Sometimes drawing the line between getting your child everything they want and "you don't need that" is a toughie. Luckily there are a few things that keep my little one happy all the time - cars, crafts and trains. (Not necessarily always in that order). Keeping said things tidy can present it's own set of challenges, but I think I have come up with a solution. You can't imagine how happy I was to hear from a friend that, after seeing my son's toy closet, she was inspired to clean and organize her son's as well.
It seems like such a no-brainer now after seeing the closet all put together, I wonder why it took so long to get to this point. Keep in mind this isn't *all* of his toys. There are a few shelves in the playroom for books and cars and a toy box in his bedroom for little odds and ends and stuffed friends. The garage houses the outdoor toys like scooters and sports equipment.
Let me tell you how I set up the closet. The shelves were already built in and the closet is actually supposed to be a linen closet. If I ever get the opportunity I'd like to refit the shelves with the elfa line from the Container Store, but that is a whole other post! So, using what I have, I sorted the toys into containers and placed them with the ones that Z uses most often or doesn't need help/supervision with on the bottom. There are a few extra large bins at the very bottom that he doesn't play with as much, but since the bins are so big and cumbersome I placed them low to make it a bit easier to get out.
The top holds art supplies, craft kits, board games and items used infrequently. There is also a hook on the door for bags and such. To help keep everything in it's place I made labels for the bins with pictures of the items inside as well as text. Since he can't read yet the picture helps identify what goes inside while the text reinforces the word recognition. I plan on printing out some of the photos you see here in this post to attach to the back of the door. That way, when there is a playing frenzy and a bunch of the bins are out being used he can see from the picture where they belong and put them back in the correct place.
It's not so much me being OCD (which I have a tendency to be) but rather the hope that everything will return to the same place and actually *fit* in the closet! The biggest challenge will be weeding out old toys to make room for the new. For now there is a little wiggle room.
I hope this inspires you and now you'll want to go organize something! If you do, send me a link to see what you've done!