I have two very messy children, they are 4 and 11, both are capable of tidying up before bedtime, largely due to our storage systems from Ikea. As a mom I tried a traditional toy bin at first but inevitably it needed to be completely emptied onto the floor by my child to find a desired toy that just happened to be at the very bottom. I then tried a few large toy baskets hoping that maybe just one of the baskets would at least keep it’s contents for the day, but alas this system also ended in mayhem on the playroom floor.
Until one fateful day many years ago when I made my first trip to Ikea! It’s no secret that Ikea is the adult version of an amusement park…there are yummy treats, so many chairs to try, drawers to discover, there’s a surprise around every corner! They even have a supervised play area for you to leave your kids while you shop! It’s heavenly! Strolling leisurely down aisles, eating my ice cream cone and selecting the many things I didn’t know I needed…until I saw them creatively displayed. They get me every time 🙂
It all started with the White Book Shelf. It was purchased over 8yrs ago now, I have replace the bins twice and it has served a few different purposes over the years. It has been a changing table, a dresser, a book shelf, craft storage and of course a toy bin. I would definitely recommend this shelf simply for it’s diversity. It has held up remarkably well despite being moved around the house for it’s various purposes and moving with us to two new houses over the years.
As my children have grown, their toy collections have multiplied, and my mom skills have improved. I’ve added a few new systems to our repertoire to help keep us organized. This was the first addition to the family a white tiered bin system. In my experience the older children get the smaller their toys become and the tiny pieces seem to multiply daily. The new tiered bin system to the rescue! Small bins for small pieces because, yes, they still dump the bin to find one lego. I also purchased this system and this table top to create a train/truck table for my son, all from the magical Ikea.
The small pieces go in the little bins, bulk items in the larger bins, big items played with frequently get arranged on top. I also purchased this set of labels from Amazon to make sure the toys made it back to there intended space, I used a chalk marker so that the label can be easily updated as needed. Although my son cannot yet read, my daughter helps him with his cleanup nightly as part of her household chores, this encourages them to work together as a unit and it takes something off my plate 🙂
After my daughter struggled for years to open and then fully close her dresser I found these carts. They allow open access to clothing options, allowing my children to pick their own clothes for the day without help from Mom. I do have to make sure that I swap out items seasonally to ensure we are going to school in weather appropriate attire. My daughter is also in charge of putting away the laundry for our household, this system allows her to do minimal work to transfer the clothing I have folded it’s correct home.
The above systems also provides me with a limit, if it doesn’t fit it needs to go. It limits the space for clothes, and it allows me to make better purchasing decisions. I am also very aware of what clothes and toys my children love and which ones need to find there way to another family.
Our systems are not perfect, the images above are not carefully staged, although they are kept in the a closet so the doors can be closed, this is a real life look at a real system that works for my family….I hope these ideas inspire you to embrace a system that is functional for your family. Give these a try and adjust until you find the process and system that works best for you family. Imperfection is the new perfection!
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