If you’re a parent, you’ll know that if you don’t have a system, your child’s toys will end up all over the house. Often, if you just use a cardboard box, it will end up breaking from wear and tear. So what do you do when your little one has hundreds of toys and nowhere to put them? There are plenty of storage boxes, cabinet and bag choices available on the market.
When you’re considering a storage unit, you have a great choice depending on the space you have. You might be lucky enough to have a spare room where you can keep all their toys, or just a cupboard. You can get shelves, bins, chests, hammocks, and wardrobes to put toys in, so consider your space then consider your options.
There are a few things to bear in mind before you buy anything. Don’t forget that it won’t be you who is using the storage. It’s for your child, so firstly ensure that it is safe for use by children. Are their fingers going to get trapped in hinges? Is it very heavy or unsteady? Next, think about the height of the storage. Your little ones can only reach up to a certain point, so very high shelves will be out of the question. You should also encourage your child to put the toys away when they’ve finished with them, so it needs to be user friendly and fun for them. A good way of doing this is by having compartments for each toy which can be labelled, or have a picture of the toy on it.
If your child has lots of little toys, like cars, soldiers, dolls, or figurines, a good way of storing them is to buy Tupperware boxes with bright lids. The smaller toys in your child’s collection are the ones that get easily lost, or sucked up the vacuum cleaner. These boxes can be labelled with words or pictures and put onto shelves, and stacked one on top of the other. It’s a great idea and it stops the little toys getting mixed up. For example, you could have one box for a farmyard set, one for art supplies, and one for Barbie accessories. Make sure your child knows that the lid needs to be on properly though, as spillage can mean a messy clean up.
Another great idea for smaller toys is to buy some bright plastic buckets which can be hung onto pegs or hooks around your child’s room. The great thing about this option is that it’s cheap, and the hooks can be moved up over the years as your child grows. String bags or shoe bags are also a good idea for smaller items. These can be hung up too, or put into a drawer or a bigger box. Most of these items can be bought to match the colour scheme of your child’s room too, so it won’t look messy.
If your child is a fan of soft toys, a lovely way to store them and make a feature of them is by getting a toy hammock. This can be hung at a reasonable height in the corner of the room, and filled will cuddly creatures. For larger items, try getting a toy bin. These vary in sizes and colours. Make sure it’s not too deep. Your child will need to be able to reach all the way to the bottom. However, these cannot be stacked, and the contents might spill out. But they are good for storing medium-sized toys.
Storing very large items can be a bit tricky. But giant wicker baskets are a good idea for large stuffed toys. These can be painted to match your child’s room, making it more of a decorative piece. Shelving can also be a good way of displaying nicer-looking large toys. And chests at the foot of the bed can double up as both storage for larger items (like sports equipment), as well as seating.
There are also other ways in which to downsize, helping you store all of your children’s toys. Have a sort through of all of their toys and throw away any duplicate items. Do they really need two or three different xylophones? Ask them which their favourite is, and get rid of the others. You can also discard any that are broken or particularly old. This is a good thing to do with your child, so they don’t start to form material bonds. Ask them if they’ve played with it in the last few months and if not, suggest that they put it in the bin or give it to a friend.
Also, be selective when buying toys for your child. It’s difficult not to spoil them, but when you want to buy them something, it doesn’t necessarily need to be a toy. Maybe you could take them to a park instead for a treat. And if you do buy one, make sure it’s going to be a valuable addition, such as something they’ll learn from.
If you’re buying your child a large toy, remember that they are also difficult to store. Try and buy toys that fold up or can be disassembled in some way, so that it can be hidden away.
Another good plan is to rotate your child’s toys. If they have a lot, kids will be overwhelmed and not know what to play with. This often means that everything comes out and no ‘quality time’ is spent on one particular toy. Put half of their toys in the cupboard or in the garage away room view, and every few weeks, replace some of their toys. This will keep them feeling ‘new’ for longer.
These days, kids have more toys than they know what to do with. Having a child means having to live with mess. But you can manage the mess by creating a storage system that works for you and your kids. Make the system fun and you’ll never have to live with clutter again.