Friday Favorites · Organization · Toddlers

My Solution to the Endless Mess of Toys

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I was ready for a change, ready to find a solution to the never ending disaster of our place–the toy mess. I started by weaning out a large majority of them. A large majority?? You would never know! There were still so many nice ones I knew the kids did not “need” but could not bring myself to part with. They were great toys, just not so great constantly strewn across every floor.

I had a solution!!

I organized them all into different categories (cars, blocks, dress up, misc.), placing each in its designated plastic bin.

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I placed the bins on the shelves in the kids’ closet, far beyond their reach. Being clear though, they have an idea of what is inside of each, and this is how our new “play time” process now goes. They choose which bin they want to play with and open it up like it is Christmas day.

When they want a new set of toys they have to put all the former ones back in the bin, which they do happily, excited to discover the next treasure of goodies.

I cannot tell you the difference this has made to the mess around here! I am in complete awe as I sit and write this post. I can actually see my carpet–my soft, beautiful carpet. There are certain toys which always remain down. The large ones and some of the kid’s absolute favorites stay in easy reach for them during the day. To pick up these stragglers takes only a few minutes though.

This is perhaps something done by the masses, and took me “only” three years to discover. Nevertheless, I feel this part of our life has been transformed, and I am definitely one happy, and clean, momma!

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What about you?? What type of organization do you use to keep the toy mess under control? I would love to hear some more ideas!

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41 thoughts on “My Solution to the Endless Mess of Toys

    1. I have thought of Christmas too! I think I may try to wean out at least a bin or two to fill with all the new things. πŸ™‚ Give it a try!!! I think you will be just as elated with the results as I am! πŸ™‚

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        1. Yes, I completely agree! I have noticed their imaginations coming alive when there are only a few things to play with. Plus, they seem to lean on each other more too. With less toys around, a sibling can suddenly be noticed as a great playmate. πŸ™‚

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    1. We have the shelving unit too Sarah! It is where I throw their “favorite” toys for easy access whenever they want. When I had all the toys in these the kids would dump out the shelves and leave chaos everywhere. πŸ˜‰ Good for yours keeping things more tidy!

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  1. Such a great idea, Sasha! I think I will try to implement this soon. Cause you are right! Toys can totally overtake the house and for me it makes a frazzled momma. PLUS, what a great lesson for the kids to learn–to pick up their current toys/project before starting another. I hope you are enjoying the cleanliness in your new home! Great post! πŸ™‚

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    1. Marla, start early! I wish I had done this back when my daughter was your son’s age. I think even though he is still young, he will find the fun in throwing the toys back in when he watches you doing the same. πŸ™‚ I am greatly enjoying the bare carpets right now! πŸ˜‰

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  2. Ah yes,we had this sort of setup too. We had the cubbies for easy access but tons of clear bins separated by sort of toy for the bigger sets (read that MESSIER) toys like LEGOs, etc. Very good idea, Sasha. Take control back from the toys! Next project is you tell them you have to make room for new toys at Christmas so they have to decide what they want to get rid of…don’t forget to mention that the more they get rid of the more room they have for new stuff! πŸ™‚

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    1. Always wise to have LEGOs in the clear bins! πŸ™‚ What a great way to explain why we should donate some of our toys come Christmas time! My kids are still largely in the “mine” stage, so I do think “donate out of the goodness of your heart,” will do it yet. πŸ™‚

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  3. We use square clear bins with lids and wheels from Ikea’s Children Dept. All have labels and stack up nicely in the back of our closets. We enjoy wheeling them around the house and rotating our toy treasures, too! And in our garage we have seasonal toys in larger bins. Our house would be a total mess if we didn’t put some away. It is never ending!

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    1. We are complete lovers of all things Ikea. What a great idea to have them with wheels! It really is never ending, and I only have two small toddlers! I do not know how mothers of large families do it!! πŸ™‚

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  4. Lots of 3 drawers storage containers and baskets in my girls’ room. It’s easier to contain the mess when toys are in smaller baskets/containers instead of in one big bin. It’s also nice to have special areas in the room: doll area, play kitchen and table area, dress up area, etc.

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  5. Great idea! I’ve been meaning to try something similar… thanks for the inspiration to actually do it! Also wish me luck because I am organizationally challenged and my 2 year-old is a tornado. πŸ™‚

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    1. Haha! Tricia, you have definitely met your disorganized momma, tornado kids match! I think it is why I was in such shock at my accomplishment! πŸ™‚ I really hope you give it a try!!

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  6. We have an “older child” solution in our home… if its on the floor after 7pm it’s mine for a month! Tris hates loosing toy privileges so he watches the clock and about 6:30 he packs up everything. Not as neat and well organised as your solution but at least there are no hallway Lego booby traps!

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    1. Yes, it has been so much fun to watch their imaginations soar when they only have a select few to chose from. I really think they simply feel overwhelmed otherwise. Yeah, give it a try!! And let me know how it goes! πŸ™‚

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  7. I was in the midst of relocating to a new house and that was when I bought a new chest of drawers from IKEA – you know the ones with the plastic containers that slide through as drawers?

    I then organized their toys by category; cars and trucks, etc. but they’re within his reach so every now and then they would be all over his bedroom floor.

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    1. This was my problem. My son would dump out all the toys for the simple sake of dumping. My daughter would because she “had to make a fort” with the bins! πŸ˜‰

      Yeah for IKEA though! We are obsessed with that store!

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  8. How perfect! I need to get organized around here, but like you, I feel like it’ll take three years (or more)! For now the part that bugs me most about our mess is all the survivor pieces of toys that are long gone. Random puzzle pieces, books with two pages left, the trucks that the dogs tore to bits but somehow ended up bag in the toy bin.. Glad you figured out how to make your days go more smoothly!

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    1. Haha, we had a LOT of that going on too. It was the good think about moving–I weaned out all the random pieces. πŸ™‚ Take it slowly if need be, one random puzzle piece at a time. πŸ˜‰

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  9. What a great idea! My kids are bigger now – so they, of course, make even bigger messes. Unbelievable! We have bins and baskets labeled for everything, but somehow at clean up time, they all become mindless dolts (yes, my adorable, loveable, brilliant children do an excellent dolt impression) who can’t figure out where things go. I spend a lot of evenings standing over them, saying things like “Okay, great job with the cars. Now let’s pick up all the My Little Ponies. ALL OF THEM!” AH, the joys of motherhood!
    Keep up the great work.

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    1. Haha! What is it about clean up time that changes our little geniuses into mindless creatures?! πŸ™‚ Mine often turn on the “selective hearing” mode, like they are SO into what they are doing at the moment they cannot hear a single word coming out of my mouth. πŸ™‚

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  10. What a great system! I’m on the cusp of a fall cleaning fit. I see a trip to Savers in our very near future. Clothes, books, and a few toys–we don’t have a whole lot yet. But I might have to steal your system for what stays!

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