I know that a lot of people have been using this time to be super productive and reorganize their lives and do all these things that they don't normally get to do. But let's face it, if you have little kids at home, you're just staying afloat. For me, not accomplishing tasks I had set out to accomplish has been one of the harder things to deal with. I've learned to manage expectations, but I still try to get a little bit of productivity in.
One of the things that had been driving me crazy for a couple of weeks was the kids' toy corner. We live in an older house - when we bought it, it was a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath, and we did an addition and remodel that made it a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath. Before Chloe was born, Caleb had his room and a playroom, but once Chloe came along, we had to figure out a way to manage the toys somewhere. So now, the kids each have their own room, and their rooms have some of their specific toys in them, but for more neutral toys and for items I don't want them to necessarily be handling on their own (Play-Doh anyone?), I keep them in this small alcove off the living room. It's the end of a hallway that leads to our bedroom, and it helps because it keeps the toys off the floor, accessible for the kids, and uses an otherwise dead space. We created this using two units from IKEA - this one with 8 cubes and this one with four. The bins are also from IKEA, and we chose these specific ones because they looked much nicer than the canvas bins, especially for a common are of the house.
Every few months, I go through the toys, remove toys that are broken, that they no longer play with or have outgrown, and rotate things so that they play with other toys. A couple of weeks ago, I did this, but couldn't get all the shelves to look neat and organized. So I reached out to my friend Jessica at Thoughtfully Organized and she gave me a couple of tips.
The larger wicker bins are great for keeping things out of sight, but they're not always great for keeping things organized, especially when they are overstuffed. Some of the things we have in the bins include larger toys, Mr. Potato Head and all his pieces, figurines, and soft toys. For books and some crafting supplies that are taller, we used these bins from The Container Store. I put Caleb's school related items in one, and then all the coloring books and paper in the other. On a higher shelf, I put craft items and sensory play items.
Jessica also recommended these men's shoe boxes from the container store because they can be stacked and are great for keeping things you want to see. In those, I stored some of Chloe's mini books, the kids' boogie boards, Magnatiles, coloring supplies, and paints and play doh.
The puzzle rack is from Melissa & Doug and I ordered it on Amazon.
Overall, I'm thrilled with how it looks. I can't imagine that the kids will keep it looking quite so nice, but we have a rule where they aren't supposed to take out more than one thing at a time. They don't always comply, but for the most part, they do an okay job.
Hope you're keeping your sanity, friends. I'm keeping mine one task at a time.
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