Friday, February 17, 2012

Frugal Toy Storage

Before I start today's post, I want to remind you to enter my current giveaway!  Click here to find out how to win a V8 V-Fusion Smoothie Prize Pack including a Vera Bradley Tote Bag

Last week, I guest posted over at Mess For Less.  For those of you that may have missed my post, I wanted to share it here too! 

I've probably mentioned more than once that Grace's toys have taken over the house.  Grace likes to dump all her toys out onto the floor.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that's what she thinks is the purpose of toys. 

Just the other night, I heard her singing "clean up, clean up" and was thrilled to see that watching me clean up has finally caught on.  That thrill was short-lived.  As soon as she cleaned up the last piece, she dumped it all back out!


I realized that all of Grace's toys, books and stuffed animals are stored in toy boxes, bins and baskets in which she has full access.  No lids.  A year and a half ago, I was convinced that this 12-bin storage unit would be the perfect solution to our toy problem.

As soon as naptime is over, this: 

Turns to this: 

It's beyond frustrating.  Some days, I don't even see the point in picking it all up. 

Since the time that these photos were taken, the amount of toys in our home has more than tripled; and so has my frustration. 

Over the summer, I decided to put some of Grace's favorite mess making toys into recycled containers with lids.  These clear tubs, that once held bulk sized portions of cheese balls or pretzel rods, now hold Grace's pretend food and dishes for her toy kitchen. 

These tubs fit nicely on the top shelf of the closet in Grace's room.  Even if they weren't stored so high in her closet, Grace would still need help with removing the lids.  She can play with them when she asks, not just every time she feels like dumping them on the floor.

Since then, I've started adding other small toys to similar snack tubs.  We've asked family and friends to save their tubs for us, so we've had a pretty regular supply of them coming in over the months.

Usually, I peel off the labels, but sometimes, when I'm really desperate, I don't even bother removing them! 


Smaller plastic containers work well, too.  For Christmas, Santa put a cute little set of plastic bugs in Grace's stocking.  I wanted to get her a plastic bug box from the dollar store for her new little buggie friends to live in, but they are more of a seasonal (spring/summer) item.  As I was about to throw away an empty mayonnaise jar, I remembered catching fireflies and putting them into empty jars! 

I washed out the jar and peeled off the label and gave her buggies a new home!  Perfect! 

Some labels are easier to remove than others.  After picking and peeling and scraping for a while, I asked Joe to pick up a bottle of Goo Gone.  I won't deny that it worked, but I wasn't thrilled with the smell.  I had a headache and sore throat from breathing in the fumes. 

I knew there had to be a better way to remove the sticky labels, so I looked online and found that a hair dryer is a great, chemical-free solution for removing the labels!  So easy and no chemical odors!

Now, don't get me wrong.  We still have issues with toy storage and we're still trying to teach Grace that she should treat her toys nicely and put them away when she's finished playing with them, but for now, we've gained a little control of the smaller and sometimes more annoying items. 

I'll be linking this post to the following blog carnivals and linky parties: 


jodig said...

Great idea! i toss these containers out weekly but now they look like Lego storage to me.

Anonymous said...

I do the same thing for my two boys and their zillion cars and trains. In regards to the storage bins, eliminate the mass dumping by having your husband anchor the bins to the shelf with a single screw. Works like a charm!

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