In this organizing blog post I wanted to write about something that I am currently knee deep in and that is all these freakin’ toys! Where do you put them?! Don’t get me wrong-I know how fortunate we are to have toys for our son to play with, but GEEZ they can get out of control quick can’t they? We currently live in a 3 bedroom ranch house which doesn’t include a playroom, so most of Hud’s toys are stored in his room, in our living room, dining room, or the attic being saved for the next child we have. Since there are a lot of people who struggle with keeping the toys in order, I am going to show you how I organized our space and share ideas of how you could organize your small space too.
STEP 1 // DECLUTTER
The first thing that needs to be done is to assess the situation. Take out all of the toys so that they are visible and you can put your hands on each item. You will also need 4 piles for you to classify items. Be sure to have each pile labeled so you do not get items mixed up while you are decluttering.
- PILE 1 TRASH→ Grab a trash bag label it for discarding of trash. Any items that are worn out and would not be useful to anyone else should go into this bag.
- PILE 2 DONATE→ Grab another trash bag and label it as the donation pile. Take a hard look at your toys and ask yourself a few questions.
- When is the last time I saw my child playing with this item?
- Is this toy age appropriate?
- Is it in good/working condition?
- If it was in the stores today, would you spend your money to buy it?
If the answer to these is NO, either store it away for the next baby (if that is in your future) or get rid of it. You will start to feel lighter just by putting items no longer used into the donation pile. Just think of that lucky kids who gets that toy next!
- PILE 3 STORE→If you are planning on having another baby or plan to pass on any items, then please save them and store them away. You will need good storage bins that are sturdy and stackable based upon the toys sizes. If they are too large, then they would not need any storage bins.
- PILE 4 KEEPERS→Toys that are still actively being used, are in good condition, and are age appropriate should land in this pile.
STEP 2 // ASSESS AND GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR SPACE
Look around your home. Do you have a TV cabinet that could store toys? Do you have a corner that would hold a basket or a larger toy? Do you have any extra baskets that could be put to better use? These are great ways to store toys in your living space without feeling like you live in a toy store.
STEP 3 // ORGANIZE
Now that you have assessed your space and you know what you are working with, it’s time to organize. This is the fun part in my opinion. Any excuse to buy cute baskets to organize something and I’m in! Don’t forget any baskets or organizing totes you may already have in your home. Here are some of the ways I have stored toys in our living room and our son’s room in order to maximize our space.
The rattan basket I used here was a wedding gift years ago from Crate & Barrel and is no longer sold.
However, I love this large woven wicker seagrass basket because it is large enough to hold bigger items and it has handle so it can easily be moved. I also love sticking with neutral colors because they will add to your decor and not “look” like they are storing toys.
Here is another large round rattan basket with a lid that is most similar to mine only it is a bit lighter and has a top. Mine originally came with a top, but our dog Ruger chewed it up when he was a puppy.
Another way I hide Hudon’s toys is in the cabinets of the TV console that we have. Years ago, I was starting out buying furniture on a small budget and found this TV console from Better Homes and Gardens. This one is very similar to mine with the exception of the color. I love the weathered look, however, when I bought this years ago it wasn’t an option.
In our TV console, I have a medium sized basket to wrangle the smaller toys and knick knack. This basket was given to me as part of a shower gift, so I am unsure of where they came from. Any cute smaller rectangle baskets would work, but this woven seagrass storage basket with a liner is comparable to mine. As you can see, this is a great way to hide some of the toys. Inside of the basket in the middle of the console are some of the smaller trinkets and toys that are easily stashed together. Inside of the left cabinet door, the top shelf contains a box with are his wooden puzzles to keep the piecestogether along with his see and say. The bottom shelf has his shape shorter, a bulldozer, and 2 puppies with strings. There is also a little more room if I wanted to cram some more things into the back, but I like everything easily accessible.
Inside of the right cabinet door, the top shelf contains a Little People Tractor, his telephone, and an O-Ball firetruck. The bottom cabinet contains an interactive learning cube, a bucket of Little People characters, a pop up animal surprise train, and the stackable rings. Again, I could pack more into this side as well, but remember we want it to loo tidy.
Our son has really gotten into balls lately so I made a home especially for them in another basket and keep it stashed next to the TV console in our living room. The one I have again I do not know the location from which it came from, however this Mahogany Basket with Handles is very similar in size, shape, and color to the one I own. I would have preferred something like this Black and White Rope Basket because it is more durable and can accommodate a variety of sized balls. However, since I was working what I had, I ended up using the dark woven basket. In the future (should I need to make a better home for balls or larger toy items) I would love to have the black and white rope basket instead.
The larger toys are trickier to “hide”, but I was able to get them out of the way so that they are not an eyesore or in the pathway of where we walk. Our son has a VTech Smart Shots Sports Center that I was able to tuck into an unused corner in our dining room that is just around the corner from our living room. He is still able to get to it if he wants, but it is not in the main living area. For the VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker and his VTech Gallop and Rock Learning Pony, I tucked it into another corner on the other side of the dining room so it’s visible but not in the way. Lastly, Hudson is obsessed with his Little Tykes Golf Club Set and it needs to be out at all times so that he can get to them. I decided to put those on more of a display on our fireplace hearth so they will not be in our way of navigating the room, but are visible. I also put his Little People Farm & Animal Friends next to them. Its not ideal, but kids need to have fun at home.
The Mega Blocks are stored in Hudson’s closet because I wanted to keep those pieces separate from the rest of his toy and in a contained space. He has a tendency to just want to dump these blocks out on the floor just for fun and not really want to play with them. I pull them out when we need other options to entertain him.
The toy chest in his room stores other toys that awkward in size and only fit here. These are also toys that I am keeping in here for the next baby because they are a little young for Hudson now.
I received so many stuffed animals for Hudson when he was born and I had no idea where I was going to put them. Then, I realized that I could use the cradle we inherited to hold all of his stuffed animals. He loves that they are at just the right height to reach when he wants a snuggle.
Lastly, this was taken last night on our sweaty walk in GA in his Little Tykes Cozy Truck. We keep store this in our garage.
STEP 4 // MAINTAIN
One of the hardest parts of organizing a small space is maintaining its order. I have found that by keeping fewer toys in our living spaces it cuts down on the visual clutter. I have also found that by keeping the organization simple, my husband, myself, and even our son are able to quickly and easily put away the toys. Let me now how YOU organize your toys in a small space by leaving me a comment!
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