So, as I mentioned last post, I thought it might be fun to share some photos of some of our toy storage areas, so y’all can see some of the tips I mentioned in action. Because we run a home daycare, in addition to having a bunch of our own kids, we tend to have more toy storage areas than the average family! So I will just post a few pics for now, so as not to overwhelm! Here we go!
First up… our crafting area. This is an area we REALLY struggle with, and this bookcase is constantly being re-organized. I am still trying to find a way to make this area look less cluttered, but in the interest of complete honesty (I don't really have this stuff completely figured out... remember, this is a journey!) I figured I ought to show it! This bookcase is opposite a built-in cabinet which holds our homeschool supplies, in a little alcove of our kitchen, which we usually refer to as our "homeschool area." On top of the bookcase, we have plastic boxes from the dollar store, which hold painting supplies. Under that, we have blue drawer things which were purchased from IKEA at least 8 years ago. I originally purchased them to hold cds, but now they are the perfect size for small craft items. The kids' laptop is on the next shelf, and then under that we have our "drawing/writing shelf" which holds writing paper, construction paper and drawing paper in stacked paper trays, along with markers, crayons, chalk, etc. The baskets at the bottom contain small dry erase boards (and their markers) and play dough stuff. As you can see, everything is labeled, so the kids know where everything is, and where to put it back when they are finished with it.
The next two photos are from our daycare area.
This first photo shows part of our block area. As you can see, we have put pictures on the labels here, so the little ones can find what they need to play.
This is where we store our puzzles (stacked on the upper shelf) and some other things:
This shelf is in our girls’ room. I purchased these lavender-colored wooden bins at Target when Ladybug was about 2 years old. Back then, they held things like paper dolls and blocks, but now 10 years later, they hold various “big kid” craft supplies. These bins were more expensive than some. I think at the time I purchased them, they were about $15 each, but obviously they have stood the test of time, and were well worth it. These bins should last until college and beyond, as they can always be repainted if the girls get tired of the color.
So there you have it! One final thought as I end this post... Keep in mind that toy storage in your home will evolve and change as your kids grow and their needs change, so if you choose to use labels, it's a good idea to make them so they can be changed out without too much trouble if the contents of the basket changes.
Do YOU have any tips or ideas for staying organized with kids? I'd love to hear them!
UPDATE, January 2014: The above-mentioned troublesome craft area (along with the adjacent homeschool area) has been totally renovated!