Sunday, November 28, 2010

Organizing the Kids - Toys Edition

**Be sure to enter my Clinton Kelly Giveaway HERE!!**

It's amazing how quickly toys can multiply. You buy one small set of Fisher Price Little People and the next thing you know, they've moved in their entire family, all of their friends and their weird cousin's traveling circus.  And when you're not looking, they travel... from one room to the next. Personally, I think the Matchbox cars are giving all the toys joy rides whenever us grownups turn our heads.

Or have you ever been walking casually across the living room only to suddenly be screaming out in mortal pain as Mr. Potato Head's eye stabs you in the foot? How about spraining your ankle on that plastic orange that just appeared on the floor out of nowhere? Or perhaps you've sat down on the wrong end of some miniature action figure from the latest Happy Meal? And don't get me started on the blocks... or the dishes... or the Barbies!
They're everywhere!!!

Well, with two young girls in our house, we are overwhelmed with toys. {Seriously, I don't know where they all come from!} So in a small effort to try and organize some of the chaos that is our playroom, I bought one of these when they were on sale at Target.

Closetmaid 8 Cube Organizer
Along with it, I bought 6 of these Fabric Drawers in different colors. 

Closetmaid Fabric Drawer
Now, any "normal" person probably would have left it at that and just ensured that the drawers were used. But, I'll admit it... I'm not "normal". I love to organize things. I reallllly love to organize things. Drives the Heela crazy. He's on the opposite end of the spectrum. For example, his filing system consists of something like this... "Oh here is an empty spot that I can shove this piece of paper in. There. Done. Oh is this the napkin drawer? Eh, that's ok." Drives me bonkers. But I digress...

Where was I? Oh yes, fabric cubes... In order to really make the storage system effective I figured the kids would need to know where the Little People or the blocks or the Barbies were. So I decided to label the cubes. But given that they were only 2 and 3-years old at the time, I knew that just using words wouldn't work. So I decided to add {pictures}!

I divided the toys into groups and then took photographs of each set.

Purses and Dress-Up
Little People

Baby Doll Clothes

After printing out the photos, I encased them in those self-laminating sheets to ensure they wouldn't get all mucked up by grubby little toddler hands. Then I attached each photo to a cube using self-stick velcro. That way, I can change out the contents of the cubes as their toys change and just replace the photo.

Self-Stick Velcro enables easy change out of photos when necessary
Lastly, I used my label maker to add the title of each cube so they (maybe!) could learn the words too.

Added labels to help associate words with pictures

Now the kids can find what they want easily AND they can clean up effectively too since they know exactly where these toys are supposed to go!!

Other toys are housed in plastic bins to the left of the unit - also labeled!

For the record, if you decide to use a standing unit like this (or have any furniture in your house that is tall and narrow) and you have young children, please please please be sure to attach the unit to the wall. I will admit that we had a quite a scare one afternoon when Boogey tried to pull Noah's Ark off that top shelf and the whole unit toppled over!! Thankfully, she somehow avoided being hit (or worse, crushed!) but it scared the bejeezes out of her - and me! That very night Heela attached the unit to the wall with one of those special safety straps. Please take my advice and spend the 5 bucks - it is worth it!

The girls actually like being self-sufficient so this system works great for them. And I love the little victory of semi-cleanliness and organization!!

This project has been submitted to The CSI Project: Organization Ideas Challenge


Linking this post to these parties (also see "Linky Parties" tab above):
Between Naps on the Porch
Polly Want a Crafter


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  1. That is a great idea to put the pictures on the cubes!!! Great job, Kyra!

  2. Wow what a great idea, I love the idea of using photos for the labels!

  3. Nicely done Kyra! Would you come to my house and help me organize?? ;) I'm a mess too.
    Thanks for your comments on my post today! Yes, I know we get a sweet deal on our trees- it's one of the perks of all the rain we put up with here!! LOL!

  4. Ooh! I want to buy some shelves now. I love how it looks!

  5. OH MY! What a fabulous idea with the pictures and the velcro! Excellent job!
    Thanks for linking up to Making It With Allie! I can't wait to see what you have for next week!

  6. I love this idea! We also struggle with the multiplying toy problem and I am always on the lookout for new ways to organize everything. I like that you took pictures and put them on the outside of the bins...genius!

    Visiting from Remodelaholics!

  7. This is really great, love the flexibility to swap out the lables as needed. thanks for adding the bit about the shelf safety!

  8. Looks great! I love the the picture labels. :)

  9. Love the pics on the cubes. I recently did a post about making a home toy guide (like a catalog) because kids understand pics better than just asking them to go play. You could use your pics to make one in the future if you ever want to. See it here:

  10. Way to organize! I love the pics idea! I added labels but duh--my kids can't read yet! I just expected them to know. Heh. I have a ton of those toys that are in your organizer! Ha!

    Hope you can join my stocking stuffer giveaway going on now!

  11. That is a great toy organization! I really want to get some of those cubbies. On my list! Thanks for visiting my blog. Im now a follower of you.

  12. I do a similar system with my autistic son. I use empty baby wipes containers, plastic garage shelving and a mix of various storage containers we have collected. They are all labeled with the pictures to help him put them away and pick them easier. It has been the best thing we ever did.

  13. Hi Kyra, THANK you so much for linking to my party **Amaze me August**, this is PERFECT, and with my house ALWAYS being in shambles, I so am curious to see if this would work for me. I desperatly need help, and you did an awesome job. Love the pictures, great idea.

    Oh and THANK you so much for entering and supporting me in my FIRST ever giveaway. GOOD LUCK!!!!

    Bella :)

  14. I love the picture labels. It makes it so easy for your girls to get things out and put them away. Thanks for linking to We're Organized Wednesday.

  15. You and I think alike! For years, before my kids could read, that's how I did all their organizing cubbies. I took pictures and put the name of it in there. Plus, if they had friends over I knew that no one had an excuse that they didn't know where to put things away!

  16. I Love Cubbys!! I use them all the time. I'd love for you to link up to my new Organizing Mission Monday link party too!

  17. You could also include when a toy is lost or if it would be found. It is like a record of incoming and outgoing toys from our kid.

  18. Wow, great idea, could use for multiple things, fabric etc.


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