Seven Solutions for Wrangling Your Kid’s Toys

Jon Fesmire |

Have you ever walked into your child’s room and felt the shock would stop your heart? I’m talking about seeing toys strewn everywhere: Legos all over the floor, cars or dolls among them, plus toys on the bed, coming out of drawers, and basically laying everywhere except where they belong.

Well, then, it’s time to look into some organizing options!

To Start

First, the longer you leave messes, the worse they’ll get. Also, it can be tough to get kids to clean. With these two facts in mind, here’s the practical solution (though it will take willpower).

Clean up those toys every day and have your child help. You might also ask your child’s school if they sing a song during clean up time and learn it.

Places to Put Things

Of course, you’ll need places to put your child’s toys. If you don’t have toy bins and so on, you can certainly be excused. After all, as adults, we’re used to having our beds, dressers, a nightstand in our bedrooms, and that’s about it.

A child’s toys need more than that, or they’ll end up all over the floor. Don’t forget about vertical space, which means things like shelves and stacking containers.

  • Book Shelves - Whatever your child’s age, chances are, he or she has books. Books on the floor will get stepped on, bent, and otherwise take damage, while shelved books stay in good shape. Invest in some short book shelves, perhaps three to four feet high. Make sure these are sturdy. Some cheaper priced bookshelves can fall apart easily, and that’s not what you want in the room of a child who may climb on them and get hurt.

  • Toy Shelves - Toy bins can be great, but can also be a hassle. You might get one big toy box or bin for most of your child’s toys. The problem with this is that big bins, when full, make it tough to find a specific toy. Your child will go looking for that wand or truck and have to pull everything else out onto the floor. Instead, consider smaller bins placed on shelves. Each bin can hold one or more related toys. You can use bookshelves for this, even ones that match the shelves you’re actually using for books, or you might consider something like this toy organizer, that puts the bins at a slant, and makes it easy to see each toy.

  • Specialized Shelves - It’s all about the shelves! Yes, that’s how we make vertical space. When it comes to making specialized shelves, consider what your child likes best. Is it a collection of medium-sized toy cars? Then make a toy case where each shelf is tall enough for the cars, but not much taller, and line the vehicles up on each shelf. Does he or she have a lot of bigger toys, like stuffed animals? Consider making a sturdy case where shelves are a foot or so apart.

  • Mesh Hangers - Mesh hangers are generally used for laundry, but they also work great for light toys. Hang them from the ceiling, and close enough to a wall so that the bedroom still feels roomy. These are ideal for stuffed animals of all sorts.

  • Over the Door Hanger - Still thinking vertically, we come to over-the-door hangers. These can be great for all sorts of things in your home, like storing laundry supplies in the laundry room, or hanging shoes in your closet. Use one on the door in your child’s room as yet another great place for stuffed animals. They also work well for notebooks and other art supplies, like crayons or felt-tipped pens.

  • Under the Bed Storage - Yes, in some cases, horizontal storage is good, too. Does your child’s bed come with a drawer underneath? If so, this is a great place to put toys. You can even put several boxes in it, with each box containing a certain type of toy. This might include blocks in one, Legos in another, and marbles in a third. If the bed doesn’t have this, you can make or purchase a container to fulfill this purpose, or consider buying your child a bed with such a drawer.

  • Cloth Beach or Shopping Bags - Another idea for the back of your child’s door? Hanging cloth bags. You can often buy these for cheap as shopping bags at stores like Trader Joe’s, or you can shop specifically for beach bags. Get three bags and install three hooks on your child’s door. Make sure the hooks don’t stick out too far, as you don’t want your child to run into them. The hooks should go one at the top, one in the middle, and one toward the bottom, a couple of feet off the ground. You can then fill each bag with a specific type of item: Duplo blocks in one, dolls in another, stuffed animals in the third, perhaps. When your child wants to play, he or she can take down the desired bag (or ask you to do it), and easily put everything back into it when done.

These suggestions should get you started on making sure your own child’s room stays tidy when playtime is over. Remember that your child will need your help cleaning, so work together. Also, ask your child for input about what colors he or she wants for the storage, what sort of storage he or she likes, and so on. You want your child to like the bedroom changes and to feel excited about keeping things clean.