My golden rules for toy storage

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Storage has been a big issue in every home I’ve lived in. I have a lot of stuff, what can I say? But since having kids, the need for hardworking storage to keep on top of all that extra stuff that suddenly enters your home has gone through the roof.

Ever since I started this blog, with its eye firmly on family-friendly living, I’ve been wanted to tackle storage, and in particular toy storage because I know how enormous a challenge it is to contain all that plastic clutter. My plan was to discuss solutions based on photographs of my own, perfectly organised home, sharing the clever ideas we’ve come up with to keep the clutter under control. But if you had to wait for my home to be so perfectly organised I could photograph it, I suspect my storage blog posts would never actually happen. Because although I’m a treasure trove of good ideas and have a to do list as long as my arm, getting things finished and ready to photograph for the blog just seems to be a step too far.

So I’ve had a rethink. Instead of basing these posts on things in our own home, I’m going to share all the tips in my head, along with photographs of the clever storage ideas I’ve spotted in other people’s homes (and maybe sometimes my own too). Tips for toy storage, how to organise all the crafting paraphernalia, smart ideas to keep kids’ bedrooms in order – these are all things I’m aiming to cover in a regular Friday slot (a little project for the weekend?).

Let’s get started with my five golden storage rules:

1. BE CREATIVE
Put things to different uses. Just because a store says something’s for one room doesn’t mean it won’t work elsewhere. Bathroom and kitchen wall cabinets can offer great storage options for bedrooms or playrooms.

2. KEEP IT PRACTICAL
Of course it’s important that it looks good, but not at the expense of practicality. I loved some pictures I saw on Pinterest of old step ladders used as shelving but then quickly pictured the twins climbing the steps and hurling themselves off the top.

3. THINK MULTIPURPOSE
I’m talking low shelving that doubles as a bench, a chest that can also be a coffee table, a sofa with hidden storage under the seats. Make every piece of furniture in your home work hard. While you’re at it, make your redundant space work harder too. Look at the backs of doors, any plain walls, space under beds and put them all to use.

4. LABELS ARE YOUR FRIEND
Get your toy storage boxes and baskets labelled to make tidying up easier at the end of the day – 30 minutes max after bedtime. I categorise each box (eg. farm animals, play food, doctors kit) and label it up with my Dymo label maker. Pictures are great for younger kids so they can help tidy up too. I’ve been meaning to make picture labels for about two years but in the meantime the words will have to do.

5. CHANGE IT UP
Your kids needs and what they want to play with will keep changing so accept you’ll have to review your storage solutions every few months. This is why I’m always wary of expensive bits of storage because I never know whether it’s what I’ll still need six months down the line. And be ruthless about getting rid of the toys they don’t play with anymore. Some families (not ours, I have to admit) follow a sensible rule – for every new toy that enters the house, an old one has to leave.

What are your own golden storage rules?

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6 Comments

  1. February 26, 2013 / 2:50 pm

    Ditto on the picture labelling!
    I did a post about what my kids play with before xmas ( which also shows our toy ‘storage’ (in a loose sense of the word) – and I’ve been gradually taking away toys ever since, the more there is the less they actually play with. Then I can rotate toys back in later and they are suddenly in love them all over again. Kinda works!

    Link to my post if that’s ok!?
    http://www.somethingimade.co.uk/2012/11/what-toys-do-your-kids-play-with.html

    • Heather
      Heather
      Author
      March 2, 2013 / 6:56 am

      That sounds like a very good plan – I may well give it a go. Thanks for the link.

  2. May 30, 2013 / 12:27 pm

    Remember that additional features, such as bookshelves, will add a little to the cost of the box.

  3. August 13, 2015 / 10:10 am

    I never did picture labeling before, but now I’m literally the label maniac, haha. May be it’s the fact that we moved twice for the last year the made me so organized, but I think labeling is one of the most important parts of organizing. Your golden rules are great!

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