Get Toys Organized so kids can clean up their own rooms
Hang storage nets on doors for small pieces. I found some shoe organizers with mesh pockets that work in every children’s bedroom. The girl uses it for art supplies and hair accessories. The boys use a different pocket for each superhero set and plastic bug collection. Because it hangs on a door, it takes up no floor space, and it is easy for them to reach most of the pockets. Added bonus: it keeps small items out of the baby’s reach, so she can safely play in all the bedrooms.
Provide a large bin or toy chest for big, bulky toys. Boys in particular have a lot of cars and trucks and planes that take up a lot of space. A toy chest is a good place to store these, because they can easily look through and find the piece they want. We also use a large plastic container for sports equipment. It helps keep their toys organized, out of sight, and easily accessible.
Shoe nets are perfect for craft supplies. The one pictured here hangs on our laundry room door, just off the dining room. I like having the craft materials accessible, so the kids can get them out themselves anytime, or grab a pencil sharpener while doing homework. But the supplies were cluttering up our dining room, and the baby kept attacking the low bookshelf where they were stored. Hanging them keeps them out of baby’s reach, and makes it easy for kids to grab a certain color marker or crayon. I hung the paints up the highest, so they would need my assistance to get them. That way they can only paint with supervision.
Don’t forget storage space under the bed! If you aren’t using it for winter clothing, then the space beneath the bed is great for storing long, low items like games and puzzles. An under-bed plastic storage container is inexpensive, yet sturdy enough to withstand a Kindergartner.
Are stuffed animals taking over the bed? Hang them up in a net! These are very cheap, and are sold online in various sizes. Most types have 3 corners and are designed to be hung in the corner of a room. Your child can select their few favorites to sleep with, then hang the rest overhead on display.
If your fridge is full of artwork, hang it in their rooms. Ikea sells cheap wooden frames that open and close to easily insert and change out artwork. Or, if you want to display a lot at once, hang a string along a wall, with clothespins on it, and just pin up each new creation. I also keep a 2-pocket folder for each child, so I can save my favorite things from each year. This makes it easier to go through all their preschool art projects when we move.
Books belong on shelves, right? Yes, if it is a low bookshelf that your child can reach. My one son loves to read, so we have a low bookshelf in his closet so he can get them out and put them away on his own, then close the door to keep them out of sight. My preschooler has a box next to his bed, where he can stand the books upright to put them away easily. The oldest keeps hers on the built-in shelves that are part of her bed.
Dress ups can be hung, or kept in large baskets. Outfits that my kids wear repeatedly I keep hanging on pegs in their room, so they can find them quickly and put them on themselves. However, there is also a big dress-up bin in a closet with some of the lesser-used outfits and accessories. I prefer the pegs, of course, but when they are cleaning up, they prefer the convenience of the big bin.
We had to go through some toy organization and purging around Christmas time. But now that I use these strategies, each of my children is able to clean up their own room (except the baby, of course.) In fact, they can all do it in about 10 minutes. I know, because I sometimes set a timer and have them race to see who can get their room the cleanest in 10 minutes. Everybody wins! 🙂 They know that every toy has a place, and they can reach everything and organize it on their own. Does this mean that their bedrooms are always tidy? No, hardly. But it means that when it is time to clean them (at least once each week), they can do it without help. And that’s important, because I am outnumbered here, so I need all the organizational help I can get!