Friday, April 4, 2014

Toy Organization Tips for Cheap

Have you ever said, "Put up your toys!"? Or how about "Clean up this room!" ? What if the toys stayed picked up and their room stayed clean all the time??? Well, that will never happen! ha ha ha. But what I am going to share with you is how their rooms can usually stay clean. Not always, but usually! It really does help! Keep reading!
First thing I realized with my kids is that they needed to know exactly what I expected when I said for them to put their toys up. For awhile once I got their rooms how I wanted them, I really had to take the time to help them and show them what I meant when I said, "Put your toys away." In order to do that, there had to be an assigned place for everything!

My middle son has a whole "store" of tractors. Tons of them! So now he has a "tractor shelf". He knows that nothing but tractors goes on this shelf. He has even fussed at me for putting a lawn mower on there because he said it was NOT a tractor! <3 But here is a key for how it has helped me! Now when he wants to know where "such and such" tractor is, I answer, on your tractor shelf. WOW! That was easy!
I want you to notice two things in this picture. First is it is cheap! We are not rich folk around here so I take what I can find and then spruce it up. This is a $15 plastic shelving unit and and a box from diapers. I put Velcro on the side of the shelf and then stick fabric to it and it covers the cheap plastic shelf and the contents on it. As for the diaper box, I completely cover them with decorative duct tape. I have not done this one yet because I seen some tape SOMEWHERE that had the green and yellow theme but I have not been able to find it again. Once I do, this box will be covered and you will never know it was a diaper box.

He simply sits the larger tractors on the shelves but the smaller tractors he puts inside the box. (Note that this is portable)

Next tip is my favorite! Take advantage of all the doors you can! You heard me right! See for yourself!
In the picture on the left, this is a full size over the door shoe organizer. I put his tools in these bottom pockets so he can get to them. All saws in one pocket, all hammers in another, all screwdrivers in another, pliers in another, wrenches in another and drills, saws, etc. are in the bottom pockets. Any smaller parts that I do not want him to have access to without adult supervision is up top. This tool one is on the inside of his closet door.

The picture on the right is on the back of his room door. The top pocket has his backpacks and other bags I use to carry his toys in. The bottom pocket has his "outside toys". All things he can only play with outside are found here. Sand toys, balls, bats, shovels, etc. If they come to me and ask where the baseball is I say, "In the outdoor pocket on the back of the door."
This over the door shoe organizer is in my oldest sons room on the inside of his closet door. His holds his Bay Blades and accessories and his Wii remotes, games, & batteries. It also holds those little foam bullets for his Nerf gun too.

ALWAYS look UP for places you can strategically use. The large white shoe organizer was $9 and the black one, I can't remember- 12$? The clear white one was $1.

Another thing I use a lot of is laundry baskets. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my laundry basket "dresser". It was super easy to make. I had the hubby build me two. One for the middle son and one for the oldest son. This is for larger toys that do not have another "group home". You can learn how to make one for yourself here.

The plastic bin in the floor with the white lid is all of his wooden toys. Then the large cars sit either neatly in the floor of his closet or on his bookshelf, lined up neatly.

The clear plastic bin on the bottom shelf is all of his action figures. The small blue basket on the right bottom shelf is all of his "weapons". This is his toy guns, knives, handcuffs, walkies talkies, ninja stars, you name it! Notice everything is portable. My boys very rarely play in their own room by themselves. Usually they get toys and either take it to the other boy's room or to the living room. I want for it to be easy for them to carry them.
I also use small round laundry baskets for toy groups as well. This one is in my oldest sons closet floor and is full of his action figures. The one in the back is all of his "weapons". And the large baggie in the front is full of cars. Large baggie??? Keep reading!


I got this box of two extra large baggies and I LOVE them!! You can put TONS of stuff in them and then they seal shut! AND they are portable!! Lego's and cars currently reside in these two!











Here is with all the doors open.
And here it is with them shut! Look, no toys! :) All cleverly hid behind!



If you do not have the bottom of a closet to use for toys, no worries. Start looking down! Is there any furniture that you could slide plastic containers under? I keep my baby's toys in a basket under his crib. It slides right under and you never see it, thanks to the bed skirt. It is easy to move for vacuuming and it is cheap!! :)

What about under your kids bed? Some of you have large bed frames that are a good ways up off of the ground. You can put some rather roomy containers under there to hold toys. My bed frame is just plain rails and is only a 6-7 inch space. However I STILL found a container that would fit under there.



See! Tons of space to be taken advantage of. Before it would have been just empty space!!

If it is a living room space, why not get an ottoman that opens up and has storage inside?

Now here is the key. You ready!? You are not going to like it! Maintenance! You have to do it or it will just end up back in a mess. Here is how it works in my house.

During the day, the boys are allowed to have ONE group of items at a time. For example, they can get out the "car" bucket, or the "action figures" bucket. But only ONE at a time! When they are finished playing with that, they must put all items back in the container and take it back to its assigned place. How do I make sure that happens? Remember I told you their toys are in the bottom of their closet? Well, I lock the closet door! Before they can get into their closet they have to ask me to open it and I don't open it until I look to be sure the others are cleaned up and they have to be sitting at the closet door for me to put back in its place. Now don't get onto me for locked their toys up because it is like this. Why do you limit their sugar intake? Why do you limit television time? Because limits are not BAD! I am teaching my kids to clean up after themselves, to be responsible, and to respect rules. None of that is bad! :)

Some days however, they have a free day. I open their closets and let them play!! With whatever they want. One these days there are only two rules. 1.) All toys stay in their respective rooms & 2.) At bedtime, we have to pick it all back up and put it in its respective place.

I can not tell you how much this has helped me!! They actually PLAY now! I suppose it is because they can actually see what toys they do have instead of them getting lost in the bottom of a black hole giant toy bin. Does it stay spotless??? NO! But more times yes than no!

Take it easy on yourself mama! They will not be little forever! Enjoy the toys and be thankful that your little one is healthy enough to be up playing!

Stay tuned for how I deal with toys that are left laying around, coming soon! I hope this helps you! How do you organize your kids toys?

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