I'm not going to lie - this is probably one of my less interesting posts! But gosh darn it, I worked so hard on getting these toys organized that I'm writing a post about it!
Our playroom has been OUT OF CONTROL. Maybe because we've been stuck inside for a month straight and have major cabin fever? Maybe its because we just added a dozen new toys between Christmas and Leo's birthday? Regardless of the reason), the toys and the mess have been overwhelming me. A lot. I tried implementing a "rule" that we clean up the playroom before naps and bedtime. It makes the space clean, but it still is a problem because it takes up too much time. Time I'd much rather spend doing something else!
Seeing that the above clearly wasn't the solution to my problem, I knew I had to implement some better organizational methods with the toys in order to get our playroom under control and make it easier to maintain.
Before we get into that, let me SHOW you the problem. Here is our playroom on an average afternoon before nap time. Yes, this room was clean in the morning.
The boys usually start their day by dumping out those two big baskets, which basically - until now - have held ALL of their small toys. You'd think it would make things easier just having two large toy boxes, but what I've found as they've gotten older and the toys have gotten smaller or have more parts, is that they dump out EVERYTHING just to find the one thing they are looking for. So the mess is literally 50x bigger than it has to be, just because of the way we've been storing things. (Plus those baskets have seen better days.. yikes!)
This room seriously gets this messy in 5-minutes flat. Leo is like a little tornado! They're lucky their so cute ;)
Anyway, now that you've seen the embarrassingly messy corner of my house, let's move on to the solution. It was a little overwhelming to begin with because honestly I didn't know where to start. I didn't even have a handle on what we had or what kind of storage we needed. That being said, I just dove in and started organizing the toys into categorical piles so I could see what I had... balls, dinosaurs, blocks, tools, trains, etc. I didn't have storage bins yet, so once everything was sorted I put them into plastic grocery bags so I could keep my piles together and get an idea of how many bins I would need and how big they should be. This helped me quantify things a TON!
Additionally, as we organized toys we decided to donate A LOT of them that the kids just never really played with. We filled a huge box for "kids who don't have any toys." It was awesome seeing Miles understand that he was making a sacrifice to help other people and he was HAPPY to give things away to other kids. (In fact, I had to hold him back a little!) Warms my heart!
We also took two bigger bins of toys to the basement that we can rotate out to keep things "fresh" and also to help reduce the clutter upstairs.
Once this process was complete I went online to Amazon and ordered two six-packs of Sterilite 18-quart clear storage bins. Just the right size for each of my piles! Thank God for Amazon Prime and the fact these arrived 48-hours later because I couldn't wait to get the toys into the bins.
Aren't they beautiful?
I then got these chalkboard labels from the Container Store so I could label each bin.
And there we go.. a place for everything and everything in it's place!
These will be stacked and stored inside of the white built-ins in the playroom. (Right now they have big bins storing our family documents, which I need to move to our office/guest room on the 3rd floor. Lots of shuffling going on!)
Honestly they've already been a big success. I feel like the kids are looking at their toys with fresh eyes and are way more focused/engaged when they are playing. And of course, it's a lot easier to clean up just one small bin containing 10-toys than two huge baskets with 200-toys! We're ALL thankful for that!
Anyway, like I said, I know it isn't the most interesting post in the world but for us it was truly a game changer and a time saver!
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I have a few more things in this room that we are overhauling in the near future, so stay tuned for more!