Aesthetically pleasing, child friendly, and most of all practical toy storage advice

Chris,

I was looking at photos you posted of your family room and I don’t see toys laying everywhere. I have toys all over my house. Where do you hide the toys? Do your kids not have toys (ha-ha!)? Or do you hide everything before you take pictures?

To be honest, we don’t have a ton of toys. Especially when you take into consideration the number of children that I have. I am firmly in the camp of less is more when it come to toys.

Here are my tips:

1) Don’t let the toys take over. Decide how much area you want to toys to take up and only allow toys that will fit in that area to stay. They will take over and multiply at night while you sleep if you are not careful. Unless you like looking at toys everywhere. Ugly plastic toys that make your house look like Romper Room.

No, you may not touch the throw pillows

Our family room is child friendly, not child centered. It is a room for all of us to relax together.

The end table next to the couch hold a few board books. The baskets hold an assortment of small toys. One of the little baskets always has all the little people and accessories that go with the little people doll house, as well as a few random little characters that have been picked up here and there. The other small basket has pretend cell phones, pretend cameras, pretend cd players etc. The larger basket is a sort of catch-all of errant small toys that we find when we are cleaning up the room for the night. Every few days we will go through it and put the things where they belong.

2) Even though we have a large house, we do not have a dedicated playroom. Why? I have not met a single person whose children will go into a playroom and play. It becomes essentially a huge closet to store toys. No matter how organized it is, it becomes a mess. Kids don’t want to go somewhere separate from you to play in a room alone. They want to be with you. Make the play room a room that you enjoy spending time in.

This is a “play” area behind my couch. The bottom shelf of the bookcase has a little doll house and 3 containers of Tinker Toys. The little kitchen, with all the food stored inside of it. The train table with bins underneath holding all the Brio Builder toys. they will take the Brio Builder or the Tinker Toys and bring them into the main area of the room to play. I have no problem with that at all. But when theya re done playing, they know, and I know, that the toys have a specific place to go back to.

Toys are for looking, not playing

3)If you find the toys overwhelming, so do your children. They can not decide what to play when there are too many choices. Then they do the dump and run. Dumping out toy after toy after toy until the room is a disaster and there is no way for them to clean it up. Unless you like resorting and reorganizing toys daily.

sunroom

The tall armoire in this photo holds games, puzzles and toys with small pieces. I also keep books on CD in there. Basically anything that I don’t want small children having unsupervised access to.

The coffee table trunk hold all the Imaginext building sets that we own, which is quite possibly every set every made.

The large basket on the floor has random toys that don’t really belong anywhere. Action figures, nerf balls, plastic bows and arrows–things of that nature.

4) Organize, organize, organize. Nothing frustrates a child more than wanting to play with a toy and not being able to find all the pieces.

sunroom

This is a small sunroom that we have. All the toys in this room have a place where they belong. All the wooden blocks go on the bottom shelf. The large basket on the bottom right houses several Mr Potato Heads and all his various accessories. The basket on the top right shelf has matchbox cars. The plastic containers have beads, yarn, and some small waldorfy wooden building toys. Behind the plastic bins is a small metal lunchbox which holds a very small wooden castle block set.

When everything has a place to go cleaning up is easy and painless. If I find a Mr. Potato ear that has somehow found it’s way into my bathroom, I can hand it to anyone of my children and say, “Put this where it belongs, please.” And they know exactly where that is. There is no mystery to them what I mean by cleaning up.

5) Get rid of the toybox as the dumping ground of all toys. Think of it this way if your cellphone, coffee cup, pocketbook contents, car keys, mail, pens, paper, hairbrush, etc were all dumped into a large box that you had to root through to find anything, how annoyed would you be? And how likely would you be to put everything back in once you found the item you had been searching for? I am guessing not very likely.

If you must use a toybox, think about organizing it inside with smaller containers. The shoe box sized rubbermaid containers are great for this and they stack nicely also.

