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Toy Storage 101

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I do my best to keep our home streamlined and minimal but between birthdays, holidays etc. there is a steady flow of stuff entering our home. Here’s how we handle toy storage and organization in our home:

Invest in Timeless Items: Magna tiles, wooden blocks, Legos, board games and art supplies provide hours of creative play and never go out of style.

Limit Visible Quantity : Keep no more than 5 broad categories out at a time – i.e Legos, baby dolls, building blocks, play kitchen and cars and trucks. By limiting how many things are out at one time, your kids won’t get overstimulated or overwhelmed. Store toys that they might grow into in labeled bins in a closet, basement, garage or other storage area so you can rotate out occasionally to keep things fresh.

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Store Active Toys in Clear Zones:  It’s best to set up toys in clear zones like a kindergarten classroom so it’s intuitive to find things and clean-up is a breeze. Food should be stored in or next to the play kitchen, all art supplies can be stored together in a crate or on an art cart, all baby dolls and accessories are stored in a large rolling bin, you get the picture.

Create a Place for Treasures: Provide a “special bin” for each child. Kids love having their own treasures and a special bin or treasure box provides them a space to call their own. I also love it because it keeps the random bits and bobs out of site – ie. plastic party favors, tooth fairy notes, a rubber band collection, etc.

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Set up a Donation Tote: Another little trick I use is hanging a tote in my closet and doing regular sweeps of the house that take no more than five minutes. I toss things in the bag like clothing my kids have outgrown and toys that are seldom touched. When the tote is full, I drop off the goods at a local charity. I also help the girls do a big edit before birthdays and holidays. I remind that that if they want new things we need to create some space and also teach them that we have the opportunity to contribute to kids that are less fortunate. They have become used to throwing toys, books, clothing and games in a bag and taking it to charity, although it definitely helps that they know new things are coming their way!

Focus on Experiences:  I do my best to teach our kids to focus their energy on relationships and experiences rather than material things. Try taking your kids out for weekly dates or adventures – we love going out for ice cream, tasting things at farmer’s markets, mini golf, day trips to the beach and picnics with friends. Toys will come in and out of favor but experiences leave much more lasting impressions. Recently I asked my seven year old what her favorite birthday present was from her party in April and she couldn’t remember a single gift she received. She did, however, recall all of the guests who came, the games they played, the water balloon fight they had and the ice cream sandwiches we served for dessert!

How do you handle toy storage and organization in your home? Please share in the comments below!

photo credit: vivian johnson photography

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