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A Toy Story: Organizing for Kids

A Toy Story: Organizing for Kids

Okay, it’s confession time.  Our toddler has completely taken over our living space, and we no longer live like civilized adults.  If you come to visit, you might think, “oh my, what a nice living room…” and THEN you turn the corner and stumble over a parking lot full of every scooter and push cart you can imagine.  It’s pretty embarrassing!


It gets worse.  Rather than have everything stored in nice little neat shelves that I seem to see all over Pinterest, I have these containers haphazardly spread around the apartment, full of random toys.

It’s a barely controlled chaos.  To be honest, I really haven’t pulled the trigger on any toy organizing solution because we are moving soon to a larger space with a playroom (YES!!!!), so I just grin and bear the mess in the meantime.


BUT!  I’ve already begun thinking through great design and storage solutions for our future space, and thought I’d share with you some great ideas I’ve found along the way.

My first inspiration for toy organization came from my friend Rachel who sorts toys into containers and labels them.  Isn’t that amazing?  I used to think that maybe she had a Type A personality gone bananas, but now I totally get it.  It makes life so much easier when everything has a home!  Here’s her kids’ corner in their family room:


See how everything is labeled?  Brilliant.

I love that they have extra kids’ underwear in the family room, by the way.


Rachel’s space was really the first I’d seen like this – so organized!  Such a calm space!   And she really inspired me to do some research.

Seems to me, the best way to corral toys and keep them in some semblance of order is to find good shelving options.  You may already know about my incredible love for IKEA’s Expedit bookshelf.  I’m almost certainly going to buy two Expedits for the playroom and lay them horizontally:

Via Houzz

And THEN I’ll need some kind of container to corral all the junk toys.  I might make it easy on myself and just buy IKEA’s branas baskets, which fit perfectly in each 13×13 shelf:



And then put a cute, creative label on the front.  Something like this, maybe?


Other shelving options that I see quite a bit in friends’ homes include PB Kids’ storage bins and the ever-popular “Storagepalooza” by Land of Nod:


PB kids storage
Via PB Kids

2BinMB-3_FAM_0710The Storagepalooza, Via Land of Nod


Both seem like good options for just getting stuff up and off the floor.

I also love these shelf-bins from blogger Stay-at-Homeista – love that they are tilted.  Brilliant for little people searching around for stuff:

stay at homeistaVia Stay at Homeista

When it comes to labeling, there are so many cool ideas out there.  Love this idea below – pictures of toys for kids who can’t read yet. (By the way, those white shelves are – you guessed it – a repurposed IKEA Expedit):

BasketFrameLabels12Via I heart Organizing

Chalkboard paint is a great idea for temporary labeling – what goes in the drawer may very quickly change!

toy-organizationVia Babble

And for more decor-friendly, aesthetically pleasing storage ideas, here are some of my favorites:


Love this idea!  Perfect for those random smallish toys that I basically don’t know what to do with.  You can get these jars at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $10 each.

How clever is this, with the window in front?  And aesthetically speaking, the turquoise chevron stripe and red grosgrain ribbon are just so cute:

peekaboo toy bagVia Su Mos Sweet Stuff


I believe these are the Serena & Lily rolling carts.  They cost a pretty penny, but I do know they go on sale from time to time:

17_erht_rect640Via Apartment Therapy

Speaking of rolling carts, this could be a potentially budget-friendly option if you score at a garage sale:

wagonVia Organizing Home Life


Phew!   Toy storage options really are endless!   I think my biggest takeaway from all of this is that good shelving and good containers are key!  It’s really the best way to get stuff hidden away and somewhat organized.  Labeling things and making it all look cute?  Well, it’s undeniably awesome and but also ambitious – I can see how many moms just wouldn’t have the bandwidth to deal.

I’ll be sure to keep you all posted on our new playroom ideas… we’ll see how much organization and “cute-ness” I can achieve!

1 Comment
  • Yael

    August 27, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    LOVE this — we just had construction done to our apartment JUST TO HELP WITH THE TOY STORAGE AREA! Basically, we created a new shelving unit to put all the bins for the cars/trucks/trains…..so there is less of a mess on the rug….that said, all Cruzzie wants to do is TAKE OUT THE BINS and empty them on the floor…hmmmm….I love the idea of the clear glass bottles for art supplies though! Thanks for sharing!