6) Don’t be afraid to get rid of toys that your children don’t play with. Pack up toys that have lost their appeal and put them in your attic or the back of your closet in a rubbermaid bin. When you bring them back out again in a couple of months your children will have a great time rediscovering them. And as an added benefit you are not buying any new toys from the toy store. When you bring out a new toy, pack up an old one.

I have several large Rubbermaid bins that I rotate down from the attic. One has Lincoln Logs, one has Duplos, etc. When I see their interest has waned in a certain toy, I’ll pack it up when they are in bed for the night and bring something else down. It’s like an unexpected Christmas.

7) Finally, be critical of the toys that you bring into your home in the first place. When you are tempted to buy the latest, greatest thing consider how it will hold up in the long run. Is it a toy that only performs a limited amount of functions? Or is it a toy that encourages imaginative play? Is it a tie in to the latest movie? Or is it timeless? I would much rather buy a generic pirate ship and pirates, than set of “Pirates in the Caribbean”. I think that very few toys should “do” things for your child. Rather the obligation should be on your child to “do.”

And that is it. Go forth and declutter and detoy your house. I think that most people would be pleasantly surprised how much better their children would play with much less toys.

55 Responses to “Aesthetically pleasing, child friendly, and most of all practical toy storage advice”

  1. Tess Says:

    From a long time reader, first time commenter:
    Thanks so much for your wonderful blog, and insightful posts. It is always a good day when bloglines lets me know you have a new post! Not all bloggers can say they inspire others to be better people and mothers (not that organization has lots to do with being better people, although my mother would argue fairly successfully that it can make you a more friendly mother).
    Thanks doesn’t seem enough - please keep on inspiring us!

  2. amy Says:

    This is possibly the best explanation I have ever read with regard to toys and clutter. I did some version of this when the children were younger, and it really works. I love the clarity of your writing — I hope all the young moms who read your blog will immediately set up their homes exactly as you have delineated. I especially loved your point about the kids wanting to play where you are NOT in a playroom. This is absolutely true!

  3. Elizabeth Says:

    Have I told you this week that I love you!?
    “Our family room is child friendly, not child centered. It is a room for all of us to relax together.”

    I love this - and it is true of my (our-heh) home too. I am continually overwhelmed with the amount of toys (clutter) in other people’s home.

    We have designated areas, but every area is for my children - but not for them to wreck havoc in.

  4. Wendy Says:

    Great post. I have always been a place for everything and everything in it’s place kind of girl. I hate clutter.

    I have already done many of your suggestions. My husband laughs because I have the living room toy box organized. Well, why should the kids spend most of their play time looking for stuff.

    We recently got a playroom when we built a back office for my husband. It has been great. It helps, alot, that my desk is in the playroom. I can sit at my desk doing bills or on the computer and the kids are perfectly happy to play. My daughter does like to play in there on her own and as my son gets older I am sure he will like to play in there, also. The playroom has been a big help when they have friends over.

    I like bookcases for toy storage over toyboxes, even though we have 2. The kids can see everything cleverly and it is much easier to put away.

    Thanks again.

  5. Amanda Says:

    Yeah, our house was never organized until I realized that everything has to have a place. Those rubbermaid shoebox-sized (and the next size up) plastic bins fit one toy set perfectly (e.g. mr potato head or one train set) and fit perfectly into a cabinet. Once I figured this out the kids actually are able to clean up after themselves.

    I just want to know why it took me 30 years to figure this out. Myself!

  6. Mary Tsao Says:

    I love you.

    Seriously, you speak my language. In fact, as a person with one of those dedicated (and junk-filled, always-messy) playrooms, I am in the process of turning it into a library/TV room/room the whole family can enjoy instead of a dumping ground.

    Good advice!

  7. Pilgrim Mom Says:

    What a wise and practical post! Thank you for sharing this.

  8. Jamie Says:

    I seriously love love all this advice. Thank you.

    I used to be very anal retentive and lately our house has gone to hell in a handbasket. We have a toy “corner” in our bonus room, similar to yours, but the toys are slowly taking over our den. I have baskets for books, etc., but I really really need to purge.

