Toy Organization

by Amanda Reasnor at www.sandplums.com

I really enjoy the blog I Heart Organizing. Jen does such a great job of using her creativity to make spaces functional and beautiful on a budget. I was inspired by her fantastic playroom. Wow!

She used some great storage bins and cabinets from Ikea and inserted decorative paper in the bins for a cohesive look. Oh, if only we had an Ikea in Montana!

We had a toy organization bin that I had purchased from a garage sale but my son just piled the toys in each bin until they were full. We had no organization. I noticed all the labels at my son’s preschool and how he was so proud to show tell me what things were and where things belonged. It was time for an organization plan.

The first step was to take inventory of the toys. I sorted them by type: Legos, blocks, Toy Story, puzzles, etc. This step helped me realize what labels I needed as well as the type of storage container I needed.

I followed Jen’s instructions and made some labels for my son’s toys. The instructions are here but I have also included the labels I made for my son as a free printable! I printed the labels on card stock paper, cut them out, and laminated them with Scotch Self-Sealing Laminating Pouches from Target. Zip ties are the equivalent of duct tape at our house so I used zip ties to attach the labels to the boxes with handles and I used Velcro where I could not use zip ties.

Our toy storage is not as pretty as Jen’s at I Heart Organizing but it is what works for us and that is the key to effective organization.

The toy bin was purchased at a garage sale but similar ones can be found at Target and Costco. The rolling 3 drawer cart was purchased at Wal-Mart and the fabulous fabric bins are from my friend,Lisa, at 31 Gifts. I used 2 short utility bins and 2 square utility totes for dinosaurs, blocks, legos, and marble track pieces. 31 Gifts offers beautiful embroidery as an alternative to labels. We have additional totes such as the large utility tote for musical instruments, costumes, and trucks and the organizing utility tote for toys and books that stay in the car. I have taken advantage of 31 Gifts’ monthly specials to acquire my stash and save money.

My son’s craft supplies were coming out our ears and needed some organization. I wanted them up and out of the way so we stored them in the top shelf of his closet. I had previously purchased these baskets from Land of Nod and they worked perfectly with the craft supplies and labels.

It sounds a bit dramatic, but toy organization has changed our life. My son is so proud of himself when all of his toys are put away. He loves that everything has a place and that he can find a toy when he wants one. Organizing the toys was like giving him all new toys because they were easier to play with and much more accessible. Of course we have struggles when it’s time to clean up, but they are much less frequent and short-lived since clean-up is now so easy.