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Toy Organization Printable Labels and Playroom Storage

This little organizing train is chugging right along at our house. I’m telling ya there is NOTHING more liberating than tossing out clutter and creating a system in all of our messy spaces.

Except maybe roller coasters and calorie-free chocolate. (In all of the discoveries by modern science, why is there no calorie-free chocolate, people? I think that is the important question here.)

Earlier this week, I tackled our hot mess of a linen closet. And then the playroom toy explosion was next on the list. I’ve officially tamed the beast, y’all!

A free printable set of toy organization labels for bins with pictures and legible font to make clean up easier for pre-reading children. #playroom #toyorganization #organizing #toyorganizing #freeprintables #labels

(Some affiliate links are provided in this post.) 

Oh, labels sweet labels. How I adore thee.

First though, recap moment. In case you haven’t been following along and aren’t aware that this space looked like this before:

A free printable set of toy organization labels for bins with pictures and legible font to make clean up easier for pre-reading children. #playroom #toyorganization #organizing #toyorganizing #freeprintables #labels

That photo doesn’t really accurately capture what this room usually looked like…

A free printable set of toy organization labels for bins with pictures and legible font to make clean up easier for pre-reading children. #playroom #toyorganization #organizing #toyorganizing #freeprintables #labels

That’s more like it. #RealLife

Our biggest problem with teaching Olivia to clean her playroom was we didn’t really have a system in place. If we told her pick up her dolls and put them away, she’d look at us like, “But where do I put them?”

Nothing had a place, not a shelf, not a basket, not a cubby. Nada. So I really can’t blame her much for the mess. Because my spaces are equally as chaotic when I haven’t figured out how to organize them.

So we built these built-in bookcases from IKEA shelves last week to help.

A free printable set of toy organization labels for bins with pictures and legible font to make clean up easier for pre-reading children. #playroom #toyorganization #organizing #toyorganizing #freeprintables #labels

And after searching high and low (why doesn’t IKEA make tall baskets that fit Billy bookcases? Seriously.), I found these baskets from The Container Store that fit perfectly without any wasted space. Yaaaayyy! There was a whole lot of measuring involved in that search.

A free printable set of toy organization labels for bins with pictures and legible font to make clean up easier for pre-reading children. #playroom #toyorganization #organizing #toyorganizing #freeprintables #labels

The biggest goal in sorting all of Olivia’s toys though was to keep them that way and make this whole cleaning-up-our-playroom-messes a learning experience for her. She’s not a pro reader just yet (almost), so the labels needed to have easy-to-understand pictures and the fonts needed to be legible to a 5 year-old.

Nothing fancy and scripty. I could have made them look “vintage” like I often do and not so kindergarten classroom-ish, but if I’m choosing pretty over function, I’m not doing our home justice.

So I whipped up this set of toy bin labels.

A free printable set of toy organization labels for bins with pictures and legible font to make clean up easier for pre-reading children. #playroom #toyorganization #organizing #toyorganizing #freeprintables #labels

I figured out 16 categories to cover all of Olivia’s toy collection (which we first pared down by donating a big storage bin of toys first). Christmases and birthdays (and grandparent spoilage) catch up quickly.

If you want a set for yourself to help you tame some toy clutter at your house, you can download the printable labels by subscribing here:

(If you already subscribe to my email list, the set should already be in your email inbox today and in my printable library. The password is at the bottom of all of my emails.)

A free printable set of toy organization labels for bins with pictures and legible font to make clean up easier for pre-reading children. #playroom #toyorganization #organizing #toyorganizing #freeprintables #labels

I printed my labels on heavy cardstock, laminated them with self-laminating business card sheets, hole punched, and just tied to the basket handles with some twine. (I kept some of the labels blank on the printable, if you want to type in your own toy categories. I used the font “Raleway” on Picmonkey.)

For about an hour after dinner the other day, Olivia and I separated all of her toys as I showed her what the labels meant and where each toy belonged. We practiced a little bit and she caught on immediately. This mama is stoked!

A free printable set of toy organization labels for bins with pictures and legible font to make clean up easier for pre-reading children. #playroom #toyorganization #organizing #toyorganizing #freeprintables #labels

Robert and I are pro-make messes, pro-exploration, pro-don’t worry about our home being perfect 24/7. But we also know teaching her to be responsible for her belongings and being proud of what she has is an important lesson that will lead to success for the rest of her life too.