    I’m a big fan of the Melissa & Doug toys and classic things, too, but Polly Pocket and her annoying posse of miniscule accessories (and don’t get me started on My Little Pony) are taking over. UGH!

    Thanks for the inspiration. Now for me to get motivated!

  9. julie Says:

    Fantastic timing, as we’re planning the uses for various areas of our new house (room configurations, toy areas, etc). One thing that always sticks with me is from shows like “Frontier House” or “Colonial House” on PBS. Invariably the kids mention that in their 21st century lives they’re bored because they just have too many things to play with and none of them seem to challenge them. When they go back to the period house, they have a few very basic toys and have to challenge themselves to make those toys count. Plus they’re just plain busier, but I’m not necessarily advocating that plan for everyone.

  10. Christina Says:

    Labels are my new favorite friend - I recently bought my first label maker as a belated Christmas present to myself and now we have a label and organized spot for everything. We have an art cabinet for all “supervision required” arts and crafts, a game ottoman (huge) that the 2yo can’t open but the others can plus plenty of floor space next to it to flop down and play a game. We also now get rid of all annoying and loud, obnoxious toys of little value that the in-laws give the kids almost as soon as they are received, usually to our monthly (yes, monthly!) pile to give to the thrift store. We do not buy any toys because we receive too many for gifts. We also have been known to rotate toys, usually from a closet to the family room and back again. Great tips!

  11. Jennifer Says:

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. When my kids were young, I arranged our playroom like some of the preschool rooms that I had seen or visited over the years. I realized that everything had to have a place. It worked like a charm. I have stopped rotating toys though, I pretty much curbside everything that has broken or my kids don’t play with anymore. I am not sentimental at all. The funny thing is, is that they have never asked where a specific toy has gone if they haven’t seen it for awhile. The only stuff that I hang onto is outdoor toys, which have a much longer lifespan in my house.

  12. Jen Says:

    Thank you!! I will get started today! Now, how do you handle the glutony of toys the kids receive for birthdays? I’ve tried the “no gifts please” on the invite and that just didn’t work. By the way, my kids don’t play with any of these toys that I am so diligently going to be organizing. haha!

  13. Stephanie Says:

    Excellent advice! As always, you have a beautiful home. I love how you look at the problem from the kids’ point of view, too. And I second Jen. How do you handle all the crap people give them? My dad takes her to Dollar Tree and buys her whatever she wants. I hate to ask him not to do it, because grandparents are supposed to spoil the grandkids. I think I will inform him that from now on, whatever he gets for her will be staying at his house. But I will also suggest to him that each dollar that he spends on a piece of crap that I will just throw away in a few days is a dollar he could have put into a savings account for her college one day. Thanks!

  14. Abbey Says:

    Thank you. And, I love you. And, Goodbye to so many toys.

  15. marta Says:

    Thanks so much for the advice and the writing - short, clear, great.
    In fact I do a version of this around our place. I only have 3 kids (boy,7, girl, 5, boy, 2) and although they do have a lot they don’t have junk toys (MacDonalds, Kinder, most plastic etc). I use Ikea containers, in different sizes and shapes. I have one for Playmobil, two for Brio, two for Lego Duplo, assorted some for Lego, with smaller ones inside sorted out by colour (how maniac is that?), etc. The dolls go into a basket, the kitchen and related stuff into a corner of their bedroom, the dollhouse has the furniture plus the characters, etc. The books are all in the same place, as are the art supplies. Puzzles, games and things with very small pieces also go onto top shelves of bookshelves/cabinets.
    It took us the move to this new flat (1 year ago) to accomplish this organization (the other was too small to organize…) but it is really paying off: the kids do not lose time looking for stuff, they can easily clean up and the flat always looks tidy-ish.
    The 3 kids sleep in the same room and we have another room (the girl’s, when she’s older and demands one for her own) is the “playroom”. It has a table and four chairs, so that’s where they draw, play most games, do art stuff. We are with them there a lot, sitting around the table. The older boy likes games like Subbuteo (table soccer) or Lego basketball, which he plays on the living room table. Most of the reading occurs in the living room as well, as do the dvd watching (we only have a tv set).
    All the free, more active play (like soccer, marbles, matchbox cars races, dress up, running, jumping, climbing, etc) occurs everywhere.

