Inexpensive Ideas for Organizing Toys
If you've got kids, you've got toys. Most likely, you've got too many toys. Every parent eventually reaches a breaking point when they find themselves surrounded by, stepping on, and just plain overwhelmed by toys. When that point comes, it's time to get organized.
There are all kinds of organization systems available on the market, from plastic bins to wooden tables with drawers that double as toy boxes. These can get a bit pricey, though, and aren't customizable at all. For example, any kind of large toy box would be totally useless to me. My daughters love "Polly Pocket" and all of the teeny-tiny accessories that come along with her. These bits and pieces would just get lost in a deep toy box. Small storage options are the best for us. If your children are crazy about stuffed animals, a big toy box would be perfect for you. Those, too, can get expensive. I have a few options for you there, as well.
Ideas for Storing Small Toys
There are so many cutesy bins and baskets on the market to store everything from toys to clothes in, and if your budget isn't a major concern, these are a great option. If budget is an issue, here are some ideas for storing small toys, puzzle pieces, blocks, action figures, Matchbox cars, or any other little toy that you end up stepping on fourteen times a day:
Plastic shoe boxes with lids: You can purchase these at most dollar stores, and large discount chains like Target often put them on sale inexpensively in spring and fall. You can dedicate each container to a type of toy (for example, my girls have a shoe box for Polly Pocket, another shoe box for blocks, another one for toy cars, etc.). This is great because the children can just grab a bin and go. For a little added reading lesson, put labels on the sides of the bins identifying what's inside.
Large plastic pretzel/snack jars: You see these most often in warehouse clubs. They have either snap on or screw on lids, are clear plastic, and can hold lots and lots of stuff! Once you've finished eating the goodies inside, simply wash out the container (save the lid!), remove the label, and fill it up with more of those small toys that drive you nuts. Again, you can attach a label to the container to identify the contents. These are also great for Barbie clothes.
Smaller plastic jars: These are the plastic jars that things like mayonaise, jelly, and peanut butter come in. Wash them out, remove the labels, and you've got perfect storage for crayons, markers, play jewelry, Legos, doll accessories, stickers....all of those things that just never seem to quite find a place.
Plastic coffee cans: One popular brand of coffee comes in handy plastic cans with lids. They're not the prettiest color, but if it bothers you, you can always pick up a can of that spray paint for plastic and paint it to match the décor of your child's room. These are the perfect size for all kinds of little toys. In our house, we use them to hold art supplies.
Ideas for Storing Large Toys
Stuffed animals, large dolls, toy trucks and the like present their own unique storage challenge. They just take up so much room! If you try storing them on shelves, shelf space is eaten up in no time (and they never stay looking neat!) A toy box is a good option here, but if you're looking for budget items that can take a beating, consider some of these ideas:
Large plastic storage containers: These are fairly inexpensive, and come in many different sizes and colors. They have lids, so you can even stack them if you want. Or, leave the lid off so your child can access their toys easily.
Laundry baskets: They're not just for laundry! I have one in my daughter's room that is holding nothing but stuffed animals. They're lightweight, inexpensive, and the kids can get and put away their own toys, without any help from Mom. Once she's done using it for toys, I can teach her how to do her own laundry!
Plastic under-the-bed storage: These are long, shallow plastic bins with lids that are perfect for sliding under the bed. They're a bit more expensive than the regular plastic storage bins, but being able to use this wasted space makes it well worth the cost. They are perfect for smaller stuffed animals, Barbies, action figures, dress-up clothes, cars and trucks and games.
So, there you have it. Several simple, inexpensive ideas for storing kids' toys. Now, if only we could get them to put their toys away in these containers...
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