The Goose is a bit like a ferret, in that he likes to hoard things. He stuffs items in secret hiding places throughout the house. I’ll find a stash of Legos behind the entertainment center, a box of cereal bars in his suitcase, or my whisk, turkey baster and vegetable steamer under his train table.
Because The Goose’s clutter tends to pile up quickly, I need a creative solution for storing kids stuff. Here are some ideas that I use to keep his stuff organized, in plain sight, and accessible, so he can both get it out and put it away on his own.
1. Bath Toys
The Goose has a ton of bath toys. He has bathtub markers, boats, floating hippos, a pretend razor. The problem? He has started taking showers instead of baths. The bigger problem? He doesn’t want me to throw away his bath toys.
The solution? Suction hooks and lingerie bags. I have three lingerie bags, one for alphabet toys, one for vehicles, and one for animal toys. They hang nice inside the shower, thanks to our super heavy duty suction hooks, and are still visible and easily accessible. They are also up high enough that I can take a bath with worrying about them being in my way, and we also don’t need to worry about mildew, because they never get wet.
2. Dress Up Clothes
Like most kids, The Goose loves to dress up in costumes. Sometimes he is a pirate, complete with a parrot on his shoulder, sometimes he is a clown, and sometimes he is a super hero, complete with an eye mask and a cape. The problem? What do we do with all of these dress up clothes when they aren’t being used? The bigger problem? How can I make it easier for The Goose to pick up and put away his stuff?
The Solution? Bins and tags. We have several Closetmaid storage structures in our playroom, and we have a handful of different colored fabric bins that we use to store The Goose’s toys. We used to have a color coding system, where the blue bin would be for puzzles, the red one was for costumes, and the white one was for blocks. The problem was that The Goose could never remember which items belonged in which bin, so nothing ever got put away. Now, each bin is clearly marked with a tag that has a picture of the bin’s contents, as well as the written word.
3. Kids Dishes
The Goose has more plastic plates, bowls and cups than any child should reasonably have. I like them to be accessible so that he can get his own cup of water when he’s thirsty, or his own bowl if he’s having cereal for breakfast. The problem: Little kids can’t reach the kitchen cupboards where the dishes are all stored. The bigger problem: We have a small kitchen, and while ideally I would love to have a drawer designated for kids’s dishes, it’s not possible.
The Solution: We use a bin that sits just under our microwave, where we store all of the Goose’s dishes. He knows right where to find them when he needs them, and he also puts them away when we empty the dishwasher. As a bonus, I keep a snack bin on the shelf next to the dishes. That way, The Goose can get himself some cheese crackers and a bowl to put them in.
I’d love to say that all of these organizing techniques have made The Goose super excited to pick up after himself. But they haven’t. What they have done, however, is make it easier for us to work together to pick up his playroom, put away his dishes, and pick up the bath toys before he gets out of the tub. That’s better than nothing, right?