Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hallway? I think you mean... Playroom!

Inspired by Money Saving Mom’s post on Managing Toy Overload, I recently went through our toys and significantly pared them down to just the toys that were special, favorites, or encouraged imaginative play.  We store most of the toys in one of our small hallways, and the hallway was pretty much impassable before this.

Here’s what’s left (in addition to a few other things stowed throughout the house):

Last winter, I transformed a beloved bookcase into the toy storage area, using only the baskets we had around the house. There was a time when the mismatched baskets would have bugged me, but now I find the hodge-podge quite charming and, after all, the price was right.
What I like about this system is that it’s fluid. I can transfer baskets as collections change or grow, I can rearrange (as I plan to soon- more on that later).
It’s also helps keep that phenomenon of toy displacement (i.e. everything ending up on the floor throughout the house at once) to a minimum. Don’t get me wrong—even as I type this there are vestiges of recent play sessions strewn about the carpet (Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and a hand-me-down Leap Pad Little Touch, to be specific). However, the basket containment has helped compartmentalize things so that “let’s put ‘x’ away before playing with ‘y’” can become a reality...or at least a reasonable hope.

The basket system makes toy rotation a simple and quick task. The things in the lower basket become so familiar they’re no longer interesting, and a swipe-scoot-swap motion mixes the baskets up for weeks...or at least days... of new enjoyment. My current favorite basket for encouraging ME to get more involved in playtime is…
...blanket fort materials. Who doesn't love a blanket fort?!
There’s empty space above the bookshelf, leaving room for growth. Vertical space is one of the treasures on the list of “found space” in small homes, and I may utilize this for wall-mounted shelves, or coat hooks for hanging tote-like baskets if needed.

Stay tuned for a guest post coming up tomorrow on another toy storage system.

What is your best tip for toy storage?

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