toy storage tips

I wanted to write a post about our toy philosophy...yep, that's totally a thing as a parent. TOY ORGANIZATION GUYS.  Otherwise known as the most exciting blog post of all time.  JK JK, I know my non-parental friends aren't gonna be reading this one, but if you're a parent and want your home to look a little less like Disney World than this one is for you.  First, a few tidbits about how we go about buying//managing toys for our kids:

| be intentional |

We like to keep toys at a minimum over here.  Less stuff = less mess = less stress for me. When we buy toys we pick natural materials over plastic and handmade over mass produced (of course there are exceptions to this, but we try!). My preference is open ended toys that are educational and well made, specifically Waldorf and Montessori style.  Our criteria for toys may seem high maintenance, but I think it plays a big factor in maintaining a sense of peace in our home.  I'm someone who doesn't do well in an unorganized space filled with distractions.  Our kids are already over stimulated. Heck, I'm over stimulated.  I want to maintain a calm environment as much as I can and picking simple toys is one small way that helps our household do just that. 

All this being said, I don't ever want to seem ungrateful for gifts for our children...we are blessed with generous family and friends who love Pier as much as I do! But we're intentional about what we buy for a reason.  Kids don't need a lot of stuff.  I don't want our materialistic culture to infiltrate what is meant to be a season of innocence, wonder, and discovery.  I've seen how Pier can be perfectly content with a stick for minutes on end.  Or how he plays with the scraps of my vegetables while I'm cooking.  I say this simply to reinforce what I think we intrinsically know -- children teach us to slow down and see the world through pure eyes.  

| toy rotation |

You've probably heard of this already and it's GENIUS.  We do this primarily with books, but I think it's a good idea if you find yourself having a hard time narrowing down your toys to keep.  Buy a big basket to keep in your hall closet to store excess toys in and then rotate them out as often as you like.  

| spring clean twice a year | 

We do a seasonal spring cleaning a couple times a year and go through our entire house to see what needs to be organized more efficiently to better serve our family.  Kid stuff is a huge thing to tackle at first, but now that I do a seasonal clean out it's way more doable. 

| everything has a place |

Not only does it teach kids organizational skills, but it also helps save a mother's sanity.  As a parent, it's my job to teach my children how to take care of their home and the possessions that fill it.  If everything has a place then it makes things a breeze to clean up!  As soon as Pier was old enough I taught him how to put his toys away.   Basically when things got messy I took him (literally) by the hand and physically showed him where things go.  

After a few days he got it and it has made my life much, much easier. He knows now that his books go in his book basket, his blocks in his block baskets, and his pots and pans in his play kitchen.  I'm not sure if this will work with all my children or if it's just how Pier's brain is wired, but he's done a really good job putting away his toys before taking out new ones.  And cleaning is a game to him, which is a good thing for all parties involved. 

| toy storage in the Little Fossi House | 

We recently started to transform Pier's nursery into a more toddler friendly space.  If you'd like a refresher on how it looked before, you can view that here.  Ready for the nitty gritty details of how we store our toys? LET'S GO

One basket for puzzles | Puzzles are a hard thing to store...they're various sizes and oddly shaped. I ended up using this savannah basket from Pottery Barn that we received as a wedding gift and it looks great!  Plus it fits puzzles of all sizes.  Store it under the crib or dresser or keep it in a closet to take out whenever you want something new to play with. 

Two bookcases for Montessori style toy storage  | this has been helpful teaching Pier the "every thing has a place" rule.  He can easily play with his toys and put them back on the shelf whenever he's finished.  Playtime goes by smoothly and, not to mention, mama sure loves walking into a clean kids room every day! 

One basket for books (or a book shelf)  | I personally love that we don't have to look everywhere for a book.  There's a teepee and a reading nook in his bedroom with a basket of books he can pick from whenever he wants.  We use these Ikea spice racks to display some of the nicer books that he is too young to read right now.  

Play kitchen in main living area | I am team kid kitchen.  The developmental benefits of imaginary play are incredible, and Pier is engulfed in his own culinary world whenever he plays with this!  I keep it in our family area so that he will be in view when I'm cooking dinner or doing the dishes and we can pretend we're cooking together ;). 

Two toy baskets in main living areas | my favorite are these because they have handles and Pier can take them from room to room.  We put smaller toys in here -- trucks, balls, musical instruments, plush toys...anything small enough to be hidden by a good basket!  We also have two smaller market baskets we keep on the shelf in his to organize special play toys like lacing toys and animal puppets. 

That's it.  That's every toy we own in this house!  I hope we can continue on this path of simplicity for our family.  This works for us, and if you've considered doing something similar in your household I want to encourage you to take the time to think about what will work for your family life.  I never want to come across as thinking my way is better than someone else!  Seriously, I only felt like sharing because I've seen how much of a difference it has made in my own day-to-day.  If you have any specific questions leave me a comment or message and I'd love to elaborate on any of this...organizing is one of my favorite things!  Totally normal.