    Marta from Lisbon

  16. Mary Beth Says:

    Thanks for all the great ideas. We could call you the organization guru! Love your philosophy of the home. Our son is now in college in a little cracker box of a dorm room…we are working on his ’sweet organizational skills’ this summer so next year he can enjoy his dorm room floor!

  17. sarah Says:

    Again a wonderful post and another set of photos that make me want to suck myself through your computer and into your house. And that didn’t sound weird at all……anyway! Our house is very small for six people and we have no storage and a small lounge room so I do have a dedicated playroom for the kids - but I spend most of my time in there instead of the other way around. I’ve got a floor to ceiling cupboard/bookcase thing I got off Ebay which stores all their toys, all in assorted Rubbermaid boxes. Then all their other stuff - puzzles,flashcards and special books I don’t want the 2 yr old to get his hands on by himself are on the shelves. We also do our main reading in the lounge room though. My husband didn’t understand why I didn’t just shove everything in a toybox - but after seeing the kids and how they can find things and put them away nicely - he’s a total convert.

  18. Liz in Australia Says:

    That’s absolutely brilliant, Chris. I so don’t do organised in most cases, but in this one area I’ve realised that there is no point in kids having toys if they can’t easily reach them. Our playroom is the best organised place in the house. Yes, we do have a playroom, and it does work for us because it is the other half of an open-plan living/dining area (we have a separate living room which theoretically does not have toys living in it). Because I’m most often in the same area, my kids love playing there. Biggest advantage to open plan living I can think of, TBH - we did originally have a spare bedroom set up as a playroom and it wa a complete waste of time, for the reasons you gave.

    In our playroom, we have bins and baskets and tubs and shelves and plastic containers which each have their own designated spot to live in. I do keep on top of this room much better than I do the rest of the house because if I don’t then they wreak havoc everywhere else!

  19. Liz in Australia Says:

    I should perhaps admit that the reason I’m most often found in the same area is that my laptop lives on the dining room table. I surf while they play - sweet!

  20. The Lazy Organizer Says:

    Great post! People just don’t seem to get that kids don’t need a lot of toys. I actually think most parents buy them to make up for their own sad childhood. When my kids were little I would ask myself, “Am I buying this for my son or for me?”

  21. Holly Smith Says:

    I’ve been doing exactly what you have written…there can be no creativity in clutter. I am disposing of about 20 (no kidding) hot wheels sets all thrown together with no instructions. It is useless, unless someone has a knack for that sort of thing!

    I agreed and Amen’ed my way through your post. Good job, Chris!

  22. Coley Says:

    Great post! This was my first time reading your site and you provided some helpful insight from a kid’s point of view. I love the idea of making a room that’s “child friendly, not child centered.” The company I work for, ORG, has some great organizing tips for areas around the home. I think you might really enjoy them. Check it out at: http://www.orghomesolutions.com/Brix?pageID=250

  23. Carla Robinson Says:

    Lots of GREAT ideas here! I worked in a daycare and this was how we organized our toys/books, etc, so it made sense that I would do the same at home. It’s gotten a bit tougher now that my kids are getting older. They often buy their own toys now, AND, I can’t seem to get away with tossing useless toys! They always seem to sneek them back to their rooms when I’m not looking :-)

  24. Christine Says:

    There is a place for everything and everything has its place! I must say that about a million times a month.

    I just did the big spring clean-out of the kids toys and clothes. It’s like buying a new home! No matter how cautious I am about what comes in the door, it’s like they just ooze junky toys during the night!

