration Made Simple designed this for her son who “lost” Nerf guns all over the house. What do you think? Worth the wall space?
How awesome is this idea? George and Willy on Etsy will create and send you this gem. Great for kids and adults alike! A never-ending supply of paper.
One last cute idea that I just read. Offspring Lifehacker wrote about a dad who often takes business trips. Before he leaves, his daughter will give him one of her smaller stuffed animals. While he’s away, he periodically takes photos of the stuffed animal doing what he’s doing and sends to his daughter. What a great way to keep in touch! Read the full story here.