A while back I was frustrated with my son’s seeming inability to put his toys back where they belonged. Then it dawned on me…maybe he just did not remember where they belonged. I took a cue from the daycare and decided to label his toy storage with pictures! The playroom has stayed much neater ever since (it even helps mom and dad remember where to put things away).
The arts and crafts storage in our laundry room was actually inspired by our success with the Ikea Trofast storage in the playroom. We used the shorter, bench-like Trofast frames in the playroom. We wanted all the toys to be easily accessible for the boys. I opted for a mix of larger white and smaller green bins. On top of the frames there is room for oversized toys, but they are still within reach of the boys.
The two units are perpendicular to each other in the corner of the playroom. I made the “dead” space in the corner functional by adding a wire bin to hold balls and over-sized tools, like the leaf blower. To the left of the toy storage are the book ledges, which actually touch the storage unit and the top ledge is even with the top of the unit. This makes it look like a whole storage wall system. On the other side of the toy storage, on the adjacent wall, is our reading sofa and console table with more book storage.
I love the concealed storage. It keeps the playroom looking clutter free. The bins also provided the perfect opportunity for labels. To make the labels toddler friendly, I copied an idea I saw used at the daycare to put photos of the toys on the shelves where the toys belong. This helps the kids recognize the toy and where to put it away. I think this works best if you take pictures of your actual toys, not just generic pictures of similar toys.
I took an hour one weekend and set up a mini toy photo shoot. It was actually kind of fun to practice my very amateur photography skills. Before snapping photos, I decided how I wanted the toys sorted in each bin. Then I took a subset of toys from each bin to make a little vignette. I photographed each vignette. Some bins got two pictures to capture everything that belonged inside.
I printed wallet size photos on regular glossy photo paper with my home color printer. I cut them out with my paper cutter. I finished them off with my beloved corner rounder. I ran each pic through my xyron sticker machine with permanent adhesive to make them stickers. I stuck each picture on the appropriate bin. They have held up in perfect condition now for over six months…and for the most part the toys end up in the right bins :)