With four kids of different ages and both genders, I’m always looking for easy toy organization ideas. Last year I did the Great Toy Purge. Because we got rid of so much stuff, and because we’ve been trying to keep the clutter down since then, this year I didn’t have to spend an entire weekend sorting through toys to regain control of the basement.
But we still need to go through every so often and sort things out. I use baskets to hold most of our toys — at least one in every room of the house. In the past we’ve used plastic bins, and crates would work, too. But I think woven baskets are cuter than plastic, and they’re easy to pick up and move where the crates can be unwieldy. The ones I have now are from…well, everywhere, actually. Cost Plus has great ones. Target has cute ones. I even have one from Panama, brought back by my mother-in-law, which makes me feel all cool and world-travelly. If you keep your eye out, you’ll start seeing cute baskets lots of places. So when we need to clean up quickly, we toss everything in one of the baskets and get it off the floor.
When I have an extra 30 minutes, I sort through one of the baskets.
I begin by dumping out the entire basket. Here’s my mess, to make you feel better.
I take three bags (or boxes…Tupperware containers…whatever) and label them — “Trash,” “Donate,” and “Relocate.”
The trash bag is self-explanatory. As I sort, anything the kids have outgrown or lost interest in goes in the “Donate” bag and any toys that belong somewhere else (Legos out of their box, puzzle pieces, Little People who aren’t in the right bin, etc) go in the “Relocate” bag. At the end, I allow myself (or better yet — the kids!) 10 minutes to put all those items back where they belong. And then I put the “Donate” bag right in my car so I can drop it off the next time I go somewhere. Otherwise I get this:
Total rookie mistake! Oy. As long as I sort things semi-regularly (which means whatever you want it to!), it keeps our toy clutter from getting too crazy.
And you? If you have any great toy organization ideas, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!