Toy room organization is a big challenge for parents, especially because kids these days have a large number of toys. Whether we organize the toys in a toy room or in a corner in the children's room or anywhere else, the toys seem to get disorganized quickly and find their way all over the house. Here are some tips on toy room organization that will help make this problem a little easier.
Throw away the original packaging
Trying to keep each toy, toy set or game, stored individually in its original packaging is a losing battle. In most cases, throw away the original packaging unless there is a special reason you need it.
Organize large toys into classes of toys
Large toys like train sets should be organized into classes of toys, rather than trying to keep each set together. For example, if there are 2 different train sets with your children, don't worry about keeping them separated and organized individually. Bunch them all up into the "train" class. Similarly, all dolls irrespective of whether they are Barbie or Bratz go into the "dolls" class. All sports gear can go into the "sports" class. If you try to keep each set individually, the organization becomes too strict and the children will not follow it and the toys will be disorganized very quickly.
Get wide, shallow baskets for each class of large toys
Get plastic tubs or sturdy cane baskets for each class of toys. If you get wide, shallow containers, children (and you) can easily spot what is in the basket. If the containers are shallow, children do not have dig deep inside to find that special toy they need. This digging is often what results in toys flying all over the place as children search for that one toy that has caught their fancy. Sometimes, parents buy plastic containers with lids. This is upto individual choice but open containers are easier to put stuff back into, than closed ones. Kids will also find it easier to put away toys if they can find the right basket to put them in easily.
Organize game boards, separately from game pieces and game cards etc.,
Do not try to organize each game individually. Each component of the game - game board, game pieces, game cards etc., is awkwardly shaped and short of gluing them to each other, you cannot keep them together. Instead, put all the game boards next to each other on a bookshelf. Stack them like books.
Take the game pieces from all the games (especially the common ones like dice, coins etc.,) and put them all together. Who cares if the dice from one game is used in another or vice versa.
Plastic tiffin boxes and plastic bottles are essential for storage of small toys
Use clear plastic boxes (tiffin boxes or Glad boxes will do well) and recycled plastic bottles (like you get for drinks like Bournvita) are great for storage. It is important that these boxes and bottles be transparent, so children can see at a glance what is inside. Keep them small.
Use these for organizing and storing toys like the ones below
- Game pieces like dice
- For special games like chess, put all the pieces in one individual bottle
- Put all the paint brushes and paint containers in one large bottle or box
- Put all the crayons and colour pencils and sketch pens in one box or bottle
- Put all the game cards for each game in a box (like Monopoly money or Pictionary cards) in individual plastic boxes. One for each game.
Stack, store and organize these boxes and bottles on a shelf or closet. Because the storage is transparent, the children may move around the bottles and boxes to find what they need, but the individual items in each bottle will mostly remain inside it. And children find it easier to stack these bottles and boxes also.
Ziplocs are a nice tool for organizing toys and games
Get large Ziploc bags to put away those hard to organize toys like puzzles. Put each puzzle in an individual ziploc and store them all in a shoebox or in a large plastic bag.
Provide a corner of the room to keep super-large toys
Super large toys like a tricycle or dollhouse should be assigned to a corner of the room. Make sure they are kept there during cleanup time.
Let the children decide which toy goes where
Give your children the baskets, containers, boxes, bottles and ziplocs and let them decide how to organize the toy room. They will automatically remember how they organized things and it will make it easier for them to cleanup in the future.
Give away unused toys
If your children have outgrown a toy or are not playing with it, give it away without hesitation to other younger children in the family or to domestic help or to the driver's kids or to a local NGO.
By using different kinds of storage it makes it easy to identify what is inside each container, and toy room organization becomes a little easier. Do come back and tell us what are some toy room organization techniques that have worked for you.
Making kids clean up and put away their books, toys and other things