2.07.2011

keeping it together...

When you have a toddler in the house, despite all best efforts, there will be a crazy boatload lot of toys.  Big toys, little toys.  Toys that are (blessedly) silent and those the beep, whirl, sing, whizz and blink.  Try as you might, the toys will come and they will appear to multiply at an alarming rate.  I often ask myself how one tiny little person, only 1/5th of my size could possible need so much stuff?  But, he uses it all.  Sometimes one little piece at a time.  Sometimes appearing to orchestrate the whole lot to make noise at once.

A couple of months ago, our living room was a wreckage of primary colors, board books and noise.  The madness needed to be contained in some manner.  It was just a matter of time before G's first birthday and Christmas arrived back-to-back and those two occasions would (and did) inevitably bring even more stuff.  I informally polled mom friends, looked at solutions online and finally, just browsed around my local Target and our existing containers to find the combination that might help and wouldn't break the bank.  Remember, we are in a cozy (read: tiny) condo and space is at a premium.  This is what we came up with for the living room. 

Cloth storage bins (REstyle, sold in a 2-pack at Target) and a recycled, lined basket sit in the corner between our tv cabinet and couch.  One bin is full (FULL) of board books.  The other bin and basket hold small toys, pop beads, cars, small stuffed animals and things that can easily be tossed in after a play session or at bedtime:
For the large items, we decided to sacrifice the wall under our living room window.  Foam alphabet squares (from the One Step Ahead catalog, a gift from my mom) are arranged on the floor - 2 tiles deep, 6 long - and toys sit on top.  When he's playing they get moved all over the condo but, after playtime, they get moved back here:
Any toys that aren't holding his interest anymore or are aged-out go into bins in the large Ikea Expedit storage unit in the nursery and will eventually (when we move) be packed away for future babes.  It's not a perfect system but, it is easy, functional and the little man seems to like it just fine :)
If you'll forgive my bragging for a moment, I also have to say that I am so, so proud of G.  In the past few weeks he has begun responding to a lot more direction/requests in both English and Greek.  He isn't saying a whole lot yet (very typical for bi-lingual babes) but, he understands a great deal. Love it.

6 comments:

Aurie said...

Ahhh...storage! I feel your pain - and just wait, when you double your children the toys quadruple. Not sure how the math works but it does! Glad you found a storage solution that is working!

All for Love said...

love your blog post! i def gonna have to look back on this in the future. we are gonna need some serious storage tips for toys in our 1 bedroom! so excited that g is learning greek and english.. even though i am not greek, my little cousin who is 2 also reconizes the 2 languages and understands what told to her. even if its a simple direction. go G!

Jenn said...

sounds like a great system. We have a similar one. I have cloth bins in his closet to hold toys and for the playroom/living room I bought a bookshelf that has mulit colored bins on it. (like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Kids-Toy-Organizer-Storage-Natural/dp/B000W9R7EG/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1297102918&sr=8-4) I labeled each bin with a picture of the toys that go into each and A loves to put things away in them - he even tells me which bin to use. As he grows out of them I pack them in plastic tubs and into my mom's attic they go.

Mrs. Boom said...

Jen, I love the idea of those bins and labels for the little ones cleaning up after themselves. Definitely something to think about in the near future!

Jenny said...

In regards to G following directions more. I definitely see that with a couple of the kids in my daycare that are G's age or a couple months older. They are so good at wanting to help. they understand so much more than they are able to express, but that's totally normal.

nadia @ house36 said...

I have the same problem. We don't have a toddler (yet) but a 6 year-old that likes to spread toys all over the place. We recently got an Ikea console table with baskets bins for our living room. Hopefully that will help control the mess.

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