Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Toy Solution

I've posted before (here) about our toy woes. I thought it would be fun to post a follow-up because we have a "system" now that is working so well for us--I'm really pleased with it. I say "system" in quotaion marks because it involved purchasing a piece of furniture--no cleverness on our part, just good luck in finding something that works for our space and circumstances.

So this is it--this storage piece from Ikea. Originally I wasn't looking to add more plastic to our lives, but I guess plastic does have its place and this would be one of those times. These bins are sturdy yet light and Dieter can handle them himself, sliding them out and putting them away, quite easily. Rainer likes to stand at the bench (holding on still) and slide out one drawer part way. Because I love the world of childhood the display of toys on top pleases me. I wondered initially if I should be worried about the "preschool-ification" of our living room, but I can't work up the energy. We don't have other space for their playroom so here it is. It doesn't bother me at all, to tell you the truth.
Here is what I especially like: the toys are all divided up into categories and kept separate. Before we had random baskets of toys lying around and it was chaotic. Now Dieter knows which bin to pull out to play what he wants. In the top he has train cars, then animals and dinos, then his Brio Mec set (passed down from Jacob). In the bottom, larger bins, is train track, trucks, then one drawer for "miscellaneous" which usually contains his doctor's kit and some random stuffed animals. Bins can be rotated out for other toys which are currently stored in Jacob's room. The selection is never overwhelming because at any given time it's just these 6 bins he has to choose from. I find he plays better this way.

Here are Rainer's toys. In the top bins: wooden cubes and baby toys, assorted softer baby toys, then the puzzles. In the bottom bins he has wooden toys, then his trucks, then assorted soft baby toys.
I'm so pleased with this system but am already a little apprehensive about more toys coming in. They don't need too much and I think this system has really demonstrated to me that "less is more." I'm definitely gearing up to ask family not to buy them toys this year for Christmas, but to contribute to one larger gift--some beautiful wooden German thing is what I'm thinking, or a wooden play kitchen, or something like that with real play value. We'll see.

16 comments:

Meg said...

I love your toy solution! It looks great, and I love the toys you're using. I also hate plastic (my oldest turns 8 on Sunday and I'm dreading the inevitable parade of plastic junk that's about to come into the house).

You're inspiring me to go thin out the junk that's overtaking the toy room--it's so true that less is more!

Glad to hear Rainer is doing better, especially after such a long day..

Amy said...

I think your Christmas solution is perfect....as a matter of fact that is exactly what we did for my daughters 3rd birthday. We got her the kitchen and all of our families "stocked" it for her. It worked out so great! I thought she might be a little upset at getting the "same" stuff over and over but she really just loves it! We went with a wooden kitchen and are just so happy we did! We do have a playroom for her but it is right off the living room/dining room and you can see everything...the wooden toys are just so much easier on the eye....good luck!

Laura said...

I love how your living room looks, most especially because it contains such a nice piece to store the toys...and the items displayed on the top look perfect. It feels so good when you find something that *works*.
I agree with the Christmas idea, but my family never goes for it...sigh...

Amy said...

I have peeped this before in another photo. I really like it, and while yes, plastic is annoying, I think it looks really good. And what a great toy solution!

ames said...

Ooh, I might need one of those storage systems, I already had a few of those Ikea bins just stacked but the shelves of bins look so inviting and accessible. A wooden kitchen playset with felt foodstuffs would be wonderful for any kid I think!

Rachel said...

I love that storage system! I have looked longingly at those units in the Ikea catalogue, but as we have an old bedroom cabinet turned into a toy cupboard I can't justify replacing it. You're right about birthdays & Christmas - they get so much stuff that, actually, they don't play with it all - in Joe's case it just ends up all over the floor for me to trip over!

Julie said...

I love your storage system... and I definitely love the idea of having less. Wooden toys are wonderful... as is your idea of receiving one special gift for Christmas.

Florence said...

Your toy choices look so similar to ours - I love seeing all the wooden loveliness on display. In our old house we had long shelves where we kept everything out and ready to be played with and my daughter quickly learnt to pack one set of toys away before getting another one out, so it worked well for us. I find we now have far too many toys and wish we could simplify the selection a little...it's just that so many of them were recent birthday/christmas presents! I love the look of your storage system.

Re: the wooden toy kitchen, that has to be our best ever purchase - my six year old still plays with it frequently and it is at the centre of so many of their games.

It feels like so long since I've commented on your lovely blog - I have been out of circulation somewhat, but you and Rainer have been in my thoughts. x

taimarie said...

This looks great. Arn't wooden toys just so cute? We have the livingroom as playroom thing over here too and I don't mind it either. He plays more with his toys that way too, then if he had to be off in a room by himself. And another vote for the Christmas idea- it has been working really well over here (only one offended relative!) and we have been able to avoid *most* plastic. There still seems to be a lot of plastic toys out in the yard, but at least they're not in the house!

felt said...

yes, yes, yes, and YES! Did I say YES!
Nicole

About Us: said...

I like it, I wondered if it was from Ikea. Gives me some good ideas as our house is not very large, so I could see this in the living room too........does Ikea still carry it I wonder?

Molly

Gift of Green said...

We're going to Ikea this weekend. Wheeeee!!! :)

Kelli said...

we need to make one more trip to IKEA for the old house kitchen cupboards,maybe I will check it out since toys in our house are ....... crazy.

the collective said...

nice solution! I've found this to be one of the toughest things to manage around our house, but I maintain that giving everything a home is the way to do it!


librarycollective.blogspot.com

Wesley Jeanne said...

I like this solution. I would love to have something like this for our living room. Much more orderly than our current system, which is just stacks of plastic bins with lids. