Is your child’s room (not to mention the rest of the house) overflowing with toys? If you have a toddler, you may feel like their toys have totally overtaken your home. And, of course, their numbers seem to multiply after every birthday, holiday and visit from Grandma and Grandpa.
A little bit of clutter is usually par for the course when you have active, curious toddlers at home. Thankfully, there are a few simple hacks that toddler parents can use to rein in the chaos and keep the house feeling a bit tidier. Read on for some of our favorite tips for parents looking to bring some order to their toddler’s toy collection.
Sort, Purge and Rotate
Sort all of the toys, books, stuffed animals, dolls, toy cars and so on into piles. Then start purging: Get rid of anything broken as well as any old games or puzzles with missing pieces. Also, think about what your child has outgrown or no longer uses; these might be great candidates to donate or hand down to another family with younger children.
Finally, extend the life of those toys you and your child want to keep by rotating them every few months. Fill a storage bin or two with toys your child is tired of playing with. Then either reintroduce them a couple at a time (each time grabbing a few from the toy room to take their place in storage) or make a complete swap after two or three months. Your toddler will be thrilled to play with their “new” toys each time you rotate them in.
But don’t do this just once. Periodically go through your child’s toys each season or before birthdays, holidays and visits with the grandparents to keep things organized and tidy all year round.
Toy Storage Ideas
Once you’ve decided what to keep in your toddler’s playroom and in the living room, it’s time to put everything in its place. The key here, of course, is that everything must have a proper place. Some of our top toy storage ideas include:
- Group like with like. Have a bookshelf dedicated to board games and puzzles, keep building blocks in a storage ottoman, toy cars in a bin, and dolls and doll accessories in another.
- Invest in storage furniture. A few pieces of storage furniture, like a storage ottoman or bench, can stylishly hide chaos and make the living room presentable for guests while still keeping your kids’ favorite toys easily accessible.
- Labels are your friend. This is key for toys in storage or for toys stored in bins. This way, it’s easy for you and your little one to find things. Labeling also helps your child understand that everything has its place.
- Make use of a toy hammock. This DIY no-sew hammock is a great idea for corralling stuffed animals and keeping them off the floor.
- Use spice racks as shallow shelves. If you’re out of bookshelf space, try this stylish idea: use spice racks to create shallow shelves. It creates kid-friendly wall art and is great for storing your little one’s favorite bedtime stories.
- Repurpose an over-the-door shoe organizer. These organizers aren’t just great for shoes. They can help you organize a whole host of things, from building blocks, actions figures or dolls to school supplies.
- Make a bungee-cord cage to store balls. A little paint for the shelves and this DIY garage storage idea from Designed to Dwell would work just as well in a playroom.
- Use a magnetic knife strip to store toy cars. This DIY idea is cheap, easy and will help put an end to accidentally stepping on your little one’s toy cars. In fact, we bet your toddler will be just as fascinated with putting their toy cars away as they are playing with them.
- Take puzzles out of the box and store them in zip pouches. This creative idea is a great way to free up space while still keeping puzzles accessible. Plus, the zipper helps keep puzzle pieces from wandering off. Just make sure to tuck a picture of the completed puzzle into the pouch!
How to Involve Your Toddler in Organising
Involving your child in the process will help them learn some great habits that they’ll carry with them through to adulthood. Use this process as an opportunity and involve your toddler from the beginning: Explain to them the importance of staying organized, taking care of their things, and getting rid of broken or older toys. Then go through their toys together.
If there are toys in good condition that you plan to give away, let them go with you to donate them and have them personally hand over their toys. (This is also a great thing to do right before the holidays, as it’ll clear out space for your toddler’s new toys and teach them to embrace the season of giving.)
But remember: habits are best learned little by little, so make cleaning up part of your toddler’s regular bedtime routine. Before storytime, help them pick up at least some of their toys and put them away. You can even make it into a game! If all the toys are put away in five minutes, you’ll spend five more minutes each night reading or watching their favorite show with them.
Even though it may seem like your little one has more toys than either they or you know what to do with, getting organized and staying on top of the clutter is absolutely doable. These parent-approved toy organization hacks are a great place to start.