A few months ago our house was overwhelmed with toys until Toy Overhaul Part I saved the day! With a little help from the used Expedit bookcase from Ikea we found a toy storage solution.
The organized cubbies made such a huge difference in keeping the toys organized in the girls’ room, instead of all over the house. Each toy has a designated home, which means the girls have been more involved in selecting their toys (since they know where to find them) and in helping to clean up at the end of play time. After seeing what an impact this first Toy Overhaul had, I was itching to see the same results in the girls’ closet.
I mentioned that I like to switch out the girls’ toys every couple of months or so. This keeps the toy selection fresh and the girls from getting bored. I store the remainder of the toys in the closet up out of the way. The girls’ room has a very roomy walk-in closet with lots of room for storage. But all that space meant I would just toss toys up on the shelf without too much concern about where things went.
Toys are stashed in random containers. Sets are frequently scattered among containers meaning it’s a hunt whenever I want to pull that toy out. Plus, after the arrival of more toys from Christmastime, I was running out of room. I knew it could be better than this!
For a long time, I have not wanted to spend money on containers. I like to just utilize what I have. The white tubs that were currently housing toys were from another project. But since it was clear these containers were not meeting all of our needs I knew I needed to find another solution. I was also totally inspired by our first toy overhaul as well as toy storage solutions I’ve found all over the blog world. I was finally ready to take the plunge to invest in containers that would work for years to come.
I am four years into this parenting adventure, and I can officially attest to how fast things change. One minute the little ones can’t even sit up and the next minute they are playing dress up. So when I was considering container options, I was interested in something that would grow with them. I don’t want to be out buying something new every couple of years.
3 different sized lidded containers, each labeled. January is a great time to buy storage containers because they are all on sale! After a visit Target, I was stocked with 2 large, 8 medium and 4 small shoebox size containers.
I do tend to gravitate towards open containers because of easier viewing and clean up. But a lidded container provided the stack-ability and definitive space boundaries I was looking for. These containers are for storage of toys I’ll be switching out with other toys on the bookshelf. The girls can always ask for a toy in the closet, but they are usually content with all of the options currently at their fingertips.
With the purchase of new and better functioning containers, it was time to let the toy sorting begin!
I laid out the new containers and sorted each toy by type. Before I went shopping I had planned my catorgories on paper so this went pretty fast.
This was a perfect time to purge some toys! I was able to make a sizable donation pile of outgrown toys.
With everything in place I was ready to label the boxes with it’s specific contents. Since the contents change every month or so, I needed a label that could be switched around just as easily. Enter Velcro to save the day!
I decided I would laminate my labels and attach Velcro which would make them easily interchangeable when doing a switcheroo of the toys on the bookshelf.
This is not that first time that Velcro has come to the rescue on it’s white horse. When I organized my parents’ garage, I used Velcro for my dad’s oil filter labels.
He had all these empty oil filter boxes lying around because he would take them to the store with him to be certain to get the right filter. After I affixed them with Velcro to the inside of his cabinet door, he can now grab one to take to the store and easily return it when he is done. (In case you are wondering, my dad doesn’t have 5 cars. He is just the master oil changer for all who know him…aka his loving children.)
With the Velcro labels tested and approved, I knew it was the right choice for the toy storage. During the first part of the toy overhaul I had made labels that I just taped onto the white bins.
This time, I typed up a few more and trotted off to our local copy store to get them laminated. It cost me a whopping $8 to laminate them. Ordinarily this is a high price for labels, but I was so set on the Velcro idea not even $8 of my hard earned money could talk me out of it.
For this overhaul as much as I love to be thrifty, I was willing to spend a few extra bucks for the laminated labels for child development purposes also. The girls can handle the labels without them getting damaged. I designed them with pictures since picture labels encourage reading for young children.
I purposefully chose a simple font and used all lower case letters. These seemingly small details are important early reading and writing concepts. For example recognizing letters and understanding that letters can be combined to make words that represent a picture are all concepts that can be taught with simple toy labels.
Also early learners focus on lower case letters when practicing writing since you use them the most. Capitals come later so students’ writing doesn’t have capitals littered throughout their words/early sentences.
Haha, that’s my teacher training still hidden inside. Back to labels! I love the pre-cut Velcro because you just adhere it to the back, no cutting required.
Once I placed the completed labels on the containers, it was organizing heaven.
After stacking all the filled containers in the closet I was surprised at much space I had left over.
I did donate some toys but look at all this room I now have.
What I love:
The containers will grow with the girls as their tastes and interests change. My beloved Velcro can be removed for labels sans pictures.
And of course I can’t end this post without showing you the updated bookcase with Velcro labels affixed in place on those containers too!
I also splurged on baskets at Ikea to help tie everything together and justified it as a way to provide more space for larger toys such as the play zoo the girls received for Christmas that didn’t fit in the white bins.
The far right basket without a label has become the new home for shoes.
I was so toy focused that I forgot to make a shoes label! Oh well, I am too ecstatic with the final results to even care. The girls remember where their shoes go.
Here it is in all it’s glory.
Organizing by the Numbers
14 clear containers ~ $57
4 Ikea baskets ~ $57
Velcro squares~ already owned
I am so happy with the toy solutions! Shout out to all the bloggers out there who have shared their own toy clutter solutions. It inspired me to take mine to the next level and conquer the closet.
What have you been inspired by lately? How you found any other fabulous uses for Velcro squares (beside the benefit of not having to tie your 4 year old’s shoe)? Please share all the details!