Out with the old, in with the new!

Well the summer has just flown by from family vacations to joyous celebrations we have been going non-stop these past few months.  Back to school evokes several emotions for me ranging from pure excitement over the new backpacks, photo opps and of course the rites of passage it means for Isabel to the compulsion to clean my entire house, sort out old toys, clean out old artwork, donate clothes and of course get organized.

Have any of those feelings?  Well you are in luck, I have been busy documenting how I have been  tackling each of those tasks.  Over the next week or so I am going to feature a series of posts related to the topics above so following along and take away what works for you!

Out with the old, in with the new…Toys edition

When parents would tell me oh just wait the kids stuff will take over your house, I politely smiled and nodded and thought do they know how organized I am?  Well even being organized kids gear does have a tendency to take over.  I am lucky enough to be able to confine it to the playroom but even in there I find myself weeding out/rotating toys on a monthly basis, which for some can be overwhelming.

First things first, get over the idea that your storage has to be super expensive!  In Isabel’s playrooms we have four cabinets with doors, I don’t need to spend a fortune to have cute boxes/bins behind there.  I picked these colorful bins up from the dollar store.  The colors coordinate with the room, they fit perfectly on the shelf and serve their main purpose of storing things.

What do I do with all those bulky exer-saucers, jumpers etc?  Save the plastic bags that sheets, pillows or comforters come in.  We aren’t ready to part with these big toys yet just in case there is another kiddo to come along some day but taking them apart and storing them in these bags are great.  You can see whats in there, keep all the parts together and not worry about them getting damaged from bugs, dirt etc.  I then shove them in the spare bedroom closet so they are out of sight.

Comforter Bag
Pillow Bag

Also, holding on to more “baby” toys in case you may end up with another little one?  Well thats where those sheet bags come in hand.  You can sort them by age and either stick a paper in there with the age range or just write on the bag itself.  Again, you can easily stack them and tuck them away under a bed or a closet.

Sheet Bag

What about all those LITTLE things then can end up all over?  If you have a girl its doll shoes, clothes, mini figurines, bracelets, hairbrushes and such; if you have boys I imagine its matchbox cars, mini figurines, trucks etc…

I use a clear plastic shoe box and thats where I put all things little.  I don’t try to sort out what goes to what (although I do know, it just makes for less creative play for Isabel) but anything little.  The clear box is great because she can see what is in there and I leave it out for her where it often ends up holding her dress up shoes (dual purpose)

Onto the art supplies.  I rotate these out pretty frequently simply because we use so many.  In the playroom we are lucky to have four drawers.

I use one for remotes and other things Isabel doesn’t/shouldn’t be getting into.  The next drawer is for paper (note I often go through my scrapbook stash and throw scraps in there when I done).  The third drawer is for stickers and broken crayons… (yes I save the broken crayons, to meltdown and reuse later of course)  The last drawer is for little things she can play with when supervised and anything paint related.

Don’t have drawers at home you can get one of these great units from just about anywhere (I suggest Michaels/Hobby Lobby/Joanns because then you can use a coupon) Markers and playdoh are always out on the table but you could definitely put them in a drawer if needed.

You could also use this great Trofast system from Ikea for a colorful and useful storage solution

Here are some other cute storage bins that I found that are fairly inexpensive all via Target

Hope this helps feel less overwhelmed with tackling the big toy clean out.  Just remember to take your time, make categories for what to keep, donate and throw away; most importantly organize in a way that is effective for you!  Not everyone thinks the same way when it comes to storage so do what works for you (which may not be what looks great in the Pottery Barn Catalog…and thats okay!)

Happy Cleaning!
Rene

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