Kid's toys can be a parent's nightmare. You want your children to use them, enjoy them and learn from them, but you also want them to be treated well, packed away when not in use and look tidy. There seems to be no way to have it all…actually all you need is some great organisation hacks that will make your kid's toys not only accessible so your kids will remember to use them but also encourage your kids to put them away again. Too good to be true? It gets better, these fun storage ideas will also get your creativity working and give you a chance to reconnect to both your kids and your home in a fun, kiddy play space makeover.
So let's tame those toys and create working space that your children will love to use.
Lesson 1. Everything in its place
A place for everything and everything in its place is a great little mantra for a clean and tidy home and your kid's rooms are no different. Teaching them this lesson as early as possible will help your children understand the sequence of packing up faster and have them learning and loving tidying skills they can use their whole lives.
Group toys together by type. If you have seen the movie Zootopia you will know how this works, everyone has their little ecosystem in some part of the room where they can live happily. What groups you create depends on your child and how they play with their toys, but an easy filing system is simply by toy type: stuffed toys, cars, Lego and blocks, art supplies, dolls etc.
Create habitats for them using hammocks, netting, boxes (suspended or on the floor), crates, draws, cupboards, hanging pockets, shelves and even drawstring bags. You can call each habitat: the jungle, the garage, the dollhouse, the zoo, the farm, the block room, sky city, whatever works for your kids and their imagination. It becomes really clear for them where to place each toy and why (to make them happy and keep them with their friends while they are resting, of course).
When it comes to packing up time, everyone has to go 'home'.
Lesson 2: Recycle, repurpose and reuse
Storage boxes for toys can come in just about any shape and size. Rather than buy new look for what you can reuse and repurpose in your home to create storage bins that can rest on the floor, sit on shelves and bookcases, or be attached to the wall.
Laundry baskets, boxes, old sheets, even a spice rack on the wall is a perfect way to showcase your child's favourite books.
Lesson 3: Create it your way
If you want your storage to also look great it's all too easy to paint, stick or glue decorations to create either one harmonious design (i.e. everything is red and black) or to go crazy with finger painting, splatter paint or bubble paint designs for a unique and colourful look your kids will adore making. The options for decorative ideas are endless. An older child might prefer decoupage, or you can even try photo transfers using turpentine, a lead pencil and black and white photocopy of your favourite photos.
Lesson 4: Creative labels
Not every home will need a label, some of your bins, boxes and bags will be easy to see who they are for. If it's not already really obvious you can provide a home label, so your child knows what toys the bin is for using the groups and home ideas from above.
One fun idea is to cut out magazine pictures of the toys that go inside or a photo of the toy that you take and print and stick to the front of the box or draw. You can take it one step further and even use a hot glue gun or super glue to attach a sample toy to the front, just check with your child first and work together so they agree it's an awesome idea before you go ahead with it, it is their room after all and you want them to be okay with your choices.
Lesson 5: Double down
Storage that doubles as furniture are a great way to store items neatly and save space. Bins that also seat, benches that are also tubs. Some beds provide underneath storage as well but you can always make your storage bins to go underneath if you like. You can also get bunk beds that come with built-in draws as the steps.
Lesson 6: Letting go
One of the best ways to get your kids to use their toys more and be tidier is to ask them to donate anything they no longer use. When you let go of all the surplus items it allows them to really enjoy and see their favourite toys more often. It also makes for a healthier playtime with less dust, grime and pests able to hide in a bottomless toy bin.
Lesson 7: Go public
You don't have to stay home to play, getting out to public libraries, play centres and toy library gives them access to a wide range of books and toys they can enjoy and return, meaning your home won't be cluttered by those must-have toys that get forgotten after three minutes of play. It also really saves you money and teaches your child the importance of taking care of the items (because someone else needs them after you).