    And - ha! - my son has a toy chest … full of balls of various kinds … and lots of little organized bins! LOLOLOL

  25. Molly Says:

    You had a lot of really good suggestions, and probably what I liked best was the fact that you showed your own house in pictures! Photos can’t lie!! Um, I don’t know if plastic Rubbermaid containers are very aesthetically pleasing though, which is why I haven’t bought any. I want to reiterate what you and others have said — that sometimes the best toys aren’t actually toys at all, meaning they weren’t bought at the toy store. My five and three year olds LOVE to play with a ratty old belt from my terrycloth bathrobe. It’s about two feet long. One kid takes one end, the other grabs the other end and they run around the house with it, screaming with laughter. For this reason alone I never feel guilty about not having more toys. The one thing I have trouble with is designating certain containers for certain types of toys. Because we have so many different TYPES of toys that are not really related to each other. Well, I wish we had a secondhand toy store around here that I could give some stuff to, because I’d feel awful just tossing things in the trash!!

  26. Mary W Says:

    I love your tups - reorganization is in my summer plans.

  27. Lucinda Says:

    I *love* that you mention kids getting overwhelmed by their toys. I have noticed this with my children but get funny looks from people (husband included) when I start to weed because my kids have “too many toys” even though they have fewer toys than many of their friends. Thank you!

    I also like the idea of really giving everything it’s place. I try to do that but my daughter is constantly unsorting and then I give up. I must be more persistent and show her the benefits.

    I too would like to know what you do about the “junk” toys and unwanted crap my kids are given.

  28. Susan Says:

    “Our family room is child friendly, not child centered. It is a room for all of us to relax together.”

    And that is why I love you.

  29. Amberlynn Says:

    Best toy advice I’ve seen. Ever.

  30. andrea from the fishbowl Says:

    Another person chiming in with another “great post” comment. But seriously. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Especially in regards to the purchasing of new toys. Just because something is on sale at WalMart isn’t a good enough reason to buy it. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way!

  31. I just had to share this post. « Fair Love, Says:

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  32. Picholine Says:

    (awesome post…here’s what we do in case it helps anyone else):

    We bought a shabby chic buffet on Craig’s List. It sits in our living room with pretty decorative stuff on top, but is full of toys. The Fisher-Price playsets fit in the two shelves behind one door, and assorted building toys, wooden toys/puzzles, go in the shelves behind the other door. Small toys (including Fisher-Price little people) go in the four drawers.

    All the “big kid” (i.e. ages 3 and up) toys go in the closet under our stairs in a cabinet from Target and an Ikea toy organizer (it’s shaped like a staircase so it fits perfectly).

    All the books and the dress-up box are upstairs in our girls’ bedroom. Taking all the toys out of the bedroom was a very smart move (thanks to a parenthacks.com commenter for that suggestion). I still can’t figure out how to keep the books off the floor, but it may be a question of age…all three of our kids are under 5.

  33. misszoot.com » links for 2007-05-26 Says:

    [...] Aesthetically pleasing, child friendly, and most of all practical toy storage advice For once, I’m actually ahead of the game. I have a wicker basket of toys in the living room and in my bedroom for NikkiZ. (tags: parenting storage toys) [...]

  34. Fairly Odd Mother Says:

    So, I’m willing to bet your Family Room does not have a Little Tykes slide, a mini trampline and your enclosed porch does not have a bounce house on it? No? Just me?

    This post is a good incentive for me to go through my kids’ toys and get rid of things that they just don’t play with anymore. But, I have a question for you too—how do you handle birthdays/holidays and all the gifts you must receive? My three have several aunts/uncles and two sets of grandparents who SHOWER them with presents. We’ve tried to ask for just money for college but it only has worked with my mom. We give them just one big gift for their birthday (an outdoor toy, like a bike or scooter), and keep ‘friend parties’ to the minimum, but it is insane how many things they get.

  35. Sophie Spence Says:

    In response to the folks who asked “How do you handle birthdays/holidays” and “What about relatives who shower them with presents?” — we told everyone that minimal toys is a non-negotiable matter of family values to us, just like music, snacks, tv shows, etc.

