Kids will like to put there toys away where they can find them when they know that each one of their toys has its own 'home'. Make it easy for kids to put their things away by providing hooks, shelves and storage areas they can reach easily.
1- Store toys with small parts (Lego's, puzzles, building logs, cars, Barbie accessories etc.) in: see-through plastic containers, glad plastic containers, coffee cans or plastic ice-cream buckets with lids.
2- Hang a plastic chain from the ceiling and let the kids hang pictures that they have created to decorate their room.
3- Make, or buy a large toy box (this can be a large Rubbermaid container) so the children can quickly pick up larger toys and get them up off the floor when cleaning up the play area. Large plastic storage bins or garbage cans make excellent toy boxes and so do the new collapsible hampers.
4- An over-the-door shoe holder is a neat and inexpensive way to store small stuffed animals or anything that you don't want to toss into the toy box. It is also nice for little girl's hair accessories, small toys, cars, paints and paintbrushes, chalk etc. Just hang it in a convenient place where it can be reached by the little people, the inside of a closet door, behind the bedroom door or add it as an accessory piece to the room and hang it out in the open on the wall. These are easy to make yourself if you are handy with a needle and you can match it to the bedspread, curtains, and pillow shams or make it a contrasting color with matching trim.
5- Netting can be strung up on the wall to hold any stuffed toys and other bulky items that are not too heavy. The items can be stuck between the net and the wall so the toys are visible but up off the floor and stored neatly out of the way.
6- Look for wooden wine racks, at garage sales or thrift stores. Most are like new and they make good storage racks. Fill a Pringles potato chip can (cylinder) with small puzzle pieces, little cars or other small things and then store the cans in the cubbyholes of the wine rack.
7- Plastic or wicker laundry baskets are handy for miscellaneous items that don't fit anywhere else.
8- Old dish drainers or plate racks are good for storing small books, records and tapes or add bookends to the tops of shelves and paint them bright colors.
9- Clear plastic containers – everything mentioned above PLUS matchbox cars, puzzles, paints, papers, un-assembled racetracks, photographs, comic books, etc. When you place items into a storage container, be sure to label it. This will eliminate the excuse of not knowing where something belongs. If a child is too young to read, you may want to color code boxes or cut out pictures in magazines and glue them on.
10- A Sports Equipment Organizer in the garage can hold sport balls, baseball gloves, etc.
11- A ribbon or rope strung across a wall or down the sides of a window can hold artwork, photos, awards, greeting cards, hair clips, and hats. They will attach easily using clothespins.
These are just a few ideas; look around the house for your own storage ideas. Here are a few things you probably have lying around: Wicker or plastic laundry baskets, pencil boxes, plastic or clay flowerpots, cardboard boxes and Pringles containers (for small pieces). Ribbon, rope, string, clothespins, colorful gift bags and the list goes on…
See how many more ideas your children can come up with – they love to use their imaginations and have some really good ideas. Now that you have given them a basic idea of how to store their toys, I'm sure that they will want to help you think of more.
For more tips and hints on organizing and cleaning visit Jan Hayner at www.organizingandcleaning.com.