Organizing Kid’s Toys

Keeping Thomas and Lucy’s toys contained in a house with no play room takes constant organizing. Space constraints aside, having proper toy storage is always a challenge, because we always seem to bring more play things home. As our kids age out of what they used to play with and get into something new, we need to purge and box old toys up, so our systems don’t get overwhelmed.

A few things have worked pretty well for me, and although it is an ongoing battle, we have mostly managed to keep the house from feeling overloaded with toys. Here are a few tips!

With Thomas’s birthday this weekend, and Christmas quickly approaching, I always do a pre-party purge of his room, assessing what he doesn’t favor anymore. I’ll tuck those things away, usually while he is at school, and save them for a rainy day. This makes room for all of the new stuff. Keep this idea in mind, before new toys enter the house, and you are one step ahead of the game.

Keep a storage tub or two, of less frequently played with toys that your child is still likes,  in the basement or a closet. When they want to play with some of them, swap them out with something currently in their room, like a little borrowing system. We have done this with Thomas’s train set, toy dinosaurs and some other toys that he is still interested in, but doesn’t need to have out all of the time. If he wants to play with them, he gives up something else for a little while, until he is ready to put the older toys away again. Or, simply create a regular toy rotation every couple of months, so that old toys seem new, and perhaps they’ll tire of things less quickly.


For babies, keep just one basket of toys in your main play area. While young babies do like bright, talking toys, they mostly want to explore their environments. They don’t need a ton of complicated play things. When I took a few minutes to observe which toys Lucy, my nine-month-old, was actually interested in, it was far fewer than what I had on hand. While I plan to keep a few extras to switch things out every so often, I was able to let go of quite a few toys. Babies change so quickly anyways, there is just no good reason to have lots of toys for one particular age.


Store toys where the kids can see and reach them. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, clear shoe boxes are the best. Of course, they don’t fit larger toys, but you might be surprised just how much you can fit into those little bins. I love that they are stackable and not so big, that they become heavy for kids to lift. We use them for LEGO bricks, play food, Thomas’s tool set, and many other items. Zippered mesh bags are good for larger sets of toys too. They can fit more than what a shoe box can hold, but you can still see what’s inside.

I converted Thomas’s closet into a music “studio”. He loves going in there and making tunes.


Create zones within a room. In Thomas’s small bedroom, we have several different areas to keep specific types of things. I promise I am not militant about the lines between these zones, but it totally helps when it is time to put toys away or when we are searching for something. His zones are as follows: musical instruments, LEGO, games, books, miscellaneous toys and CD’s and records. This principle is a classic organizing trick which can be applied to every single room of the house.

3 thoughts on “Organizing Kid’s Toys

  1. Great thinking Betsy. Follow the child, says Maria Montessori. Up to a point of course, and you seem to have found the point!

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