    For birthday/Christmas we and the grandmas and the aunts give clothes, books, activities (like a pool pass) or a promise of time (like a picnic at the park or a movie) instead of toys. Our girls are just as happy to be given a Disney tie-in nightgown as a Disney tie-in plastic toy.

    Also “unbirthday” treats and items for Easter baskets, etc. have to be “use-up-able” — like watercolors, glitter, face paint, body washes, lotions, fancy shoelaces, purple spray-on sunscreens, tattoos, jump ropes, glow sticks, etc. etc. etc.

  36. jamie Says:

    I love love love this. We will be working on it in our house today!

    Here’s something I want to know about, how do we reclaim the house from the laundry disaster that’s going on???

  37. Elaine Says:

    Thank you for this topic that I really needed to read. I want to work at making better use of what I have to organized my space. I don’t have a large house and with just 4 people, 2 dogs and a goldfish we seem crowded. I really want to solve that problem and quickly. I’ll be checking out the other areas of your blog that deal w/home organization as well. Thanks.

  38. Melissa Says:

    Great post. I discovered the whole less is more simply by accident while packing up most of my 2 year olds toys in an effort to get our home “show ready” and on the market. I was amazed at 1) the amount of toys he had accumulated (thanks grandparents) 2) how little he actually played with them and 3) how his interest in the few toys I left out increased once the rest of them were stored away.

    I am *this* close to just taking all of those bins right up to Goodwill and being done with them once and for all. Liam wouldn’t bat an eye!!

  39. CathyC Says:

    I’ve read and reread this post at least 4 or 5 times, and even dragged my husband over to look at your room with the armoire. I’ve been trying to instill these points in our own house, and so far so good. My kids haven’t noticed the toys I gave away, nor the ones I’ve stuck in the basement.
    And the best part is: it’s very likely that we’ll be getting an armoire or bookcase in the family room to cage most of the toys.
    Thanks for the wonderful ideas and pics!!!!!

  40. KatieButler Says:

    *Awesome* post. “Detoying” is something I need to do before my older two out of school for the summer.

  41. Angie @ Many Little Blessings Says:

    What an excellent posting! We have tried to “de-toy,” but I was just thinking the other day about how much more work I have to do on that.

    Thanks for the great stuff to think about!

  42. minnie Says:

    as a kid i always used our playroom. it was a great way to play unhindered by annoying adults.
    however, your family room looks super nice and a cozy place to hang with kids or adults.

  43. t in hd Says:

    I couldn’t survive without the playroom. Better put, my *kids* couldn’t survive without the playroom. But we live in a small flat, not a large house and there are times when the kids MUST go play elsewhere. For their sake and for mine. They need to be loud and obnoxious and the middle of our small combined living/dining room is just NOT the place for it. But most of all, I just like having all the toys stored in one place and the kids like to be able to build their train tracks or legos or blocks or knight’s castle or whatever and leave it out for days on end to play with. That’s just not practical in our relatively confined living space. This is one mum whose sanity is daily preserved by a playroom.

    I like your idea, Chris, of incorporating your and your children’s worlds in every part of your house and if we had that sort of living space (not complaining, we’re happy with what we have ;-) ) I could see that working very well for us. We have even done that to a certain extent in the tiny flats we’ve lived in; a basket of the toddler’s favourite books next to her bed in our room, another basket of toys in the bathroom when we had babies in the house so that the little one had something to get into and make a big mess out of when mum was on the loo or in the shower, a little wooden box of baby toys next to the couch, etc.

  44. chris Says:

    t in hd,

    I wonder if because you live in a small flat that even though they are playing in another room if it feels to them as thought they are till close to you?

