The New Year means setting new goals. One goal that we always have on our “to do” list is to be more organized, especially when it comes to our children’s belongings. Too much clutter leads to organizational chaos and children books, stuffed animals and art supplies often become traps for a disorganized mess. Children are more likely to use their toys when they can easily access them and they are more likely to clean them up when there are child-friendly storage options in place. Here are some simple ideas for organization and storage that are low cost and that use things you probably already have on hand.
Three things to remember regarding storage of toys in children’s rooms:
- Less is more – it is better to put out a smaller number of items for children to choose from rather than giving them access to everything all at once. Toys that aren’t being used can be stored in closets and then rotated in and out for the child’s use. This keeps the toys fresh and interesting for the child and gives them a chance to really explore a toy’s full potential.
- Child friendly means user friendly – Storage systems need to be at a child’s eye level and simple to access if they are going to be consistently used by a child.
- What you see is what you get – storage containers should allow a child to easily see what it contains without having to open it or dig through things to get to it.
Organizing Children’s Books
- Challenge: when children’s books are on a bookshelf or stacked in a basket they are very difficult to see and access by the child and are likely to get worn or torn.
- Solution: use repositionable hooks (command hooks) and old curtain rods, tension rods or even dowels to create a “book hanger”. (Books are displayed by hanging them over the curtain rod).
- Benefits: Hang at child’s height, can create multiple rows, can even put on wall by bed, books are easily seen and accessible, can rotate books in and out to keep them fresh and inviting, temporary and repositionable storage idea
Organizing Stuffed Animals
- Challenge: Stuffed animals seem to multiple over night and are usually thrown in a large basket, tossed on a bed or crammed into a cargo net precariously strung from the ceiling.
- Solution: use repositionable hooks and wire baskets to corral a small number of stuffed animals that are kept at a child’s eye level
- Benefits: Hang at child’s height, can hang multiple baskets, stuffed animals are easily seen and accessible, child can easily put away the stuffed animals, can rotate animals in and out to keep them fresh and inviting, temporary and repositionable storage idea
Organizing Art Materials
- Challenge: Art materials usually get thrown into a big plastic container and everything gets mixed together. This results in the art supplies often getting broken, drying out or getting buried.
- Solution: Cut down an over-the-door plastic shoe holder and hang it at child’s eye level from repositionable hooks. Place a reasonable amount of supplies in each pocket, separating by like kinds of supplies.
- Benefits: Hang at child’s height, can make storage holder longer as child grows taller, art materials are easily seen and accessible, child can easily put away the materials and they stay intact and usable, temporary and repositionable storage idea, can use this storage idea for other items like toy cars, dolls, musical instruments, etc.
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