Because my sister works in retail and her SO is in the restaurant business, my mom frequently watches my four year old nephew, Sam. Mother nature has completely taken over and sent my mother into full on grandma-style “can’t stop, won’t stop spoiling my grandchildren” mode. As a result, she’s built up quite a stockpile of toys for Sam behind her living room couch. And as you can see, it was a complete disaster area …
Luckily, my mom has a highly organized daughter, so when I was home for Memorial Day, I helped her add some order to this space.
The first thing we did was to pull everything out of the big plastic toy box all the way in the back. The pile had gotten so out of hand, Sammy couldn’t even get to play with all of those toys. Additionally, we pulled in toys that were being stored in other areas of the house and brought everything into one location. Next we made three piles: keep, toss, and put back in storage. (Usually, putting things back in storage isn’t a great solution to organizing problems, but a lot of the toys she had belonged to my sisters or myself growing up and can be used for future grandchildren.) What was going back in storage went in the basement. We there out what needed to be thrown out and sorted the rest by category.
Sammy has six categories of toys: blocks, trucks, legos, puzzles, balls and miscellaneous (he’s really such a boy). We used an $18 clearance shelf from Target and four, $5 each fabric bins to corral the majority of his toys. We designated one bin for each category of toy.
Dollar spot metal tags help label where each type of toy goes and the colors of the fabric bins tie in nicely with the neutral colors of their living room.
The categories of toys that wouldn’t fit in fabric bins, like wooden blocks and trucks, are kept in large baskets on the floor so Sammy can easily get to them by himself.
The remaining shelf space is used for a toy farm, a magnetic easel and some other toys he plays with frequently.
This corner got a complete makeover for somewhere in the neighborhood of $40—not bad for the transformation its made! Sammy can now get his own toys without help, and he doesn’t have to search though things he’s outgrown to get to the toys he loves to play with. Even more importantly, my mom can now enjoy this corner of her living room and continue to spoil her grandchild without giving herself a headache.
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