Sometimes it looks like a tornado has gone through my house. Seriously. It makes me wonder why I invest in a security system when a burglar would be stopped by the cars and Legos strewn about the floor (and my kids haven’t even seen Kevin’s antics in “Home Alone!”). But thankfully I implemented a plan a few years ago that my boys and I stick to (except for when Daddy is in charge) and it has saved my sanity in ways I never thought possible. Are you drowning in kid clutter? Then check out these storage solutions for busy families like mine. They are shockingly manageable and will provide you some much needed zen.
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#1 Adopt a rule that works for you. “Only one bin out at a time” and “One toy out for every toy in” are ones that typically work for us.
#2 Before you get started on organizing, take a look at EVERYTHING you have. This works best when the kids aren’t home, there is a chilled bottle of wine in the house, and you are armed with disinfectant spray (kill two birds with one stone and clean while you sort!).
#3 Toss anything that is broken and collect all of the junk that you’ve gotten from goodie bags, fast food restaurants, etc. and put them in a plastic bag. Hide the plastic bag from the kiddos (a shelf in the closet is the perfect spot). If you don’t reach for or open the bag in a month, donate it.
#4 Involve kids in the cleaning/purging process. Ask them which toys “are for babies” and then collect the “baby toys” to give them to a baby in your life or to a local charity.
#5 Create toy/play “zones” in your house. For example, group together the art and craft supplies wherever your family creates art. Keep building toys together, such as Legos, Magnatiles, Lincoln logs, Zoobs, etc. Books should be near a cozy reading nook, too!
#6 Now that you have stations set up and all of the junky toys are gone, you can start looking at storage containers. Since our toy and game collection is always growing, we try to keep our storage container color scheme similar (shades of blue, green and gray reign supreme in our boy filled house). That way everything doesn’t have to perfectly match and I don’t get disappointed when a certain style or color of storage basket is discontinued.
#7 Invest in storage furniture that blends in with the rest of your home’s décor. That’s right…I used the word investment. Because that’s what it should be, no matter how messy your kids are. If you buy crappy containers that fall apart, the same thing will happen to your storage plan. Afraid of stains? Stock up on magic erasers, wine, and lighten up…homes filled with fingerprints are always the happiest ones.
#8 Look for bins that fit the size of the toys you are trying to contain. Sounds easy, right? Then why do so many people dump tiny little toys into gallon size containers?!?! Car tracks should go into a huge container. Legos should not. Why? Because kids will end up dumping hundreds of little blocks onto the floor for you to step on just to find one tiny little Lego. Seriously.
#9 Use classic and pretty toys as décor. Take a look at catalogs and you will find framed kids’ artwork everywhere! Not only does it add a pop of color to your walls, it will make your kids beam with pride. Putting a globe on a bookshelf not only adds a splash of color to a stuffy room but it also serves as a fun statement piece. Loosen up and put out a stylish board game or even Mr. Potato Head to declare your home a fun one.
#10 Get storage pieces that work for your family. Different strokes for different folks. But if you need some inspiration, here are some of my favorites from The Land of Nod.