Getting Organized: Starting with the Toys

Over the years, I have received a lot of questions about how I organize/store our kids toys.  In general, we tend to lean towards a more minimal approach with toys......and a small house only encourages this lifestyle. We are also fortunate to have family and friends who understand that if they buy our girls a huge automated toy, we literally have no where to put it. I realize that's not the case for everyone, but I do believe that before figuring out how to store toys, it's best to start with what should be donated (or thrown away in some cases). The very minute after I feel like I have a handle on the amount of toys we've accumulated, I'm back to scratching my head saying "how did we get here again?", so I do not have a perfect handle on things in case you're wondering. But the truth is, the less toys you have, the less storage issues you will have. 

Though the girls may have fewer toys than the average kid with a playroom, I'm quick to assure visitors who ask "where are all your toys??" that they are just very well hidden through the house. In a 1300 sq. ft. house it's equally important to me for us adults to enjoy our living room and for the girls to have access to what they love. The living room can quickly become a disaster with blocks and doll accessories strewn about, but at the end of the day when it's all picked up......we don't have to see all the toys, and that does a lot for me. So where do we hide them you ask? Here are some of my favorite solutions:

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(left to right)
1. This adorablelaundry bag is perfect for storing dress-ups and other "make believe toys".
2. We have a similarcredenzain our living room, and rather than being filled with dvds, it stores their magnatiles, lacing cards, and puzzles.
3.vintage cratesare the best for storing books (as well as arts and crafts)
4. I love theseindestructible baskets. I store the girls dolls and stuffed animals in similar ones, and have been known to stuff the ugly ones in the bottom.
5.This littlezip up bagis great for all those small pieces like doll accessories. I like that it's flimsy, so I can also stuff it in one of the above baskets.
6. Thiswoven ottomanis amazing. You could use it as a side table or an ottoman, but it literally fits my girls toy farm, a horse stable, and tons of animal figurines with room to spare.
7. We have a similarstorage benchin our sun room that we bought from Ikea our first year of marriage, and while it's seen better days- it is an amazing place to store toys while also providing seating.
8. We use thisbasketas a laundry hamper, but it would also be a great option for toy storage.
9. This skinnyIkea cabinet(intended for shoe storage) takes up basically no space and would be great way to store arts and crafts.