The Toy Organization Bible
“A child who has to plow through piles of toys to get to the other side of his room, stepping on them as he goes, might as well be wading through a pile of rusted tin cans for all the good they are doing him,” says Jane-Anne Hobbs, author of Babies and Toddlers—How to Survive Them. That makes perfect sense, but leaves you feeling somewhat despondent when you peep into the playroom and wonder what force of nature managed to wreak havoc there without your being aware of it. The combination of kids and toys has a tendency to create clutter with a minimal amount of effort. It’s the subsequent undoing of the clutter that demands effort!
Before arming yourself and tackling the playroom with a vengeance, consider what Julie Morgenstern, author of Organizing from the Inside Out says: “Most people approach the organizing process backwards, in an ‘attack-first, ask-questions-later’ style. A better approach is to ask questions first, to formulate a plan, and then to attack.”
The easiest way to begin organizing the playroom is by sorting the toys into different categories. Try to keep them simple, for example, cars, books, blocks, etc. Once you’ve done this, you can get a fair idea of what storage units you have available and what you still need. Vertical storage is generally the most efficient and accessible way to store toys, and takes up less space than other methods.
Small toys or toys with tiny bits are best stored in square, lidded containers that can be stacked. Label the containers with a thick marker pen or use pictures if your children can’t read. Medium-sized toys are probably the simplest to store. Baskets and vegetable or bathroom racks are effective—those with casters are particularly useful. Larger toys can be placed on shelves or in large baskets. As tempting as the use of a large toy box is, experts generally advise against them for the simple reason that although they may hold a lot, the toys generally end up in a jumble, with the ones at the bottom seldom seeing the light.
If your child has a vast collection of soft toys, store them in a net “hammock” on one of the walls, or, if you can handle the mayhem, try sticking a few strips of Velcro in a simple pattern on the wall and let the children fling their furry toys and puppets to hang there.
Another problem area is often puzzles. The pieces have a nasty habit of escaping from their boxes and joining the ranks of neighboring pieces. One way to regain order is to mark the back of each puzzle piece with a code to tell you which picture each piece belongs to.
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN