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HOME :: Toy Rotation + Organization

Simplifying toys will get you far when it comes to organizing your home. But even if you’re left with only a few sets of toys, organizing and displaying them in an easy to access way will set your child up for independent play success!

Today I’m going to walk you through a quick few tips about toy storage and rotation, as we do it in our own home.

Tips For Toy Storage + More Engaged Play Time

Rotate Your Toys. We have had such great success with keeping out only a few sets of toys at a time. By limiting choices, children are able to decide more easily what to actually play with. Avoiding overwhelm from too many options is key to successful independent play time.

Have Age Appropriate Expectations. But how many toy sets should be out at a time? This is totally dependent on your child, their age and development, and their ability to play (and clean up) independently. And luckily, really easy to figure out! Start small, leave out 3-5 play sets in an easy to access storage space. If your child plays well, and can easily tidy up after a few days with the new toy set up, feel free to add another set or two. If they struggle with decision making and tidy up time, remove a set and try again. You’ll find your sweet spot in no time!

Need help pairing down your toy collection, check this post out on simplifying toys!

Create a Toy Library. To keep toys and imaginations fresh, our extra toy sets are stored nearby when not in use (think top shelf of closet). This way we can retrieve and rotate sets easily. Toy rotation is especially great for seasons of extended at home play: longer winter months, introducing a new sibling, stay at home children, in home daycares. A fresh set of toys is the perfect cure for restless littles! 

Think Open Storage. Open shelving is great for toy storage. If your toys are “out of sight” they’ll be “out of mind.” This is a common method via Montessori early childhood education, and works so well for children of all ages. Place each toy set in its own small basket or tray to create an inviting “holding space” on the shelf, grouped easily for your child’s retrieval.

Notice how the open storage, trays and smaller baskets show the contents of the toys. While the tall brown baskets hide what’s inside. Keeping toys visual means kid’s see what options they have to play with!

Avoid this common mistake! Using baskets or bins too large for your shelving (think bins made to perfectly fit cube storage shelves). While they look nice to an adult’s eye, hide the toy clutter from the naked eye, and seem like they’d work great (they’re made to fit after all!). They actually hide the toy from the child… and remember, out of sight, out of mind

Rotate Books Too. Just as too many toys can overwhelm, so can too many books. We like to keep roughly a dozen out at a time, and rotate when the interest is lost. We love book rotation day in our home! Pulling out old favorites for the new rotation often sounds like Christmas morning. And speaking of Christmas, store holiday themed books with any seasonal decor items. This way they aren’t cluttering up your year round storage space, and are easily retrieved for book rotation when the time is right (when I pull my seasonal decor bin down to decorate).

Teach Them To Tidy. Just as many things are in childhood, teaching a child to pick up their toys is a learned skill. If your child struggles to clean up at the end of the day, here are a few tips.

  • Toy Rotation: this comes full circle, but less toys out means less toys to put away.
  • Lead By Example: in the early days of parenting, clean up with your child, they learn best from modeled behavior.
  • Categories: break down the daunting task by recommending a category of toys to pick up first (example: kitchen toys, dolls or trucks).
  • Be Real: if the task at hand looks too overwhelming for you, imagine how it feels to your child! A room too hard to tidy is a sign of too many things! (see point one, toy rotation!).
  • Make It A Game: turning clean up time into a game can make it more fun. Try racing a song or choosing a mystery toy.
  • Build Daily Rhythms: providing expectations for the child means they can depend on the same thing each day. Build in clean up rhythms to your day. Great times to do this would be during lunch and dinner prep. Resetting the space half way through the day also means a less daunting pick up when children are more tired and less compliant in the evenings.




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