  45. t in hd Says:

    Yes Chris, I believe so. The playroom is down a spiral staircase from the living/dining room so that, even as I sit here on the couch, I can hear that they are sitting at their table playing a game together. They wouldn’t fancy being out of earshot from me and I wouldn’t, either. And if I switch on the telly or fix something to eat, you can be sure they’re right up the stair in a flash, lol. It’s nice that they have space to play that is not right under our feet but we don’t feel isolated from one another. (Well, it is literally under our feet; downstairs, lol! ;-) )

  46. Where Did May Go? « Mama Long Says:

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  47. » Linky Goodness - 6/3/2007 Says:

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  48. Karen Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing pics of your home and the secrets of where you keep all the stuff! Our home often looks like Santa’s workshop threw up in it. We like having areas in each room where they can play, but we just don’t have enough storage AND we have too many toys! We’ve tried storing things in the attic - they rarely re-surface (you know out of sight, out of mind). We’ve tried creating a home for everything, but there’s just not enough room. There’s just SO MUCH STUFF!!! I MUST PURGE!!! We need some different furniture that stores items better I think . . . and I need some time to go through and secretly remove some items . . . and then I need the energy to take on yet another project. Got any ideas for that?

  49. Miriam Says:

    Great comments chris. We have also labeled each basket or bin with its contents. I typically put both a picure or a word on the label so readers and non-readers can help during clean-up. I used clear name badges from Walmart and tied them on with pretty ribbons to the handles of the baskets. The added benefit is not only do my kids know where stuff goes - but their friends know where to put things as well.

  50. Martha Says:

    Thank you so much for the tip. Hubby and I will be studying your photos and comments this weekend. We’ve been considering moving our two children into one bedroom and creating a playroom, but I think your point about them wanting to be with us is something we will consider.

    May I ask where your kitchen set is from? I’ve been looking all over for a small, non plastic set!

  51. Karly Says:

    I just have to ask where the heck you got the white bookcases/shelves in the sunroom?? I have been looking for something like that everywhere and CAN’T FIND IT! Save me!

  52. Courtney Says:

    Sooo, can I pay you to come and help me declutter and organize our playroom? Seriously? :o) You would DIE. I hate it with a passion, but don’t even know where to start at this point!

  53. Elfie Says:

    You know what I do with the little crap from McDonalds and the dollar store? I quietly collect it in the garage where the kids can’t see it after they are in bed. They get to keep it a week or so, or until they forget about it - whichever comes first. Each year there is a neighborhood garage sale, and I pile all of it in a bin marked “1 cent each.” Children like to come by and pick up things there, as do some parents and grandparents. A couple of years now, I’ve taken what didn’t sell from the bin and emptied it into my kids pinata at their birthday. Yes, it is slightly evil - now all their friends’ parents are contending with all that tie-in crap. But these are the same people who brought all those acres of toys for presents after I asked them not to! The kids think that this is the very best pinata ever, also - full of odds and ends rather than all that candy (although there is some candy, too).

  54. Angela Says:

    Hi! I loved this post! I’ve been hanging on to one toy box with everything else on shelves. This was the push to get rid of the toy box. It is no fun anyway. I just liked the ease of throwing in the odd toys that don’t fit in a bin. We’ll get rid of them instead! (Except some of the balls. Where do you keep BIG balls?). I have 2 tubs of toys to rotate, and want to get that down to 1 as well. Now we’re getting to the age we can use Playmobil toys. So I’m telling everyone that if they want to get toys, please we would love those! (And they are smaller for storing). :)

    Will you email me (please) where to get a white shelf like you have in your playroom? It is gorgeous like something out of pottery barn! We have built our tall shelves, but this one is beautiful! It looks like molding on top. My husband says he doesn’t want to build anything for a while now or I’d ask him to build it. :) Many Thanks!

  55. Pia Says:

    So good advice. Especially the part about not having too many toys (for the kids that is - I need my toys which are my books and yarn). So often I see that my girls are playing with one or two things and the rest is almost never touched. At the moment it is barbies, legos (the people and animals) and books. How they love their books. I can handle lots of books, its the little barbie nonsenses that kill me (and my feet - but then the little barbie whatever is broken and has to be thrown out - insert evil laugh here) :)

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