I was chit-chatting on the phone last night with my friend Tess. She's like the little bird in my ear who always gives me ideas about what to post about. Last night she said she wants to know how I organized toys, art supplies and a place to do homework. TOYS are tough and there are a lot! First of all let me just say that I think too many toys for your children is very overwhelming. It's similar too when you look at a menu and there are so many yummy choices you don't know what to choose. Or you go to Nordstrom Rack and there is so much stuff to choose from you get over whelmed. Well I think toys present the same situation for kids. To avoid this there are basically toy stations all over our house. And they all serve a purpose and are strategically place. I will break it down by station and tell you why I have that station . . .
KITCHEN . . . I do not need to tell you that cooking dinner for 7 people with a 2, 3 and 4 year old can be challenging. So I have two toy boxes in our kitchen for the kids to play with while I am cooking or cleaning up after cooking. I also get three or four subscription to kids magazines and those are in that area too. In addition to that I have a Pre-K workbook, coloring books and pens for the kids to play with while I am cooking dinner or cleaning up.
LIVING ROOM/FRONT ENTRY - I don't have any toys here, accept a box of dominos tucked away. If I need the kids out of the kitchen because I need to open the ovens numerous times or make a phone call, I kick the kids out of the kitchen and give them the dominoes and whatever toys from the kitchen toy bins they want. Also, the kids know they can take any tupperware container or kids cup out of the drawers to play with. And I DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THEM MAKING A MESS (unless they are destroying something) BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO CLEAN EVERYTHING UP BEFORE THEY GET TO EAT DINNER.
BEDROOMS - Our four year old wakes up at 5:00AM most mornings! Brutal. Because of this he has a little alarm clock in his room that tells him he cannot come out of his room until the alarm clock lights up at 7:00AM. Soooo he has activity toys in his room . . . legos, coloring books and puzzles. All stuff to keep him quiet and busy playing by himself. Our daughter has not quite reached the age where she plays in her room alone, but often times she and our two year old play with her dollhouse in her room. Ian (13 years old) has a couch and coffee table in his room and desk to chill out and do his homework.
Over the years there have been other places I have needed to have little baskets of toys. Before Harvey (now 2) started taking showers with the older two I needed to keep him occupied while I was helping them shower. So I had a special basket of toys for him I ONLY pulled out while they were in the shower. He was always excited to see that basket. Now he showers with the older kids. Teddy and Harvey did not like having their diapers changed for a long, long time. So I always had a small basket of tiny things for them to play with and keep their hands occupied (and out of dirty diapers) while I was changing them.
BASEMENT. Our basement is our toy HQ. All of our toys are stored away in bins on shelves. Nothing is overflowing. I often go through the toy bins and get rid of broken stuff, stuff they don't play with anymore and just the crap that ends up in the bins. We also have an art area in our basement, but everything is stored away in tupperware containers. They can always do art, but they need to ask first.
That's pretty much how we do it around here!