Alright Jana, this post's for you - and all the other mom's that are pulling their hair out at the sight of their kid's toys and need a toy storage solution.
Do you have any suggestions for toy storage? Namely, do you prefer big baskets/ toy chests, etc. that hold a lot of toys, or do you prefer smaller boxes or bins that you can use to sort based in type of toy? I would imagine that this would lead to more work when cleaning and putting away, but may be worth it for the organization?
I personally prefer smaller baskets or bins sorted by type. My observation with my two boys is that if it's too messy - aka a hodge podge of random toys all thrown into one big toy chest or closet - they won't touch it. It's too overwhelming and the toys don't look nearly as inviting. While the clean up might save you time in the short term with a big chest, it will cost you more time in the long run as they are bugging you to help them dig around to find it.
I love the idea of "by type" bins or baskets because the toys are organized but not. You just toss them in and call it good. No staking. No lining up. This achieves the "put all your toys away so you can't see them" rule and makes clean up time quick and easy.
I also like this approach because it teaches kids at a very young age to group like things together and to understand that all things should have a place. A good life lesson to instill now to save mom from any extra unnecessary hours spent cleaning up after our children.
My favorite organization shelf is the Ikea Expedit shelving unit. It comes in all different configurations but I like the 2x2 ($39.99) and 2x4 ($69.99) the best. If you have a small space I suggest the 2x2 but for more storage, I suggest laying the 2x4 on it's side. If you have the wall space, I like the idea of keeping all the toys in one central area. The 4x4 ($149) is perfect for that. They come in several different colors and can be hung on the wall or placed on the floor. Ikea also carries baskets that fit in the cubicles or Target's Itso fabric bins work as well if you want to add some pops of color.
The possibilities are endless as to how you can configure and organize the toys. Put baskets in every cubical for little pieces like legos, trains, cars, wooden blocks, doll clothes, balls, etc. Or put baskets in 1/2 and keep the other cubicles open for larger toys like dolls, books, firetrucks and puzzles. It also makes for a great seat or to display items on top.
And if you want to get uber organized, you can label the bins or put pictures on the front so clean-up is even faster and easier. Talk about teaching your children how to organize like a pro!
I hope that helps answer your question Jana and gets your ideas flowing for how to make your space practical and organized.
Oh wouldn't it be nice to be this organized!?!?