I reorganise my children’s rooms/toys every 6 months. I’ve written about the process I go through here: Sorting and Organising Toys. I wrote that post a couple of years ago, and since then, we have moved house twice and my kids are (obviously) older. However, most of the toys I have for my children are the types of toys that are sustainable in the long term (and I explain more about these toys in this post and how we use them in this post).
When my children were younger, I kept most the toys (except stuffed toys) in a toy room (of sorts). Really it was a corner of the living area but I decided to have toys there for a few reasons. Firstly, having the kids playing out in the living space was really lovely (although messy like everything at that stage) and when the kids were young, it was nice to be able to engage with them in this way. Secondly, I found it much easier to organise both the rooms and the toys when they were kept seperate! Toys in rooms was a nightmare when my kids were aged about 2-6!
However now we have moved, and are in a different space, plus the children are older, I have moved toys to respective rooms. As a note here, we have a lot of communal toys. One of the assumptions we have in our family is one of generosity so there’s not a deep ownership over particular toys at our place. For example: Lego. All my children love Lego, and they all have been given Lego over the years, however it’s all kept in one place and everyone uses it (unless the kids make something special and want to keep it somewhere in their room). The kids all play with everything really, however there are certain toys certain children gravitate to. I’ll also note here that I don’t gender toys (even though society heavily does and and I can’t control that). I think certain kids of both genders gravitate to different toys depending on personality. For an example, my eldest daughter was never interested in dolls of any kind at any stage, but always gravitated to constructions and stuffed toys. On the other hand, I have another daughter who adores Barbie and dolls. They are both free to engage with toys that spark their imagination and learning without the expectation that they shouldn’t play with certain toys because they are ‘boys toys’ or ‘girl toys’. However, you will see in the examples I’ve used below that the toys do seem to be quite gendered in rooms (Lego and cars verses dolls and ponies) and that is because my two youngest children (who still have toys in their room) gravitate to those particular toys the most. Plus the youngest child is the one that plays with toys the most so we decided to put most the toys in his room (but they are for everyone to enjoy).
I’ve used many different storage options over the years including rubber tubs, cube boxes, baskets, drawers, shelves and mini bins. Below are some great products and how I’ve used these types of storage solutions in the past.
I use this for stuffed toys and it goes in the cupboard. These are also good for dress ups. I don’t find them good for smaller toys because kids tend to tip it all out to find what they want to play with.
These stackable crates look great and are handy for all kinds of toys and books, especially for younger kids. Easy to pack up.
I have heaps and heaps of these around the house. I mostly use them for shoes and outdoor toys, but they are handy for stuffed toys or other large toys.
These are more for decorative items, but a great way to display knick knacks, Lego figures or other sweet little toys.
These are my absolute favourite. They aren’t cheap (and you can get cheaper versions but I find the cheaper ones just don’t last – tried them). What I have found most useful is to have most toys in easy access dedicated drawers that are out in the room (rather than in drawers in cupboards). I’ve been using the Elfa system from Howards Storage world since a did a job with them over 3 years and they have been brilliant for toys. They are mesh baskets (mesh is small enough so Lego doesn’t fall through) that slide in and out of the drawers and what is great about them is the kids often take them out and put them on the floor to play with/search for things, and it’s easy to put them back. If you want to see a real life example of the kids playing with the toys in the drawers, check out this post: Watching Them Play. The reason why the work so well is they hold heaps of toys, and packing up is super easy because you can just throw everything in.
You can use these mounted to the wall, or I actually find them so useful to use on the top of drawers. You can store books, display toys or other knicks and knacks (see pics below of a similar product I use in one of the rooms).
This type of blanket/toy box looks really stylish in a room. However, I have found that, like the wheelie bin, kids tend to struggle to find what they want to play with easily. But this type of storage system is great for baby/toddler toys and it looks stylish in a living space (when closed, because a nice place to perch).
I only use these for storing and rotating toys up in the cupboard. They are pretty useless as actual every day storage system, but great for keeping certain toys kept away to rotate (or store for a later time).
Very similar to the flexible rubber tubs, I have found these to be useful in a cupboard, or outside. They are small enough so it’s easy to find things. I don’t find them a complete toy storage solution (like the elfa drawers) but still can be useful for large toys, outdoor toys, and other things.
This type of basket is great for when you want to keep a small selection of toys in a living space (like near the television). They look good and are practical and easy to clean.
Toys are kept in drawers, and the stuffed toys and dress ups are in a bin in the cupboard.
In the cupboard, I keep a tub and a bin for stuffed toys/dressups.
I only have one elfa drawer system in here with toys. The rest of the toys are either on display or like the other room: stuffed toys are kept in a bin in the cupboard. Floating cubes are great on drawers for books and other knicks and knacks.
This is a teen’s bedroom, and she doesn’t have ‘toys’, but she does. You see, they swap the regular toys for stationery, music or other stuff they love doing. This child loves creating and drawing, so we made a bit of a creative station on her desk (with too many art journals to count!) which we are still adding to. I found a retro sorting station that looks great on the desk for craft items.