Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Toy Organization Transformed!

After a four year process I think I have made a decision about toy storage...there is no perfect solution and everything is going to get broken at some point because kids are involved. :-)

Now that we have established that...

I think that based on the ages of your kids, types of toys, personalities, budget and overall taste you just have to find a good solution for your family. 

Four years ago we bought some storage cubes from Target. We didn't buy these with "toy" storage in mind. In fact, I originally used one shelf to house our coffee bar that has since evolved. However, it was driving me crazy that all of our daughter's toys were thrown into one giant basket where all of the little pieces would settle to the bottom. Trying to find pieces to play with...forget about it. Who knew if they even still existed or were stuck somewhere behind the couch. I quickly transformed our on hand shelves & bins to toy storage and laminated pictures to velcro on front.

toy organization

I learned that pictures work great with toddlers!

However, fast forward four years, add four more kids, numerous play dates and our bins have seen MUCH better days. 

target bins

The velcro was coming off, most of the bins were broken and just barely standing up. I've seen these bins used other places and stand up great. I still think that they are a great choice for organizing...it just comes back to that whole nothing is safe when it comes to toy storage and children. :-) 

At $6 per bin it wasn't worth it to me to go out and buy more. At that price, it adds up fast! Instead I decided to try the Dollar Tree to see if they had any good options. I found a great solution and at only $1 per bin I was in heaven!

Sushi AND fruit...I am teaching my kids all about the good stuff...ok so there is ice cream in the bin below too. *Update - Here is the link on how to make some custom sticker labels.

adding pictures to toy bins

The only problem was that I went back for more bins, once I decided that they would work in the space, and the shelves were BARE. I even tried three other stores. After that I kind of wondered if I was really saving money with the time and gas that I was putting into finding the cheaper bins (but I was on a mission...to share this idea with YOU...if I could only find these darn bins.) I texted a picture to my friend Becca so that she could check her local Dollar Tree the next time she was in...she had no luck. 

However, two months later, Becca texted me that she had FOUND some back in stock! And because she is a truly great friend, she even posed for some fun pictures. :-)

bins from the dollar tree

Disclaimer: If you like this system, when you find your favorite colored bins from Dollar Tree, buy as many as you can ALL at one time. If you don't succeed put out a call for friends to be on the lookout and wait a few months to see if more came in stock.

toy storage and inexpensive

We love Mr. Potato head so much around here that he got TWO bins!

toy storage with picture labels

Why I LOVE these new bins...

  • The toys can quickly be organized to make playing with items more accessible BUT can also get tossed into any bin and sorted later to keep toys off of the floor.
  • I was able to bring in some pops of color and get away from all of the brown going on.
  • A GREAT price! The bins cost $1.40 each ($1 for the bin & $.40 for the label) so I have no worries about replacing bins in the future if one gets broken (oh YES, I bought extra.)
  • I love that the bins don't go all of the way to the top because it is super easy to toss toys back in and GO!
  • We can easily switch out our toys by removing a set and then adding something new and making a new label is super easy.
  • The kids are learning how to be responsible with their toys and they can find them which is half the battle, right? :-)
playing with toys

What things do you like to use to help organize your kids toys? Have you found some bins or containers that have held up really well? 

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15 comments:

  1. You just saved me so much money! We will soon be foster parents taking our kid count from two to four. I was sure I wanted to use those fabric bins and cubes instead of dressers. Back to the drawing board!

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    Replies
    1. Jessica,

      That is so exciting about being foster parents! Yeah, I think these bins are great for certain things but if they are stuffed, heavy things put in them, or kids are regularly using them then I just don't think that they hold up very well. Let me know what you come up with for a solution!

      ~Sarah

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  2. Looks great! I am with you on there being no ONE perfect toy storage system. What works now may not work later. We are pulling our little ones back home this year to homeschool again, meaning I will have 5 littles 10 years and younger at home 24/7, 365. We homeschooled 8 years until 2 years ago. With 7 children, you accumulate a lot of books and toys over the years. I am on a mission to get everything decluttered and in its place before our target start date of August 12. Sounds easy enough... until you add little ones whining over what you are getting rid of and pulling down tons of books that were sitting so neatly on the shelves. :o) I will be a frequent shopper at our local dollar store over the next month. Did I mention during this month I will also be doing lesson planning?!

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    Replies
    1. Wow, it sounds like you have your work cut out for you! What a fun year this will be for you! :-)

      ~Sarah

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  3. I love using bins for toy storage and the Dollar Tree is my favorite place to shop for them! They also seem to come out with a new color scheme at least twice a year, so the bins are available in different colors, but you're right...you have to get 'em while they last :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Allyson,

      That is great to know about the new color schemes that come out. I wonder what new colors they will come out with next...

      ~Sarah

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  4. Awesome organization skills! I actually found only 1 of those bins (in red) at my Dollar tree and bought it to store tupperware...but I definitely need more!

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    Replies
    1. Selene,

      That sounds like a great way to make use of a bin!

      ~Sarah

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  5. Looks great! I am actually probably going to go back to the Dollar Tree. I saw all kinds of wonderful bins. Thank goodness they are a dollar each! ;)

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    Replies
    1. Julie,

      I totally agree! Ten dollars can go soooo far at the Dollar Tree! :-)

      ~Sarah

      Delete
  6. I am super excited I found your page this morning! I was in our local Dollar Tree and saw these exact bins but wasn't sure if they would fit. Now that I know, I'm heading there today to get some to organize our exact cube set!

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  7. Thanks for posting! I have been looking for bins that fit the Target cubeicals (we have two of the 9 openings ones) that aren't cloth. These will work perfectly and I can clean them.

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  8. If you go to the Dollar Tree website you can order them in a case which contains 36 bins. Then you can pick it up for free in store.

    ReplyDelete

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