Systems

Home Challenge Week 9: How To Organize Toys

03/04/2019

When you become a parent, everything changes and I mean everything.  From your schedule to what you make for dinner to vacations.  Kids grow quickly and outgrow clothes before they get a chance to wear them more than once.  Keeping a kids room organized is another item to add to the list when becoming a […]

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When you become a parent, everything changes and I mean everything.  From your schedule to what you make for dinner to vacations.  Kids grow quickly and outgrow clothes before they get a chance to wear them more than once.  Keeping a kids room organized is another item to add to the list when becoming a parent.  This week we are discussing the best ways to organize toys.

Organizing toys

Nine weeks ago we started this challenge with creating a Command Center.  We started there because that is the foundation of your home.  From there, we created a Home Binder to help organize the documents that are used on a daily basis.  Then we moved onto the closet because you should feel amazing with what you wear.  Then we organized the pantry and kitchen.  A few weeks ago we organized the bathroom so you can have a more organized morning.  Last week we conquered the kids’ rooms.

A good portion of your home is now organized.  We started with other areas of the home first to build a foundation and get the main areas organized which is why we did the kids’ rooms last week.  Now we are getting to their toys.

Our Playroom

As a little girl, we had a bedroom in our basement that the playroom. We played there all the time.

There were white shelves that took up an entire wall, thinking about it now it’s super strange but they were extremely useful for organizing toys.

We had a big Barbie dollhouse in there, that’s really all I remember about the toys there.

My mom would always ask me to organize the toys there and I loved doing it, my love for organizing was already in the works.

It wasn’t until having our first child that we would need to organize toys again. The one thing that I didn’t remember about organizing toys as a kid was how hard it is.

Toys come in all different shapes and sizes and are so hard to organize.

In our last home, the kids didn’t have a playroom until we were getting ready to move out because it was a spare bedroom.

IKEA Trofast System

For quite some time, we kept toys in the living room.  I swore I wouldn’t do this because I didn’t want toys to be the focus of the den.  However, it’s much easier to play with your child in the living room because of the size of the room, it’s typically much bigger than a bedroom.

Our first toy organizer was the IKEA Trofast system.  The toys were organized neatly in the den but it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep them neat.  They were slowly moving outward, that’s when I realized we needed a system organizer that was vertical.

If you are ever struggling with organization, always resort to vertical storage, it’s the easiest way to improve a space.

Most of the toy organizers I found were either too expensive or I didn’t like the set-up.  When I found the IKEA Trofast system, I knew we had met our match for a few reasons.  One, it looked like a piece of furniture that could blend nicely in the den.  Two, it was affordable and last, we could customize it.

Trofast toy organizer

When I first purchased the bins I had bought two yellow bins, two green bins, two orange bins, and two pink bins.  I originally had thought the colors would be great for the kids and they could each have their own.  The system worked out fine but I didn’t like the colored bin set-up, there were too many colors.

The other mistake that I made wasn’t sorting through the toys FIRST to see the different sizes in categories.  I was at IKEA playing a guessing game trying to visualize all the categories which worked out okay but it was challenging.

Cube Organizer

In our previous house with the staggered Trofast system, we moved that toy organizer to our sons’ room.  We had a cube organizer that wasn’t being used and brought that out into the den because it matched the furniture better.

Using a cube organizer is another easy way to store toys.  We’ve had this cube organizer for quite some time before we had kids.  It was being used in the office to organize supplies.

The bins used for this organizer were purchased separately.  They were out of one color, so there was one odd man out.

cube organizer

How We Use The Trofast System

When we moved, we ended up selling the system we had because we didn’t have room for it.  I knew that we wanted that system again so once we got settled we made our way back to IKEA.

This time around we made sure not to get the staggered set-up because our son would climb up there and jump off of it.  We had even put toys on there to prevent this from happening but it didn’t matter.

I had a vision of how I wanted this set-up to be.  The playroom was going to be in our son’s room because it was extremely large, it was going to be along one side of the wall.  We were going to have the extra large bins with a mix of smaller bins.  I like to have smaller bins for the smaller toys, this way the entire large bin doesn’t have to be dumped out and they can find what they are looking for.

Toy organization

These were the categories I used for the first set-up
  • Blocks
  • Tools
  • Dolls
  • Tracks
  • Dress Up
  • Puzzles
  • Play
  • Cars

I used our label maker with extra large font and all caps so it was easier to see the label.

This set-up lasted for about a few months.  Our daughter had asked for some toys to be stored in her room, which I completely understood.  Her room wasn’t as big and had a bigger bed so I had to figure out the best way to organize toys in her room.

