Toy Storage

by Wendy Copley on March 24, 2008

I’ve found that as Wyatt gets older, the toys he plays with have more and more parts and pieces to them. We were doing a pretty good job of keeping them off the floor by throwing them in baskets and bins, but I found that when they got mixed up, Wyatt had a hard time pulling all the parts of a particular set together and he would get frustrated looking for missing pieces.

I was looking for a way to help him pick up his toys and keep them sorted on his own so I decided to try putting picture labels on his toy bins. The first thing I did was dump all of his toys on the floor and sort them out into different bins. I came up with several broad categories:

  • trains and train tracks
  • train set “destinations”
  • play food and kitchen stuff
  • stuffed animals
  • plastic animals and safari toys
  • vehicles
  • construction toys and tools

Next, I photographed a few toys from each of the bins. I took two photos of the toys from each category with different toys in each. I wanted to give Wyatt lots of clues about what went where. Then I printed the photos out and glued one to each side of a piece of chipboard. Wyatt helped me punch a hole in each one and then I tied the tags to the handles of the bins.

Shelf system for toys

The next step was to teach Wyatt how to use the new system. As I was working on the project, I explained the idea behind it to him and then when I had the bins all finished, I pulled some toys out of each bin and mixed them in a pile on the floor. I told him we were playing a “game” and handed him each toy one at a time and asked him where it went. He had a couple of false starts at first, but he quickly got the idea of the “game” and started putting the toys in the correct places all on his own.

The safari animal bin

I didn’t have very high expectations about how long this whole sorting thing would last, but I have to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Wyatt still isn’t putting his toys away on his own, but he’s a lot better about keeping them all together and we have fewer missing pieces floating around the house. I think it’s also been a help to Zach and I, prompting us to keep the toys more organized.

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  • Auntie Sue

    Tidying up is an eternal problem. I used to have a poster in my classroom that said, “If you pick it up, put it down. If you open it, close it. etc. . . ” It never seemed to make much of a difference. Once a kid walked away from a mess right under the poster. I asked if he had read the poster. Sure he said. Then I asked why he hadn’t followed its advice. You mean you want us to do that? I thought it was a decoration. Good luck with your endeavor. Someday a teacher will thank you. Love you all!

  • Auntie Sue

    Tidying up is an eternal problem. I used to have a poster in my classroom that said, “If you pick it up, put it down. If you open it, close it. etc. . . ” It never seemed to make much of a difference. Once a kid walked away from a mess right under the poster. I asked if he had read the poster. Sure he said. Then I asked why he hadn’t followed its advice. You mean you want us to do that? I thought it was a decoration. Good luck with your endeavor. Someday a teacher will thank you. Love you all!

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  • http://caileankohagen.blogspot.com/ Cailean

    Hello! I found your blog from your Flickr page, which I found because I searched “kids room banner” looking for banner ideas. I love your ideas! I was hoping to find out where you found these bins. We need something like this! Thanks :)

  • http://www.wendolonia.com/blog wcopley

    Hi Cailean — The bins are from Target. They go on sale a lot for less than $5 each. They've held up great so far and they've taken a fair amount of abuse.

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  • http://www.discreet-romance.com Adult Sex Toys

    cute

  • http://www.fernfern.com/ sheau

    i like this very much. can you tell me where the cube is from? we are getting ready to organize our babyroom. : )

  • http://www.fernfern.com/ sheau

    i like this very much. can you tell me where the cube is from? we are getting ready to organize our babyroom. : )

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