Today’s post is all about organization! The first project we tackled on our long to-do-list for our son’s farmhouse bedroom was to set up a toy closet. Our son is 5 years old, his room is on the smaller side, and he has way more toys than clothes, hence a toy closet. We will probably revert his closet back in a few years but for now, we thought that using the closet to store most of his toys was the best use for the space.
This is a before picture of the closet…
When I tackle an organizational project, I always follow these six steps:
1. EMPTY * The first thing I did was to empty the whole closet. Emptying a space really helps me to see it with fresh eyes and sometimes can lead me in a new, unexpected, and exciting direction.
2. BEAUTIFY * The ‘beautify’ part always helps me maintain the newly organized space. For the closet, I simply gave a fresh coat of paint to the walls, trim, and ceiling, and made a pennant banner (tutorial coming soon) to add a pop of color and a bit of playfulness to the closet and also to hide an ugly pipe.
3. SORT * I sorted all of my son’s toys (which was not a small task) and came up with 15 categories: cars, trains, planes, animals, play food, musical instruments, blocks, art supplies, preschool books, legos, stuffed animals, big trucks, puzzles, games, and miscellaneous. During the sorting process, I always have 4 containers labeled DONATE, RECYCLE, TRASH, KEEP next to me and I sometimes have a SELL bin as well. I like to put my ‘DONATE’ boxes straight in the car when I am done organizing. That forces me to make a trip to my local donation center right away instead of having boxes laying around our home for days.
4. PLAN * I think having a plan before putting stuff back in the room is so important. I usually sit down with a piece of paper and figure out where and how everything will be stored. For my son’s room, we decided to go with two shelving units and two toy chests. We already owned two shelving units and one toy chest and we found an humongous tool box with two compartments that we will be using as an additional toy chest. More on that later… The only thing we had to purchase for the toy closet were 12 fabric drawers. Planning also prevents me from buying storage items that won’t be needed at the end.
5. ORGANIZE * Now time to put the stuff back into the room. If you already did the planning, it should be a piece of cake! Just plop all of the items where they belong. Remember to be flexible! Sometimes even the best plan need some tweaking…
6. LABEL * I think a lot of the success of a new organizational system rests on this last step. For this project, I ended up with 15 categories and 23 containers in a 5 year old boy’s room. Not labeling anything would be like throwing all of my hard work in the trash. My son doesn’t read yet so I purchased these labels on Etsy that have pictures on them.
I laminated the labels, which will ensure their strenght and durability and I attached them to the fabric drawers with 1.5” rings.
Here is where everything ended up going…
SHELVING UNIT #1 (12 fabric drawers and 4 vintage locker baskets)
9. Play food
10. Musical instruments
*The 4 vintage locker baskets on the top shelf contain wooden and plastic blocks.
We also have a narrow wall next to the closet where we set up a second shelving unit.
SHELVING UNIT #2 (7 plastic boxes)
2. Art supplies
3. Art supplies
*The last three plastic boxes are empty and not labeled. I like to keep a few empty containers for new categories which are sure to come up as my son gets older.
The two toy chests will store our son’s big trucks, stuffed animals, puzzles, and games. We are beyond happy with this toy closet and I could not believe my eyes when I saw our son cleaning up his room without me asking:)
One thing that I did not list but in my opinion is one of the most important steps is to purge regularly and ruthlessly. I really think stuff has magical powers. New items come in the house without us knowing where each item should go, broken items never get fixed, unused items sit for years in closets and drawers and purging regularly is a great defense against all that built up and unwanted clutter.
Setting up a new organizational system can be a little bit of work but I can guarantee that it will save you time, energy, and money in the long run. Well worth the few hours spent! Happy organizing!
Greetings from Kingsbury Brook Farm!
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