The middle toy organizer could fit in her room in the corner so I moved it there.  I wanted it to match her room too so I asked my husband if he could spray paint it gray.  Then I figured out which toys she wanted in her room and which bins would need to be moved.

toy organizer

That’s the beauty of this system, you can move these bins around as many times as you want.  When we purchased this system we also got the same colored bins which made it much easier to organize.

Once we moved the organizer out of our son’s room, I moved the vertical storage systems together so they were side-by-side.  We had two storage crates that weren’t be used that I had my husband spray paint too so there was a little bit of color in his room too.

Toy organizer

When we changed out the systems, I also changed out the labels.  The labels from the label maker were too small.  I used clear adhesive label tape with a Sharpie oil-based paint marker.  I put labels on these bins because I learned my lesson from last time where I wrote directly on the bin.  It was hard to remove the ink and took some serious scrubbing.

toy organizer

How To Organize Your Playroom

Organizing your toys will be slightly different than all of the other areas of your home.  It depends if you are currently using a toy organizer or not.

First: Gather all of your toys

Get all of your toys together in one space.  If you are currently using a toy organizer, empty it out completely.

Second: Purge toys

Get rid of anything that is broken or is missing pieces.  Also get rid of the toys they won’t play with.  Another option instead of getting rid of the toys is rotating the toys.  You can keep them in a storage bin that they can’t find and rotate them through every few months.  It will be like Christmas all over again for them 🙂

Third: Sort by category

This will likely be the most challenging part of organizing toys.  Keep the categories high level and combine when necessary.  For example, cars and trucks can be grouped into one category.  Here are some examples of categories:

  • Blocks
  • Cars/Trucks
  • Dolls
  • Puzzles
  • Learning toys
  • Action Figures
  • Dress Up
  • Small toys
  • Balls
  • Books
  • Misc.

Once you have them sorted by category, then decide is that category small, medium, or large.  This will help you when you are getting ready to purchase a toy organizer.

Fourth: Measure your space

If you don’t have a toy organizer, you’ll want to measure the space before purchasing one.  It’s an annoying step but worth it because it’s more annoying making a return.

Fifth: Purchase a toy organizer

I personally recommend the IKEA Trofast system because it’s worked well for us.  When you are shopping for your organizer, keep the size of the toys in mind so you can by the right storage bins.

Another toy organizer option is the cube organizers.

Sixth:  Assemble the toy organizer

If you purchase the IKEA Trofast system, it will take you about 30-45 minutes for each piece.  It’s really not that bad, especially for an IKEA purchase.  If you’ve ever purchased from IKEA you know that it can take hours.

When putting the bins in place, start with the small ones first and work your way down to the larger ones.  If you have books, organize them by their spine color.  Organizing books by spine color are not only aesthetically appealing, but it also helps teach your kids colors too.

Seventh: Label

Once you have everything assembled, label each bin.  This is an important step, especially when keeping toys organized.  If you are using a Sharpie oil-based paint marker for labeling, let it dry!  I repeat, let it dry.  If you don’t, it will smudge.  All you really need is a few minutes.

Eighth: Maintain

This last step is really important when keeping toys organized because it’s going to change.  Christmas and birthdays happen.  Kids grow and their toys grow with them.  After each holiday or birthday, go through the toys and purge.  Once you are done, change out the label.  Have a label with you when you are going through the purge to make it easier on yourself.

Product Recommendations

I highly recommend the IKEA Trofast system, they don’t have an affiliate program so I’m not able to list the exact products here but these are the links to see what we use.

Trofast Organizer 1 – This is the middle toy organizer used now in our daughter’s room that we have spray painted gray.

Trofast Organizer 2 – This is the shelf organizers used in our son’s room, we purchased two of them.

Cube Organizer

Storage Cubes

Sharpie oil-based paint marker

Mr. Label

*affiliate links used.  I may receive a commission if you click on the product link selected, there is no cost to you by clicking on the link.  I only recommend products I use or trust, see full disclosure here.

How Long Will It Take

Plan for four hours if you are doing this for the first time.  Block off enough time in your schedule to tackle this project.  If you do purchase the Trofast system, give yourself more time than less.

We have a system in place so this past Christmas I was maintaining our current system. It took me an hour to go through all the toys.  This also includes changing out the labels.

Conclusion

Organizing toys in your home will make it easier for your kids to find the toys they want to play with.  It will also make it easier when it comes to clean up time.  Establishing a well-organized toy system will help keep your house clean.

Gather through all the toys and start purging.  Once that is done, sort by category.  Then find an organizer that will work in your space.  Label and maintain it.

Download your free checklist to get your toys organized today! Download

What’s been your biggest challenge when it comes to organizing toys?

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