If there is one thing about having children (especially more than one) is having to learn how to deal with toys. Toys, toys and more toys. From sweet little dolls, to vintage wooden blocks down to the obnoxiously loud truck, toys are something our little ones just can't seem to go without.
I'm a very funny person when it comes to toys. I strive to be as minimal as I can in my head but in real life, I know that I don't succeed as much as I should. I have a habit of forming connections with things and since my memory is insanely good, I remember who gave my children each and every toy or I remember the story behind it, which of course makes the process of elimination hard.
I frequently find myself purging through toys and eliminating those that have no special meaning to me, or those that get lost in the shuffle. I strive for real, open play toys made of wood and cloth. I find that toys that don't require children to press a button are much better at occupying a child because of the endless opportunities available. I also love and strive for eco friendly toys, but again, I'm not perfect.
I was a Barbie and baby doll kid all the way. And so are my girls so far. It's hard to not want to feed that "want" for all sweet things baby and princesses. It's hard not to run to the store when your three year old so sweetly and innocently says that she needs a Snow White Barbie. I'm just like any other mother out there, I'm guilty of having purchased my children toys when it's not a holiday (although I don't do it often and it's usually a very inexpensive item).
With that said, as much as I strive for minimal toys (because deep down I do believe that's the way to go), I know I am far from perfect. Therefore, I constantly find myself reorganizing toys and finding new storage solutions for them. Today I will share some of what works for us and some of what I find visually appealing in the home.
Baskets. I love old fashioned wicker style baskets that you may receive in a gift bundle at a baby shower or that you may find at a thrift store. These are excellent for holding books, blocks and small toys. The beauty of baskets is that they can be placed sporadically to blend in with your decor and can be placed in different rooms, allowing children to have a little something wherever you feel the need to. It's a classic statement, and very visually appealing.
Toy Box. We have a wooden toy box that my father built for my daughter for Christmas, so therefore it is very special to us. It houses Barbies and some other toys all neatly organized and easy to reach. I've never been a fan of the children's rooms where you open a toy box and can't find what you're looking for. So our box is filled with baskets and more boxes to keep things clean and easy to see. But truth be told, some days it can be a hot mess too ;)
Reading Nooks. I say reading nooks because we literally have reading nooks all over. For the majority of our children's books, we house them on a simple white bookshelf down our hallway so both children can access them. From there, each child has their own section on a self, on the floor, where they can sit and read books in their room. Then our TeePee that is both for the kids and my love of boho decor, is in the living room with a basket of books and reading pillows in it. Lastly, we have an old thrifted phone bench that serves as a reading nook as well. I believe in keeping books all over to allow them to be easily accessible and to seem "important" in a child's eyes.
Fabric Bins. We no longer have any fabric toy bins, but I love a good burlap bin or even a wicker bin (which we do have) for catch alls around the home. A catchall bin is great in the living room to pick up messes in a hurry for company. Bins are also wonderful for dressup as we have here! They can also be great for soft animals and doll storage.
An art Table. This keeps colors and color books at bay and designates a place specifically for them.
Montessori Style Shelves. We in no way have a total Montessori style room (look it up - it is fascinating) but I do love their concept of low shelving with items visually there for children to see and play with without being TOO much. Each child has a shelf or a crate-shelf to create a place for beloved toys to become treasured and played with more often. Rotating the toys is great as well!
That probably sums up most of the general ways we store toys around here. I would love to hear your suggestions for storage and purging in the comments below. I'm definitely a mama who visually needs toys organized and manageable; not just for my sake but for the ease of my children. I'm a firm believer in less is more in life, and still try to perfect that belief as much as I can. But I know we don't all think that way, and that is okay! While toys are not a necessity obviously, we know that they are very loved. I personally love that they show how many people love our babies because they take the time to find them such sweet things and they also show our hard work when we work extra hours during the holidays to get a very wanted item for our sweet babies. Toys are just things I know, but they are a part of our life daily while raising these little humans.
We may as well make the best of it and keep the ones that we love and make them visually appealing and stylish throughout the home. And for those that are rarely played with or broken, then purge them please. Try to teach your babies to give to those who don't have as much and start them early (it's really good to do near the holidays before new presents arrive). It's a wonderful lesson for all!