If you’re a parent, you’re all too familiar with this problem: toys are taking over your entire house. Going into your child’s room is a veritable obstacle course. You’re trying to avoid walking on Lego, only to end up stepping on a toy car that takes you on a wild ride, straight into the nearest wall.
Cleaning up seems rather pointless – your house looks tidy for about half an hour after a three-hour housework session. What to do? You obviously can’t get rid of the toys; your kids are rather attached to them. The only way out is to start organizing, so here are a few ingenious and affordable toy storage solutions.
Mesh Things Up!
Mesh hammocks and mesh hanging organizers are both inexpensive and huge space savers. Put a hammock in one of the room’s corners and you have a great spot for storing soft toys. You can even turn tidying up into a game – get your children to throw the toys into the hammock and give them points for every successful throw. Mesh hammocks and hanging organizers with three or four compartments cost between $8 and $16 at Walmart.
Under the Bed Storage
Create extra storage under the bed. Most household stores carry narrow boxes that fit into that space. For kids, pick durable, clear plastic boxes with compartments. They’re ideal for storing small building blocks. Children mostly play with Lego on the floor anyway, so the boxes will be perfectly positioned. A decent sized plastic box for under the bed costs between $10 and $15.
This is a really versatile item that’s both a playmat and a bag for toys. Use it for the small toys your child plays with daily – cars, animals and so on. Once playtime is over, all it takes is just one swoop to turn the mat into a bag containing all the toys. Put it in a corner or even hang it somewhere. One such bag costs between $15 to $40, and will save you from painstakingly picking up dozens of farm animals and minuscule cars every evening. This one on Amazon, for example, is suitable both for babies and older children.
Hang a caddy on one side of your child’s bed and keep the nighttime books and toys in there. Say goodbye to digging through the entire room to find the one book or stuffed animal your child simply can’t fall asleep without. A larger bedside caddy with plenty of compartments will cost you around $15.
Collapsible Baskets or Bins
Keep a few of these throughout the house. Collapsible bins are perfect for “emergency cleaning” – you know, those moments when people call to let you know they’re dropping by in half an hour. How nice of them! So, the bins are ideal for somewhere to throw everything that’s not supposed to be on your living room floor, from toys to clothes, papers, books or anything else. The house will be ready for company in under ten minutes. The bins are between $8 to $15 each, and you can find cute and colorful ones at Ikea.
Add a Pegboard on a Wall
Create a new storage area with the help of a pegboard and an assortment of hooks and small containers. You can hang anything on it: containers for arts and crafts materials, spice shelves that hold small toys (superheroes, dolls and so on), school bags, jackets, and you could even add a drawing board to it. Pegboards vary in price depending on size and material, but you certainly don’t need an expensive, heavy duty one that holds hammers and power tools. A basic pegboard made of plastic or metal costs about $30.
How to Store Toys in a Storage Unit
Sometimes, no matter how much organizing you do, there simply isn’t enough room at home for all the stuff. Rent a storage unit to save toys, books and clothes that you don’t need right now, but you’ll be using again in the future. Here’s how to make sure that your kiddie stuff will stay in good shape while in storage:
- Take out all the batteries from the toys prior to storing them. That will prevent battery leakage and oxidation of the electrical parts of any toys which have them.
- Use clear plastic boxes with lids to store the toys. This way, you’ll be able to see what’s inside each box and to take home exactly what you need, without rummaging through a bunch of stuff.
- Of course, if you don’t want to spend money on plastic containers, you can use regular cardboard boxes. Just make sure they’re sturdy boxes that hold the toys and books properly and label each box. Write a content inventory on each of them.
- Use humidity control packs inside the boxes that contain books, clothes or plush toys to avoid any risk of damage.
Managing your kids’ clutter may feel like a full-time job sometimes, but don’t despair! Organize their stuff based on their playing habits and rhythms and involve the little ones in tidying up – things will get better in no time!