Organizing Kids Toys

kanuJuly 9, 2007

My twin girls have a lot of toys. I have them stored in boxes. I intend to put them in cubes or shelves as in

1. I am looking for 18"Deep x 30" Width Chrome Wire Shelving that are 54"/60"/96" tall.

Are there any stores in the Phoenix AZ area where I can purchase these for lesser?

2. Which is better the cubes or shelves?

3. Do you any other ways to organise the toys?

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Hi Kanu - and welcome....

My kids are teens now (different organizational issues all together) --

But I wanted to suggest that you use the search feature on this forum. Enter "toys" in the search box and the results will lead you to several discussions that might answer questions #2 and 3.

When my kids were little, I found that cubes worked better than shelves. (Think kindergarten classroom - cubbies - etc.) Most of the playing was done at floor level and it made it easier to put toys away. Also, the cubes were modular - could be configured to your needs, and moved if necessary. I preferred particle-board cubes to wire cubes.

Good luck to you!


    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 9:28AM
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I find that, while little kids have some toys that are tall, many toys aren't THAT tall. And so w/ cubes (and the kindergarten cubbies), there are big gaps above the toys.

That meant, less space, or stuff crammed into the gaps.

So I used shelves--one a bookcase, and one wall-mounted w/ adjustable brackets. And I spaced them strategically. Some close together, some spaced farther apart.

So that there was very little "headroom," and the stuff fit into the cubbies better.

Also, I had an array of these Sterilite drawers, the 16-quart size. I liked them bcs the drawer became a "box" that could be carried around, or simply set on the floor for fast filling, and then the stuff could be carried to the frame and slid into place.

Also, if a certain category of toy needed to be put int he basement (rotated out or back in for variety, or removed for punishment), I could simply wrap the thing once in tape to hold the drawer in place, and carry it to the basement.

Another thing I liked is that the toys didn't get dusty or gritty. NYC has soot that settles (yes, we all breathe it), and sticks, and has to be scrubbed off--it's not just white dust. So I liked that stuff was kept clean, from both regular dust and our stuff.

We had different drawers:
-the airplane drawer;
-the food drawer (w/ plastic food & dishes);
-the Barbies drawer (and yes, we filled the drawer completely and then some; the secret it to lay them face down, they nest better for some reason);
-the animals drawer
-the horses drawer (bcs there were more horses, and they got played w/ at separate times)
-the Lincoln Logs drawer

you get the picture.

One thing about these drawers, they hold a lot, but sometimes they hold a little TOO much; stuff on the bottom may not come out. But mostly, they worked great. Even my toddler son was able and willing to put things away there.

Big trucks didn't go there, of course, but anything w/ multiple parts. Or small things (like the airplanes) that could be considered to be part of a larger, multipart collection.

I stacked them too high, though (4 wide, 4 high); I wouldn't stack them more than 3 high, bcs the sides of the frames will start to bow from the weight. Were I to do it again, I'd build a support to go in the middle of the stack.

I also put the shoebox-size of those drawers on the shelves themselves (sometimes as the supports) to hold other stuff:
-cassette tapes in one
-modeling clay in another.

I came up w/ a slightly counterintuitive way to store these. Especially markers. I keep them in shallow drawers.

The secret is to NEVER let them slide off the end of the stack so that they tip, pointing up and getting caught. That means they have to just fit in their storage space, w/ no sliding lengthwise.

I got those extra-small three-drawer plastic chests--smaller even than the 1791, I think--and found that the markers lay crossways in the drawers EXACTLY. Not...

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 10:34AM
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here is the type of drawer unit I use for markers. Fat markers go sidesways; long markers fit lengthwise.

this would be good too since the larger bottom drawer could hold paints or rubber stamps.

I have also used a larger shallow drawer, and used cardboard (and clear packing tape to hold it in place) to make a divider that keeps the markers from sliding off the end of the stack and sticking up.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 10:40AM
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this was sort of fun--a hobbyist exploring the mini drawers as they affect his own hobby, complete w/ dimensions.

and coolest of all--I may steal these--he adapted CD cases into shelving cubbies for TINY stuff by making "shelves" to slide into the grooves! (he made the shelves out of CD cases). My DD has TONS of stupid little animals and souvenirs, etc., and it's hard to store them. I could put them in this case, and maybe even add a lid to keep the dust out.

