Saturday, March 8, 2014

Toy Roundup!

Okay, if you have kids then you know that the word "stuff" takes on a whole new meaning!  There is STUFF everywhere!  It's that whole concept of plowing snow while it's still snowing...a job that never seems to be done.  Especially if you live in a small space, then that stuff begins to feel like it's literally taking over your house, and your life!  

Toys So, here was my solution...I had heard of people putting toys into labeled bins with pictures so even the kids could put things away.  I loved the idea, but how to implement in my house?  We don't have a lot of room for extra bins, plus the amount of each type of toy changes after each birthday, Christmas, etc. and since I like to reorganize about as often as I change my clothes :), I needed a flexible system!  

I'm kind of a dork about wanting things to be cute and as much as I wanted to use someone's idea that was already done, I couldn't find any pre-made labels with pictures that I liked.  So, I put Google Images to work and made these labels.  Feel free to use and change them for personal use as fits your needs! 
Get pdf for labels here
If you would like the Word document to alter, please comment with your email and I will send it to you directly (googledocs alters the file so that's why it's not posted as a word doc.)

Then I laminated them, backed them with velcro and put them on my freshly purchased matching Target bins (yep, I'm a nerd about things matching too!  Surprised? :))  Voila!  Now I can move the labels around at will and even change them to something entirely different than toys if I want to!  Velcro has become one of my new best friends!  I use it to hang a lot of my pictures now as well.  It's fabulous!

I put a shelf in the kids' closet and put the bins in there.  It was kind of amazing how many toys we fit into such a small space.  The best part is that they know where to put things when they're done playing with them, so they can clean up all on their own.  It also helps when friends come over so everything doesn't end up in as many random places!

 There wasn't quite enough room in the closet for everything so we also have toys in bins all around under the bed, and some in the bookshelf drawers of the baby's room.  Additionally, we have a laundry basket for dress ups.  As I mentioned in my post 15 Tricks to Making Most of Small Spaces, we also made our TV stand and ottoman into toy storage units.  So, there is no shortage of toys at our house, but at least you can't see them all everywhere now...well, most of the time! :)


For smaller toys I use a lot of old Hot Cocoa cans!  I am a sucker for Stephen's Hot Chocolate in the winter, so we always keep the cans and use them for storage.  They are very sturdy and silver underneath the label so even if you don't cover them with a label, they still look descent!  I just used scrapbook paper, alphabet stickers, and packing tape to cover mine...I had a few issues with the tape so don't look too closely! :)


Since I taught second grade for nine years, I have A TON of books that I purchased over the years which are now all around my house (plus boxes in the garage for when my kids get older!)  I merely transferred my system from teaching to home, so I'll share it with you.  I have books that I use to teach certain lessons labeled in magazine boxes in my office bookshelves. 

Holiday books are in their own separate labeled magazine boxes put up where the kids can't get to them so that I can bring a new box down for each holiday.  My daughter is like a kid in a candy store when we bring out the books for this month's holiday!  It makes them fun and new all over again.  Another benefit of the magazine holders is that it's harder to get the books out of them.  So, if you have a baby crawling around and your books are down low, they can't get them out and throw them all over or destroy them quite as easily!

Material books we put down low for the baby to get to whenever she wants, and board books are all in the nursery for baby-story time.  We also have a separate basket for our library books so they don't get mixed in with the others.  I figure you can never have too many books and having them organized in a way that works for you makes them more accessible and fun for everyone to read!

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