I have felt like I was drowning in toys recently, so I decided to make some big changes in my kids’ rooms, with a special emphasis on organizing toys in my boys’ room, which is shared by two toddlers (one is 17 months and the other is 2, almost 3). 2014 is my year for greater discipline, and part of that means getting organized!
To tackle a project like this, you’ll want to take a look at the challenges and then create a plan. Here’s how that worked for me.
1. Layout: We live in an older 1940s era home which means lots of quirks, like having 3 doors into one room. In addition to the primary door into this bedroom, there are two other pocket doors, one off the dining room and one off the master bedroom. We’ve blocked off one door with furniture and we don’t use it. The other two entries are still in use. Additionally, we have one entire wall of bi-fold doors for the closets. It’s nice to have storage space but it means less space for large pieces of furniture.
2. Multiple Kids: My kids are 5, 2, & 1, and we hope to have more babies one day. This makes it hard to get rid of classic toys like shape sorters, building blocks, and toy kitchens. We still managed to purge quite a few toys before Christmas, before organizing, and during the organizing process. Other items, like the toy kitchen that hasn’t been used lately, were moved up to the attic.
3. Lifestyle: We homeschool, which means that my children are home with me during the day. If my children are going to get a chance to play with blocks, legos, and baby dolls, it will be at our home, not somewhere else. I feel like we need more good quality toys at home than maybe other families would need, since our children spend all of their waking hours at home and not in preschool or Mother’s Day Out.
4. Mommy’s preferences: I have a high need for order and peace, even though it’s hard to tell that by looking at my house on most days. I’m a macro organizer, so I like everything picked up and put away, preferably out of sight. I considered toy organizers like this one but ended up ruling against it. It didn’t have enough storage and all the toys would be “exposed” and visible all the time, which kind of drives me batty.
5. Child training: I want my children to be able to clean up after themselves, so I wanted to create a system that would make it easier. Lots of labels and even pictorial labels would make cleaning fun for my children.
6. Budget: Part of me feels like I have no business sharing how we’ve gotten organized here because my home is not Pottery Barn Perfection. But maybe we need a little more real life in the blogging world. The organization tools you will see here are relatively affordable for the average family. This is real life organizing on a real life budget.
After debating between something like this for $55 and a bigger product from Ikea for $29 (plus the cost of buckets), I decided to go with the Trofast system from Ikea. Again, I don’t like looking at all the toys (too much chaos for my eyes!). The Trofast system would give me greater storage capacity, durability, flexibility, greater functionality, and all at a cost that is very similar to what I would pay at my local Walmart. I could also add onto it one day or use it for homeschooling if we ever have a large playroom/school room. The Trofast system is endlessly flexible and could transition into a workbox system if we wanted it to. I don’t intend to sound like an infomercial for Ikea, but I fell in love with this system because it meets our needs so well.
I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
My husband said “Wait a minute kids, mommy wants to take pictures so she can show the world our mess.”
Want the nitty gritty details on how we made this happen? I’ll share them next Wednesday, complete with lots of pictures. You’ll see how I use the spaces under the beds and in the closets to keep the toy monster at bay.
What are your biggest challenges to organizing toys at your house?