That’s a lot of weight to put on a set of toy bin labels, but I think that’s the solid truth. And just proof that organization is so much more than making your home look perfect (because ours never does).

The more I organize, the more I realize just how much clutter affects our moods, our family’s balance, and I wouldn’t at all say we’re minimalists, but it makes me evaluate what’s really important and not hesitate to remove things in our home that don’t bring us joy.

Now I’m pretty sure this playroom is going to see a LOT more joy in the coming years.

A free printable set of toy organization labels for bins with pictures and legible font to make clean up easier for pre-reading children. #playroom #toyorganization #organizing #toyorganizing #freeprintables #labels

We’ve just barely inched along on the rest of this playroom since my last update, but this one was just a huge milestone in terms of reclaiming our sanity around here.

But tomorrow, the light fixture is being installed, the play table is getting painted and put together, and we’ll be calling it a wrap pretty soon.

Do you have any toy organization tricks you’ve used? If you don’t have a playroom, how to you handle the toy issue if you have kiddos? Have you seen any other great ideas floating around on Pinterest? Share them below so all of us mamas/daddies (and grandmas/grandpas) can help each other out.

If you want to save this post for later, you can pin it here:

A free printable set of toy organization labels for bins with pictures and legible font to make clean up easier for pre-reading children. #playroom #toyorganization #organizing #toyorganizing #freeprintables #labels

 

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24 Comments

  1. I LOVE the toy storage unit! Did you paint 4 billy bookshelves and put them together? Did y’all add a stained wooden top? If you don’t mind sharing, what color is the toy storage unit? I would love to do one just like this for my little ones room! Such a beautiful job! 💙

    Thanks,
    Krista Heinen

  2. Hi! It looks like these baskets aren’t available anymore and I’m trying to find baskets for the Billy bookshelves in my playroom. Can you share the dimensions of the baskets? I’d love to find something similar. Thank you!

  3. Hi, I love your toy label dea and I’m finally getting around to labeling my daughter’s toys. Can you give me more info or a link for the “self-laminating business card sheets” that you used for the cardstock? Thanks so much!

    1. You can just Google “self-laminating business card sheets” and you can find where they’re located closest to you! 🙂 Hope that helps!

  4. What a great playroom and the labels are such a cute and clever way to organize the toys. I was always a bin fanatic when my boys were little. It does teach them to take care of their things! <3

  5. Hi Lauren,
    Love this playroom and are doing something similar with a Billy hack. The baskets you linked to have a 13.5 inch depth but they somehow fit perfectly on your shelves. Is this the correct basket or is the basket tapered to fit the 11 inch Billy shelf?

    1. Hi Rachael! The baskets are tapered, so the top is 13.5″ deep, but the bottom is a couple inches smaller in depth.

  6. I can’t seem to get the link to the book quotes and so very much would like to have these for our basement! Can you post the link again? I subscribed to the emails. Thank you!!

  7. I agree with clutter affecting my mood, and the last few months I’ve been selling things that aren’t useful to me anymore—so freeing! And organizing is my favorite stress reliever. Maybe that’s why yours is my favorite blog! You get it!! Another project well done.

  8. Oh my goodness, Lauren, I absolutely LOVE the pages from the books you chose. I am a book fanatic!!! That’s when the teacher in me gets weak in the knees. Love me some books. 🙂

    You have outdone yourself once again, girl. You have magic fingers for sure. Everything you touch turns out amazing!

    Have a great one!
    Deb 🙂

    1. This room looks great!! I love the rug, the shelves, the baskets, etc., etc. Please consider moving the 2 end book pages artwork in just a little – so that the spaces are equal between each one and from the ends of the shelves. Does that even make sense? Each time I look at this gorgeous room, that strikes me just a little.

      This grandma has one additional suggestion for toy storage. Moms should consider packing up a few toys – out of sight – and then on a sick day or rainy day get those toys out and store something else for a while. Children really enjoy a fresh look at familiar toys.

      Keep up your great work, I always enjoy your posts!

  9. I’m with you about IKEA and their storage baskets. They sell a TON of those bookcases, and they have a huge storage dept in their stores…yet very few actually FIT in anything they sell?!! I actually mentioned that to a manager once – he kind of looked at me, like “really lady”. I walked away thinking, either your wife does all the work, or you don’t have kids! hehe

  10. As always, you all do a wonderful job making each project functional, creative, and fun ! I especially love the colored built ins. I couldn’t help but notice your basket chest in the corner.. Can you share where you purchased? Thanks 🙂

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