Order in Chaos

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a toddler in possession of neatly organized toy bins must dump them out on the floor. Of course it is developmentally appropriate, but my goodness. Luckily Sam has outgrown it. He even helps clean up his sister’s messes.

Imagine that bin full of animals was also dumped on the floor. Imagine, too, that there was a castle, in pieces, on top of the other Playmobil. And imagine a curly-haired Godzilla walking through it all. That is what I found when I came downstairs this morning.

We’ve overhauled our toys in the past several months. After years of talking about rotating toys to keep clutter down and interest/excitement up, we’re finally doing it! It was challenging in our tiny apartment, but here’s what worked for us.

First we donated a lot of toys that are not played with–outgrown baby/toddler toys, duplicates, et cetera. I was able to give a lot of them to Sam’s speech therapist, and it feels really good knowing they will be used to help other kids! Then I bought plastic bins that stack easily in our closet, and put away about 2/3 of the remaining toys. The rest are neatly organized.


This is the area under our bar/counter. We haven’t eaten there in years, so this is a really great use of the space! The children’s art table is just to the right; the bar takes a 90 degree turn and the table is against that wall. (Goodness, do we need to paint! Though it is not as bad as it looks here.)


I also edited the books down to books that either the children or Will and I really, really love. And I put up backpack hooks! The fabric bins hold blocks, stacking toys, skittles, wooden animals, the matching game, and other miscellaneous toys that are frequently played with.

The best part of having organized, easily accesible, regularly rotated toys? Even a big mess can be cleaned up quickly. And that means more time for making art.

I love how Grace is happily stamping a line of Tiggers, while Sam made one practice whale, determined it was too light, made a second, perfect whale, and decided he was done.

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2 thoughts on “Order in Chaos

  1. You have inspired me to tackle organizing Vivian’s toys. She’s got way too many, and with my dad moving in with us, we’ll have even less space for our stuff.

  2. Well done! Plastic bins are great for resources (in class) / toys etc. Along similar lines, I had to buy a whole load of storage containers (really pretty patterned boxes) for my stuff recently (for example beauty/health products that I hoard) because I am a messy person and I need to organise!

    [small voice] I still need to tidy tomorrow though. [/small voice]

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