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!
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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:
That photo doesn’t really accurately capture what this room usually looked like…
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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!
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.
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.
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