TOYS: AN ORGANIZATION OVERHAUL WITH THE CONTAINER STORE
It’s been a while now that I have been yearning for a change with how we “do” toys in our home. When I learned that The Container Store was about to open its doors in Oklahoma City this seemed like the perfect opportunity to make that change & bring some sanity to my daily mothering efforts. This blog post is in partnership with The Container Store but all opinions are my own.
First I think it’s worth mentioning that when it comes to toys we are constantly *trying* to purge. I say “trying” because it’s no easy feat for us. Many of the toys our boys have were gifts. Additionally we are considering having a third baby in the future so we don’t want to purge all of the toys our babies have grown out of quite yet. My number one goal when selecting toys to bring into our home is the rang of their use, meaning, open-ended toys— toys that have more than one purpose & engage a child’s imagination…. but that’s a blog post for another day.
After purging all of the toys that I felt were not serving my boys our nursery closet needed some help next. For the past 20 months the items in the closet were mostly just piled up on one another— from board games, to retired baby clothes, to bed linens, & large baby items. It was a disaster honestly. In order to get something out you had to remove at least 5 other items. My plan was to remove any non-child items (aka the board games & bed linens) & make the primary use of the nursery closet for baby/kid possessions. We moved our board games into two coffee table/under-bed bins that we put under our couch! This has made a small but significant impact on our home— it allows for more space in the nursery closet & we now have access to our board games in the room we use them in mostly. We went with two of the Water Hyacinth Coffee Table/Under Bed Bin for under our couches & love the way they work in our home. These could also be great for out-of-sight toy storage in a living room space.
With the space we acquired in the nursery closet we now had capacity to build a shelving unit that would allow us use of the closet’s vertical space (since none of the boy’s clothes are on hangers). With the shelving unit we were able to maximize the space in the closet & store clothing, holiday & seasonal books & 6 canvas quilted bins. We went with this Toy Storage White shelving unit & it was very easy to assemble.
The shelving unit gave capacity for 6 Large Canvas Quilted Bins & I loved the look of them. The open top makes it easy for kiddos to clean up on their own. I also wanted something that was not transparent to eliminate the opportunity for Buddy to see a toy he wanted & have a melt-down.
With the 6 canvas bins I sorted out all of the toys that my kiddos do play with & divided them up among the bins. I kind-of put them into themes. I wanted toys that worked well together in the same bin. For example, one of the bins has a doctor’s kit, along with that I included books that feature the doctor’s office & stuffed animals that could be played with using the doctor tools. Every bin also included a few interactive books that my kids love, examples include The Busy Helicopter, That’s Not My Kitten & All Better. These books always keep their attention & I wanted them to maintain their excitement for them rather than get tired of looking at them every day.
What I did not put in the bins were toys that my boys love to play with frequently & that can be used in a variety of play experiences. Those items include: toy cars, blocks, puzzles, teething toys, favorite stuffed animals, balls & play food.
The canvas bins come out of the closet one day at a time on rotation. Each day of the week I select a new tub to put out. What I have come to find is that the boys are WAY more interested in the toys since they aren’t suffocated by all of them on a daily basis. They aren’t experiencing decision paralysis with what to play with. They are excited by their toys, toys they already own! I don’t feel the need to find new toys, we now find new ways to play with toys we already have. There is also less to clean up & organize at the end of the day. The benefits have been overwhelmingly positive & my only regret is that I didn’t do this sooner.
As for the toys we keep accessible at all times, I see my boys interacting with them regularly so I feel good about keeping those available to them. We also picked up two Bisley White 5-Drawer Cabinet that I plan to organize toys in as my boys grow. I labeled each one with what contents were inside & organized them by categories. I have found this useful for baby toys (teething, grasping, hanging, etc) & Buddy’s toy car collection.
Overall, the decision to organize toys & rotate them out has been a great one for our family. I plan to continue studying the ways our toys are used & to build bin collections that feature a variety of ways to experience play each day. The Container Store has been a wonderful resource & I found we could select items that made us much more intentional with what possessions we keep around & how. If you have any additional questions about this process please do not hesitate to ask!