Everyone who's house is over run with kid toys say "YEAHHH!!" (this only makes sense if you have seen the Leprechaun video)
Seriously though, I don't think I've ever met a mom who says "I love having my children's primary colored plastic items sprinkled all over every room in my home!" It's constant struggle for me to let-it-go and allow my kids to enjoy themselves while not having a nervous breakdown because I CANNOT HANDLE THE MESS ANY LONGER WE ARE GETTING RID OF EVERYTHING!
We live in a small home with only two bedrooms and 1 living space, so I do not have the pleasure of containing everything to a playroom and just shutting the door to conceal the mess. On top of that, my kids share a room so space is truly minimal. I have had to be creative over these past three years since having kids in not only how I organize and hide the toys, but also what I bring into our house in the first place. We just simply choose to say no to certain larger items because we know we just don't have the space to accommodate them.
I want to start off by talking about simplifying because I truly think you can't really tackle organizing the toys without first doing a good purge of the items. Most of the time when we feel like we can't keep things looking tidy its because we probably have too much stuff than we have places to put it.
Moving into our current home that was built in the 1930's with only two small closets, I realized right away that I had more belongings than I had places to put them...and this was before kids. I slowly began pairing down my wardrobe and other items to just the bare essentials. I got rid of anything that I didn't wear or use regularly and at this point in my current closest, I have about 15 tops and 4 pairs of pants. If I don't wear it in 6 months, I get rid of it. (We don't have seasons in South Florida so I know most people follow the 1 year rule since they may not wear winter clothing items for more than 6 months before needing them). I follow this same rule with my kids belongings. If they do not play with a certain toy or game within about 6 months, I decide its time to part ways with it. So that means twice a year, I sit down and filter through all their toys (and clothes) and separate the things that are not used to be donated and which well loved things to keep. I know as the kids get older this will become more difficult for them to do this as they suddenly become very attached to something the moment you put it in the giveaway bin...but most of the time I do this while Sutton isn't home or during naps/bedtime. If they haven't noticed it in the 6 months they haven't played with it...they will likely never notice its missing.
Another thing we do to keep the toys to a minimum is request no gifts at birthday parties and ask the grandparents to limit Christmas gifts to no more than three items per child. I know this probably sounds heartless but we can all agree that children in America have more than an abundance of belongings and often get many special gifts throughout the year so there is no need to continue to stock pile toys upon toys when we already have plenty. I love the idea of asking friends to bring birthday gifts on your child's behalf to be donated to a local ministry or non-profit. What a great way to teach these little ones at an early age what a privilege it is to bless others in need!
Ok, now down to the practical items I have found to be useful in keeping the toys you find worth holding on to, organized.
1. BASKETS...LOTS OF BASKETS! Honestly, this is my number 1 tip for organizing toys. Just buy a bunch of cute baskets! For larger items like stuffed animals, shape sorters, balls, dolls, trucks, etc., I have found purchasing wicker baskets from Home Goods to be the best, most decorative and affordable solution for these. We keep two of these in the kids rooms and once they start to overflow...I go through and pair down the items to decipher which items they are actually playing with. Like I already mentioned above...anything that doesn't get used....we say bye-bye.