I bet you could even wall-mount them!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 10:49AM
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We have some of the same struggles at our house. We still haven't figured out how to eliminate the big dumping ground known as the toybox, but we've made progress. I bought a couple of these sets of cubicles for the kids (see link). Each child got to pick out his/her own color of fabric drawers that go with them. Things they don't want me to throw away have to be placed in their drawers. There is a space on top of the units for the kids to place some of the bigger toys.

One of the best organizational items we've added has been the shoe organizer that hangs over a door. It has clear pockets and is only a few bucks at places like Wal-Mart. The pockets are great for holding markers, pens, scissors, etc. The kids know where things go and it is out of sight if you hang it on the inside of a closet door.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cubeicals at Lowes

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 11:48PM
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Thanks for all the inputs. My girls are not that bad in putting their toys back. Problem is they have a huge collection which we cycle thro' once every few days. Unfortunately we don't have a basement so the storage has to go in the playroom itself. They have small tables where they put the current toys they are playing with.

Most toys have their own clear bags & smaller toys 4" or lesser goes in Sterilite boxes.
3-4 clear plastic bags goes in a box by category.

After reading all your inputs I'll go with the Chrome wire shelf solution where the boxes can go in. Now I have to find a place where I can get the Chrome wire shelves CHEAP.

I am looking for something like 84"/96" tall & 36" wides so I can stack all the stuff in one corner.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 2:26AM
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I've heard that sometimes the warehouse stores --BJ's, Sam's Club, Costo, etc.--have their own version of those wire shelf units.

Don't forget plain old bookcases. Or garage shelving units.

One problem I have w/ nearly every shelving unit is that it has too few shelves. There's way too much of a gap between the shelves, so either you have a lot of wasted space because of the dead air, or you stack stuff on top of other stuff, and then you can't get out the stuff on the bottom.

So whatever you get, see if you can buy one extra shelf.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 9:53AM
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This isn't a shelf but I bought about 8 of these crates (with lid) from IKEA. Then the toys are easily (?) sorted (thrown) into the right places.

Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA Vessla crate (there is a matching lid)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 8:31AM
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I know its not as asthetically pleasing, but I just bought several totes and grouped everything together. We have the 'truck and car' tote, the 'dolls (including barbies and clothes)' tote, the 'dress up clothes' tote and several others. It makes cleaning up sooo easy for my kiddos and for me. A few well placed tosses and everything is tidy. The most important thing for me is weeding through the toys every year. We have a tradition in our house that Santa will only bring as many toys as we give away. So every November we go through our toys and make a trip to the local churches to donate them to the nursery. My kids are so excited about how many new toys that Santa will bring that I have to hold them back from giving away ALL of their toys :)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 7:26PM
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Toys can't be organized. Puzzle pieces get mixed up. Barbie shoes get jumbled in a box. when my kids were walking toddlers, they refused to go in a playpen. So I used the playpen for toy storage. When I cleaned house, I just threw everything in the playpen. I had shelves in the bedroom, plastic boxes, sterlite containers, hanging hooks. Nothing worked. Eventually all the toys disappeared. Donated, broken, thrown away, whatever. My kids are now 17 and 18 and finally the toys are gone. Even the Beanie Baby bears were given away to a daycare center.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 11:51AM
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i agree with jannie, i love to be clean and organized but toys are awfull to deal with. so i have a little play room with a cubbie shelf that has 3 cubbies and matching bins to put in them, i dont seperate now as that gets to tedious for my kids, as long as everything is off the floor and in the bins and tucked away im happy, i go through them at xmas and bdays and get rid of a few things so that new stuff will fit. my oldest has a decorative bamboo basket that fits on dresser that she can fill with her special toys (horses pollies etc) that she dosnt want the other kids to play with, my son has a rubbermaid bin up in his room that fits in his burue that has his favorite cars etc, and my 2 youngest that share a room have a decorative hinged wood bin at the end of their bunk beds that have their toys in it (they are both under 3) and i can shove it all in their and shut the lit and its just a pretty painted wood bin. i have 1 box of crayons and a couple pads of construction paper for my little ones and the oldest gets craft stuff in her room that she keeps in her desk. i find that the key with all the toys is to keep it simple. my kids have their favorites and we stick with those, i throw toys out once they are broken, or so icky that they need to go. and i give away to the salvation army the ones that they are no longer using. and i look foward to the day that the play room can become a DEN!!!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 10:55AM
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