Need Some Help on How to Organize All These TOYS!!!

Updated on January 08, 2011
R.K. asks from Lewisville, TX
12 answers

I'm just stumped on how to go about this. I have a 3yo daughter, Emily and 18mos old twins, Maddie and Jackie. MnJ play with all of Emily's toys, and they also have their own toys.

Emily is good at pulling out whatever toy she wants to play with, and put it away after. MnJ still love dumping things all over, and playing with everything. I, myself, love having things organized, so having toys all over, and different pieces everywhere drives me nuts! I mostly want to organize all the little pieces that belong together, together. I was thinking of a cube bookcase where I can organize all the small pieces, so if they want to play with something, all the pieces will be there. I'm just afraid it's going to be more of a fun dumping thing for MnJ to have fun with. I don't know if I should get this, or just a big toy box to dump everything in, and let them take toys out, and have pieces tossed in there without being organized.

Right now I am using a pack n play for all the toys in the playroom. So far, I'm not a fan, and EVERYTHING gets dumped in there... ahhh, motherhood is never boring!! :)

Would love to find out what you moms do?

Thanks for all your responses

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So What Happened?

I ran out today, yes in the middle of a snowstorm and bought some 16qt storage containers, and (2) 9 cube bookcases with bins at Target. I'm hoping to organize tonight and relax in an organized playroom, for once, tomorrow.

Thank you again for all your help!

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answers from Chicago on

Shove everything in the closet. :)
Actually I do have one of those 9 box storage cubes from Target. Its really cute. I got one to match the colors of my daughters room. It helps organize all the little pieces. She has a My Little Pony drawer, a Barbie drawer, a Polly Pocket drawer, etc.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Redding on

I got the cubbie systems from Home Depot with the canvas bins. The kids know what goes i each and try hard to keep them organized. A friend of mine actually took pictures of what goes in each bin at her house and taped it to each bin, great idea for the younger ones. Below is a link to the cubbie system that I got (shows it used vetically, but I use it horizontally as it is safer for the little ones).

Another option is below, but they are smaller and seem to get our grown faster because of the character relation.

P.S. I am a totally organizing freak to a fault almost. This was great way to get the kids involved in helping. :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I use bags. Either tote bags or those plastic zipper bags that linens come in. my kids have a ton of little toys as well and I feel like they should be kept together, like all the toy story toys together and all the pirates together, etc,... It makes clean up easier and then little things don't end up on the bottom of the toy box, never to be seen again. It helps keep me sane, with three little ones of my own. And the babies can't just dump. Good luck.



answers from Chicago on

I think you might want to invest in a toy cabinet that can be baby locked. I'm talking a piece of furniture like a tv armoire. That way you can get bins for all of the sets of toys to be organized and pull them out one at a time. Keep the bigger items in a toy box for the kids to pull out as needed. Then when your 3yr old wants a game or some set, you can take it out of the cabinet for her and relock it.

We do have a bookcase in our playroom for all the DVDs, along with a toy box which is a dumping ground and some open cubbie style bins for baby bottles, balls and Happy Meal toys. The big kids keep their favorite toys up in their rooms. Games and puzzles are kept in a separate armoire out of the playroom. And finally sets like beads, moon sand, play doh are all kept out of reach too. The kids can ask for them and I pull them down. They are played with and cleaned up and put back up high.

I have wanted an armoire for the playroom for just this reason. It's a pain to have things stored in so many different places!

