toy organization

I am in serious need of a new toy organization system.  It seems like every time I try and clean up the toys that we have, they just get strewn all over the floor again.  I guess I shouldn't expect much since I have a 3 and 1 year old.  I have gotten it all down to one toy box.  Everything that is a toy goes in the toy box.  The problem?  My children are 3 and 1...and although we do periodic cleanups, and put everything back in the toy box, nothing is organized.

I have several wooden shape puzzle pieces being stored under the couch at this point in time.  Not to mention all of the educational toys I get for the kids, and the pieces that seem to get all mixed in together.  I can't seem to manage to get the kids (or the husband for that matter) to keep all the pieces together in a nice little package.  We have a large amount of stuffed animals, unfortunately all with names that Emma asks for regularly.  Luckily, she *allowed* me to put the majority of them in a big bin upstairs, and she only has a few downstairs at a time.

My new idea is to move the toy box upstairs and just keep a few toys downstairs at a time.  We are not upstairs during the day at all, except when we are in the craft room.  I was thinking about keeping the toy box in the kids room (which will hopefully be done before they are 10), and then only bringing a few toys downstairs to play with the rest of the time.  And then to switch them out periodically.  I'm not trying to make it so my kids have nothing to play with, but I would rather they play with a few toys, and then realize that they have something new to play with in a week.

I think perhaps part of the problem is that I am tired of picking up the toys every night just to have them literally emptied out of the toy box in the morning.  And not because they want to play with the toys, no, because they want to play in the toy box.  Honestly, I am thinking about getting rid of all the toys and instead giving them a cardboard box to play in :-)

So, my question for you, what do you do about toys?  I know people that are completely organized and have everything in awesome baskets - would love to be there; and I also know people who have toys that totally take over their entire house.  I would like a balance.  My kids are obviously too little to be organizing all of their toys in baskets, but is it wrong to put most of their toys "away" and leave a few out to play with?  How do you organize your kids' toys?


  1. Ah yes, toys - the never ending battle! I think you have a great system down. I've always rotated items in and back out, which I think helps and they actually play. As you know, we have lots of baskets and bins to store items too. As far as having too many - yes, we do but then again, I'm all for them hands on playing and using their imagination. Quite frankly, if it's between a toy and an electronic device, I'd take the toy, hands down. I'm always trying to keep that balance...easier said than done!

  2. I wish I could be awesomely organized. We live in a small cape with four kids (10 to 2) and one has autism so you can imagine the mess. Things got better when I put most toys in the finished basement and allowed small baskets with favorite toys in their rooms. We only allow a few in the common area because it's so small. All the time, I am purging. More stuff seems to come in and I try to keep that from happening. We are working really hard on getting the kids to put things back (a struggle sometimes). I think you have an awesome idea about rotating toys! Good luck! I hear it's a struggle until they stop playing with toys.

  3. At our kid's school, each kid gets a mat. They use their stuff on the mat. No more allowed out than fits on the mat. You want more room on the mat? - put something away.


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