Organizing Ideas for Kids Toys, Games and Puzzles

This is the time of year I go crazy cleaning and organizing.  Seriously crazy, uber- organizing, the over the top kind of cleaning and organizing most people do in a year, I do in a week!

And I love it!

I love organizing, cleaning, straightening and making the house look nice.  I can't stand clutter and really live the mantra "everything in it's place."

Something about taking down all the Christmas decorations and cleaning up the house makes me go a bit nutty.  I love to decorate for Christmas, but by Christmas day all the decorations start to make the house feel cluttered.  Add to that all the millions of toys and games the kids get and I am chomping at the bit to clean it all up.

I dive in headlong and start cleaning things I previously thought were pretty organized.

Over the last four days I have re-arranged all the furniture in the boys rooms, brought up tables and bins from the playroom and helped them organize all their new Christmas toys.

I have taken out all the board games, puzzles, cards, etc. and organized the closets.

We used to have all of our games stacked up on top of one another almost to the ceiling and when you pulled out one game you were lucky if you could escape a mountain of other games falling onto you... not anymore!
  • I took out every game from every closet
  • I sorted them by size
  • I went through the boxes and threw away that extra packaging they so nicely include in game boards
  • I packed up any small pieces into plastic resealable bags, bought some dollar store headbands and proceeded to stack our board games sideways on our shelves.  
The headbands hold the boxes together, the baggies keep us from loosing any small pieces, and by sorting them according to size I was able to re-arrange our shelves to make them all fit much better.  They are within reach (without needing to use a step stool!), we can pull one game down at a time and yet still see all that we own at a glance.  (I did all this in a morning!)

I didn't take a before photo but this is after... so nice and organized! 

This is our second set of shelves--  it too holds games and toys
All our decks of cards and card-like games (think Old Maid, Go fish, Uno, etc) are stored in the colored photo bins.

I also organized the playroom.
  • We dumped out all the bins of toys.
  • We sorted the toys according to use,  cleaned out anything broken, we sprayed everything down with some Lysol and then decided what to put where.  
  • I typed up new labels on the computer and taped them to each of the bins. 
  •  We washed all the dress up clothes, the dress up hamper and anything else that was machine washable.  
labeling our toy bins with pictures and words is something I have always done;
 it really helps the kids keep their stuff cleaned up and organized. 

Our playroom looked huge, mostly due to the fact that my kids are growing up and we just don't have as many toys, but partly due to the fact that we organized and cleaned too.  

The boys love jigsaw puzzles but they were so hard to find in the cabinet that they never played with them.

We brought a shelf we weren't using down from Ian's room and I displayed all our puzzles on it.  The bottom two shelves hold the large floor puzzles in their original boxes while the top shelf holds large Ziploc bags of smaller jigsaw puzzles (though I did cut the photo off the front of each box and put it in the bag so they knew what they were trying to build). 

our new puzzle shelf
Ian needed a newer larger Lego shelf and so we ordered him two of these metal shoe racks like his brothers have.  They came in and I assembled them today and helped Ian fill his shelves with plastic dollar store shoe bins.

My boys don't really like to combine Lego sets at first and we found most of the sets will fit into these shoe bins nicely.

Today I did go through and pull out all the Lego instruction manuals and organize each of the boys manuals into three ring binders.  The booklets fit nicely into page protectors and allows the boys to pull them out whenever they need and yet gives them more room for Lego storage in each bin.

The boys Lego shelves
All the Lego books before

The Lego books all sorted and organized
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