Managing toys with grace.
Time for some kid’s toy organization! How to get toys under control!
It’s so HARD! One of the most wonderfully evil privileges of this modern world.
They provide hours of entertainment and HOURS of clean-up.
Back in 2018, our little family doubled unexpectedly. We had a 2-year-old, a 1-year-old, and we were expecting our third. By God’s grace, we were surprised by the adoption of our oldest! She was 3 years old. So I quickly realized that for me to survive their toddler years I needed simple systems that allowed lots of grace.
Grace for me. Grace for them.
In 2019 we moved from Colorado to Oklahoma. We purged so. many. toys. Even still; we moved into our new home with no storage for said toys. I undoubtedly would have to get this under control quickly or all chaos would break loose.
Our new house needed renovation from top to bottom. After a long day of laying flooring or painting; no one had the energy to clean toys. Not only that- but we were going to have to build the storage and system for the toys. Add that to the to-do list!
And so our toy system was born!
Where to put toys?
I quickly decided I didn’t want toys in bedrooms. Our bedrooms are tiny and I would rather them play together in common areas anyhow. So, what do you do with a bunch of toys that you don’t keep in bedrooms? We have lots of group toys! Wooden trains, legos, dress-up, dolls, and play dough. You name it- we probably have it! I found a closet in the house that we didn’t desperately need for something else. To be honest; my girls don’t have a closet. I’d rather toys be put up than have clothes specifically in a closet. But that’s a whole other system! If you don’t have a closet, you could use a large cabinet or simply an open shelving unit in a garage!
My favorite tools:
To be honest, I am not a super big woman, I also, unfortunately, do not have super strength. Tools are super important to me because it determines *if* I can get a project done by myself and how quickly I can get it done. If it takes a ton of effort to add and remove screws, it’s going to take me that much longer to complete a project. So basically, power tools make or break my solo projects! Here is a list of my favorite tools that are powerful but not too heavy.
(This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click on the links with no additional cost to you! As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This income helps this stay-at-home mama provide for her family!)
- Impact drill
Y’all, I’m sure theres better drills out there. But having this impact drill has been a game changer for my projects! No more having to rely on my weight and strength to get the job done. This little drill is my most invaluable tool and is perfect for this stay at home mama!
- Drill bits
I got these drill bits shortly after I got my drill. They have been better than any off brand I ever used! No more slipping in the screw! My one complaint is sometimes it is hard to get a bit out of the extender.
- Circular and reciprocating saw
These 2 little saws are not super heavy duty, but they have come in handy for indoor projects. I dont have a shop or garage so especially during winter months, my kitchen becomes my shop. These saws have served me well for the past 5 years!
How to get toys under control:
I started by building a bench into the bottom of a closet. The room the closet is in is the original master bedroom in the house. It was the biggest room and we decided to turn it into a den instead. But, as always, I was on a budget! I look forward to the challenge. So I set out to figure out the most efficient way to build this storage. I built the bench out of MDF board and reinforced it with 2×4’s across the top. The bench has two compartments. 1/4 of it holds all of our couch blankets and 3/4’s of it holds all of our board games. MDF is not my preferred material- but it has lasted 3 years of my kids climbing, jumping, and standing on it. Definitely worth the $40 I spent on it!
Pick your paint
I picked out a fun colored paint from Walmart. I got a semi-gloss so that I could easily wipe it down. It has stood the test of time! 3 years of wiping dirty little footprints from it and it still looks new. Next, I scrounged up thick pieces of wood for shelving from other renovation projects around the house. I painted all of the shelves white. These shelves are what holds our toys.
And last but not least- and honestly my favorite part. Bookshelves! I loved the idea of these shelves and decided to go for it. I spent about $26 on materials from our local lumber mill. They only had 1×4’s and originally I was worried they would be a little too deep. But they weren’t! They have been perfect! The back and bottom are 1×4’s measured to the length of my wall and the front is a 1×2. I stained most of the wood but was on a time crunch and did not have the time to sand out the bottom that had ink stamped on them from our lumber mill. I ended up painting the underside the color of our wall (agreeable gray from Sherwin Williams) and it camouflages perfectly.
Time to organize toys!
Once everything was built I was able to put everything away! I bought the gray bins at target (link here) and the clear ones from a hodgepodge of places (Walmart, Amazon, Dollar General). Eventually, I would love all solid bins; but budget-wise this is what works for us now. Each set of toys has a bin they belong to. It makes it so simple for kids to put things away. If we find a lone lego in the house, they know to go put it in the lego bin. A standard rule in our home is that before they get a new toy bucket out they need to put the current one they have away. It doesn’t always work that way. They are littles and they are learning. But boy, toys have been so much easier for our family since putting them up this way!
All in all this project was fairly easy and provided a lot of peace for our family. It is much easier for us to be gracious with each other when there are clearly defined boundaries of where toys belong and easy ways to put them away quickly! I am thrilled that even our 2 year old can put his toys away easily!
I would LOVE to see your toy systems! Please share with me below! Happy building!