Also, I've found that a BIG HELP is letting people know what my kids like when we send out invitations. Not a wish list, but something simple like "Susie loves Barbies or arts and crafts". As a parent I appreciate buying kids something THEY like and also appreciate getting things that add on to sets we already have instead of having to house more "new" sets of toys.



answers from Dallas on

I love the cube shelves...I bought mine at Ikea. I have them in both my son's room and my daughter's. We have like toys and all their parts in each tub. My daughter is 2 and on days when she is plundering more than usual, I can stack some of the tubs out of her reach to minimize the mess. For a few of the toys I found some tubs with handles at Christmas time last year...they were meant for organizing wrapping equipment. Those are really nice too because the kids can carry their toys to where they are playing and clean up is easy. We use those for the toys they drag around most.



answers from Binghamton on

I have a 4yo and 19 month old. Our playroom looks like a toy store! I have a tall bookshelf with books on the bottom and any toys with really small pieces in rubbermaid shoe boxes (walmart- 98 cents) on the higher shelves. Then, I have 2 of the 9-cube organizers with bins across the bottom with blocks, cars, etc. I keep them on the bottom so that when they are pulled out they don't fall to the floor and dump everywhere. Then the rest of the organizer is open toy storage. It works really well because both kids can reach all the cubes and it is really easy for them to put their toys away. There is nothing more difficult that keeping toys organized. The best thing is to find a system that will enable your kids to find everything and pick up by themselves.



answers from New York on

I have 2 girls (ages 2 and 3) and I store at least 75% of the toys we have (in the basement) and rotate what I put in the playroom approx. every other month. I, too, have a 9 cube storage shelf with baskets... usually 2 of the cubes hold books (which are also rotated). Each basket has a category, i.e. toy food, blocks, fairies, etc. When it's time to clean up, each of the girls (and mommy) is in charge of a category. Also, if a certain category has tons of pieces-- like food/kitchen stuff-- I rotate items within the category so there isnt way too many things. When we switch out the toys, everything is new again! To make my life complicated, I try to be sure I have out a selection of dramatic play, building toys, things for the magnet board, fine motor manipulatives. I think that, although this is a lot of work, the girls are more productive and motivated.



answers from New York on
I love these, but don't have them. I'm saving up to get combinations or are trying to find cheaper ones. Some online gardening stores have it and other stores sell it for various reasons. I like these better than shelves, so the stuff doesn't fall out. Good investment! You could also take a picture of a piece or of the toy as a whole and stick it to the bins, so they know which bin hold which toy. I work with kids, so I can tell you this will help and it's educational!

You got me going! They're called mud bins adn I found them on cheaper.



answers from Colorado Springs on

You're right in thinking that at 18 months, dumping is practically an official sport. The rule for that is: dump one thing at a time! Then put it back, and you can dump something else.

And they're not quite old enough for disciplined putting-away, although you can begin teaching them by making a game of it.

All the same, I'd be inclined to organize some, as opposed to having one big toy box. My DIL has a plastic chest of drawers where the toys with little pieces live. My granddaughter (at 16 months) knows that's where these toys belong - and sometimes she gets them there. The pieces don't always get in the right drawers, but that's just a little mess to sort out later on when there's time.

You might think about taking stock of how many toys you have, and putting some away, assuming you have the storage space. If you could get out toys on a rotating system - say, rotate them once a week - theoretically your children could play with all of them, over time, and you'd have less clutter.

You're going to have some clutter no matter what you do. It comes with the territory. You'll do well to tame it to the point where it won't drive you so crazy. Continue to teach your children to love putting things back in "the places where they live."



answers from Phoenix on

I organize my daycare's toys with little pieces in labeled Rubbermaid boxes with lids on shelves. That way everything has a home and it's easy to see if all the parts are accounted for at clean-up. It also helps control how much is out at once and teaches small children how to sort toys. I have had my daycare for almost 8 years now and have never had to get rid of a toy because crucial parts were missing. Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

My inlaws found a stylish bamboo trunk at Costco that they keep all of the grandkids toys in. The lid is lightweight enough that the kids can open it, and if it happens to fall on them they won't get hurt. When the kids leave, all toys get put back into the trunk and the lid closed.



answers from New York on

I just got one of the cube storage things too so we will see if it works. But it helps with my kids to keep the things with lots of little pieces out of reach, at least of my 2 year old. Some games and arts and crafts things are in child locked cabinets. Also a stuffed animal hammock is good for storage (although my 4 year old son likes to dump that too).

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