In my previous post on What to do about all those toys? I shared with you how to organize and keep the clean-up process simple. I also talked about how to down-size the toy collection and suggested ways to not accumulate more. I hope you were inspired to try out those tips yourself.
In this example, I’m showing the BEFORE of my kids’ toy closet, and the AFTER using all the steps described in the article. We have an old changing table dresser that we keep in the kids’ bedroom closet. The Before image shows my last failed attempt to organize, making the mistake of creating too many subdivisions with the various type of toys we have. You can’t really tell I had an organizing system, because honestly I couldn’t keep up with the daily mess the kids were making. I ended up doing a lot of the clean up myself to maintain a system that wasn’t working.
After learning the KonMari method of keeping items that sparked joy, on how to let go of our belongings without feeling guilty, and how to store things in the simplest way for you to put them back. I finally figured out a solution that worked for the whole family.
As you can see in the BEFORE photo, when the kids wanted to open the drawer, they’d have to move the stuff on the floor out of the way.
BEFORE: Toy Closet
There was very little room to stand in this walk-in closet. The toys in the drawer were too big, making them hard to take out and put back.
The top shelf held a collection of Legos that needed to be kept high, away from my younger son. There were some winter clothes and bags hanging, and getting in the way of the stacked storage tubs which held Lego Duplos, tracks for HotWheels, and some building blocks.
We also had a bookshelf with an under utilized plastic drawer container that held a few other toys. The green pull-out boxes had some more tchotchkes and board books.
BEFORE: Book Shelf
After collecting all the toys into one big pile, the kids and I went through and removed anything broken or no longer age appropriate. We said thanks and good-bye to them, acknowledging they were once very fun to play with. This crucial step ensures there’s no regret in getting rid of them. It also keeps you from purchasing another similar item in the future.
Then we pulled out the toys that were most special to them, in this case toy buses and subway trains. Those were then placed on top of the bookshelf as their new “home”, and my son was in charge of putting them back after he’s done with them. The display will also bring him joy even when he’s not playing.
We removed the toys from inside the cubbies and bins to dedicate the shelves to a library. The board books stayed inside the green bins for easy access for my younger son. It only took a minute to rearranged the rest of the books by height, but it made a more visually pleasing impact.
AFTER: Book Shelf
In the big closet, we left the stack of containers as they were. I only added simple labels for easier identification. (I like these chalk labels that I also use for my kitchen and bathroom storage). The winter clothes were transferred to the clothing closet. The backpacks were moved to the hooks on the opposite wall. And the sports equipments went into another tub placed in a closet closer our front door. All other toys went into a giant tub. And the larger toys that were on the floor were placed on top of the dresser after the changing pad was removed.
The Lego collection on the top shelf was left as it was, just straightened up a bit.
The drawers now holds board games.
This project took about 2.5 hours to complete with the help of the kids. Now they can find whatever they need and put them back. The clean up has been fast and furious, and best of all they can do it by themselves!