Tame the Toys! The Best Solutions for Keeping Toys Tamed

The holidays are officially behind us, but the legacy of all of the new toys brought into the home lingers on. Even if you had the toys under control a few months ago, between Christmas, birthdays, and visits from grandparents toys can quickly take over your home. We have some real solutions to tame the toys and keep your living area fit for co-habituation of little kids and adults alike.

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Baskets: I love baskets for storing toys since they can blend in with just about any decor, can easily be moved from room-to-room, and can be re-purposed once toys start being replaced with sports equipment and accessories. Lorena Canals makes gorgeous, soft baskets in a variety of colors and styles that will match any room and won't break. Other options include wicker or wood from just about any home good store. Great deals on these types of baskets can also be found at many second-hand stores.   

Indoor/Outdoor Storage Bench: This is a practical solution that offers plenty of storage and can double as playroom seating. This option from Little Tikes is sturdy enough to withstand any toddler.  It's unobtrusive enough to reside indoors, but also suitable for outdoor use if your family has a set of “outside” toys for the yard or patio. I love this bench because it simply cannot be damaged and has a comes with a couple of bins that fit under the bench to help stay organized and store little toys.  This storage bench also comes in white and smaller sizes.

Wooden Storage Bench: Despite the best of intentions, toys inevitably migrate beyond the playroom. Without a good storage option in the place where toys are actually played with, there is little chance they will actually be put away. The Austin Toy Box  available in a variety of colors from Kidkraft is a beautiful and simple option that looks like a kid-sized version of adult furniture so it will fit in well in the room and can double as seating.  As a bonus, options include personalization and seating cushions.  

Box it Up:  A simple and really inexpensive way to tame the toys is buy some clear shoe and boot boxes in a variety of sizes like these from the Container Store. I love these boxes because kids can see what is them easily. Some parents also find it helpful to print out small pictures of what belongs in each box so that even very young children and help with clean-up.  Although not as cute as baskets, these boxes are great because they can also be moved easily from room to room and can be re-purposed when no longer needed for toys. They are also a good choice for small spaces because they stack easily and can be stored easily under beds or sofas.

Don't Hide it: Some toys are so cute they should be displayed instead of hidden. Classics like a Playmobil school bus or fire truck deserve a place of honor on an open shelf or bookcase. Lego creations that your child loves can also be stored in plain sight. For years  Lego Friends Heartlake Hotel was the primary decor in my daughter's room and my son has a Lego Millennium Falcon he built a long time ago proudly displayed on his bookcase.Other toys can also be stored in the open.  Groups of similarly colored toys, like toys featuring primary colors or soft pastels, can easily double as decor when stored out in the open. Use existing shelving or get some floating shelves or bookcases.  

Bag It: My kids love games and puzzles with small pieces. We used to keep board games in the boxes they came in until I discovered that many games will fit in a gallon-sized zip-lock bag. This doesn't work for all games, but just replacing the boxes we can with a bag has made it much easier to store and access board games. This method also works well for keeping jigsaw puzzle pieces stored in a compact place and larger puzzle pieces can also be stored in zip-lock bags to keep them together and prevent them from getting mixed up with other puzzles pieces.  

Don't Forget the Doors: Are your closets bursting at the seams? The answer to getting the toys organized just may lie with the door. An over-the-door shoe organizer can easily be used to store everything from Barbies to toy cars and trains. Going vertical can help solve your storage woes!

Stuff it: If your children are like mine, they love each and every stuffy they own and can't bear to part with even one.Where to store these furry friends? One option is to throw them all into bed with your child and call it a day. A better option is to grab a Stuff n' Sit, toss in as many stuffies as you can find, and turn them into a soft bean-bag like chair. Stuff n' Sits come in two sizes so even extra-large stuffy collections can be stuffed inside.  

How do you tame the toys in your house? Share in the comments!

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Tame the Toys! The Best Solutions for Keeping Toys Tamed

Jamie is a Beltway Insider who loves channeling her pre-motherhood love of traveling into spending time exploring all D.C. has to offer with her brood of two girls and two boys ages 9, 7,5, and a baby. She is a reformed lawyer turned full-time kid wrangler who enjoys photographing her everyday chaos and anything salted caramel. Since life is never dull, she loves writing about the issues and events going on in her life at any given time, including caring for a daughter with special needs and th ... More

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