My friend Nicole who writes SKETCH42, a blog about fashion, style, food, art etc. reviewed a book written by Gretchen Rubin, called “The Happiness Project.” Her review really resonated with me. In fact, the review pretty much sums up why I started this blog to begin with. Check out her review here: Book Review: The Happiness Project.
In the beginning of the book Rubin decides to tackle her clutter. As we all know from cleaning for Passover, clutter can invade our life as it detracts not only from our physical space, but from our mental clarity as well. Outer peace brings inner peace. Rubin categorizes clutter into various categories, and begins to create a system to organize her chaos. As part of the process she encountered the challenge of TOYS, a challenge all too familiar to me. After some trial and error, and with inspiration from my oh-so-organized sister, Stefanie, I’ve managed to find a system that works. Here it is for you to see! Stay Tuned for a detailed Tips & Tricks section on this one, where I will discuss my strategies.
While I am by no means the expert on toy storage or any storage for that matter, here is some of what trial and error has taught me:
1. Like with Like: Group building toys like legos and blocks together, art supplies with other crafts, books with books, puzzles with puzzles. This helps children utilize their toys optimally and it helps parents with inventory control!
2. Utilizing Corners: As you can see I have toys tucked away everywhere. Corners are a great bulk items and also those that you’d rather not stare at constantly.
3. Clear Boxes/Labels: The clear boxes/labels are great for messy/little items (crazy balls, crayons, figures etc.). The boxes also help children see what they have and make it easy for them to clean up after play. The labels help in truly giving everything a place. Even when the room looks like a tornado hit, clean up is a breeze.
4. Shelf-Spacing: In order to maximize storage space, assess what you aim to store, and then (if your storage furniture allows) adjust shelves accordingly. If you look at the photos I’ve provided you will see cars in a cabinet with each shelf stacked closely to the next. This allows me to fit more cars in that closet without piling them on top of each other. In the other closets, where the boxes are bigger, I have larger spacing between the shelves.
5. Accessibility: This is key! The toys are there for the kids to USE them. If they cannot access them, they are good for nothing. To achieve this, note how I used my coffee table to store baby toys as they are within her reach. Also note, the huge basket of balls and sports items for my son. Pamper accessibility is for me! I do not want to run upstairs or even into the next room to grab wipes and Pampers for each diaper change, this is why the box is right there with all of the toys! Also, note how items that we rarely use, (or want the kids to use!) are all the way on top of the cabinet.
7. Empty Space: I have found that leaving some space for future purchases helps with the clutter control.
6. Enhancing Play: They key to this is not to be OCD about toy storage, but it is all for the kids! They are the ones who should be getting the most fun and stimulation out of the toys. Making toys neat, easy to reach, simple, and not overwhelming really fosters the right play.
Hence, the BASKETBALL COURT in my DEN!!! Yes, my husband said I was crazy to drill that eye-sore into the wall, but I said, this is what life is about! My son will enjoy this day in and day out, what is more worth it than that?? And guess what, I was right! Sam plays basketball all the time! The court is so fun and “official” that even adults love to play on it. I even find myself asking Sam to play “5-3-1” from time to time.