Toys are a big part of life with children. Sometimes, like children, you may feel like they’re taking over! Here are some simple toy storage ideas to beat the clutter, save money on storage devices and make clearing up quicker and more fun.
Everything has its place
Most toys can be divided up into categories (for instance action men, dolls, cars, tools, animals, musical instruments, kitchen, railway), which is the key to effective storage.
If everything has a ‘home’, it helps children to find things, and to put them away again. There will always be the odd toy that doesn’t fit in, so it’s good to have a big basket or box for those.
Suitcases, trunks, boxes and baskets
There are plenty of expensive toy storage ideas and devices out there, but you don’t necessarily need to buy them. The key is to look, learn and borrow ideas and adapt them to your house’s style and space.
- Old trunks and suitcases: charity shops are a good place to look for these
- Plastic storage boxes: cheap and easy to stack
- Wooden boxes with lids: can double up as chairs and tables for small children
- Baskets/boxes with wheels: often cost a bit more, but easy for children to move
- Nets or wall pockets: can be stuck behind doors, good for bath toys and soft toys
Cardboard boxes and shoe boxes are great storage resources – all they need is a little decoration and imagination.
Get the children involved and paint a cardboard box with poster paints, or glue some pretty wallpaper onto it. Shoe boxes can be decorated with magazine cut-outs, or wrapping paper, and can hold a variety of fiddly bits, like mini figures, dolls’ clothes, or craft items.
Print a picture of what you’re storing and then attach it to your storage net/box/trunk. This helps young children see what should be stored in that place.
It also makes the tidying up process accessible to others – for instance other people who might be looking after your children, or your children’s friends.
Hide the storage away
Once the toys are in their storage places, you can hide them away in a variety of ways: behind the sofa, under beds, or behind doors. If you can’t get them out of sight, get them out of mind by pulling a throw over them.
Are you the one bending over collecting tiny bits of Lego and sorting dolly’s clothes, while your children watch TV? Are you happy with the situation? If not, then change it!
Generally, children have lots of time and energy so encourage them to use it tidying up. If everything has a place to go to, it makes it easier for children to clear up – even toddlers. Using a reward system is a good way to get started if there’s some resistance.
Pass it on
Toys need loving and using, if they’re neglected pass them on to a charity shop, freecycle them, or sell them on ebay or at a car boot sale.
Regular clear outs are essential. You might have to decide on behalf of younger children, but older children will understand, especially if they get the proceeds of the sale - this can even be an exercise to teach them about money!