Baskets are a practical way to hide obnoxious colors and shapes in a beautiful room. Not only do they look nice, but they are typically made from natural materials, which help absorb noise and energy.
Image: Jodi Mockabee Photography
For the past ten years, we’ve had a basket of wooden blocks, a basket of Shleich® animals and a basket of legos that all of the children have enjoyed. These baskets have moved from room to room, depending on their use, and have never affected the design of any room due to their aesthetic.
TJ Maxx, Home Goods and Ross usually have great prices and a variety of sizes for baskets–however, I have gotten quite a few at thrift stores. Don’t limit your basket use to just toys. Organize your pantry, your closets and your bathroom with baskets as well!
If your child is into something specific, for example, dinosaurs or horses, displaying them can be an artistic element in a room. You can either display just a few toys and then style the shelving with plants and nature items or you can use the shelving to display their entire collection. This keeps the toys off of the floor and allows the child to showcase their passion.
Hanging hooks on the wall is another way to showcase toys or instruments. This allows for more floor space and also doubles as filling wall space that would normally take up another form of clutter. Some toys or instruments can double as art and create a beautiful vignette! If your child has an attractive backpack, creative handmade necklaces or a special souvenir (such as artistic masks, a hand-carved flute or an etched leather purse), display those by hanging hooks or making a shelf with hanging hooks below!
This is probably the most important solution for managing children’s toys! Observe how your child plays and what he or she plays with. You will notice very quickly that there is only a small amount that he or she is drawn to. Donate the rest. We have a 6-week rule in our home for toys and clothes. If something isn’t played with or worn in 6 weeks, we donate it. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as skis and snow clothes, which are seasonal, but overall, this helps us keep waste outside of our home and allows another family to enjoy a barely used item.
When minimizing your selection of toys, think about replacing them with something that may be more educational for your child. Through years of raising babies and toddlers, I realized that they don’t need much in the form of toys, but they could be developing other skills had I provided the opportunity and the materials.
For example, have little baskets of beads and string available, or provide baskets of yarn for your child to create with. By the age of 6, a child can learn to finger knit, and around the age of 8, they can learn to knit. There have been many studies related to the art of knitting, the motor skills involved and how it creates a more grounded child.
Books should never be limited, but instead provided in each room! We store ours in wooden crates and there is typically one crate in each room. This allows the child to move throughout the home and find a place of refuge in a corner with some good books.
By replacing toys with learning materials, your children will build a base for creativity and learn to use their imagination as a form of play.
For more Jodi Mockabee articles: Kitchen Reveal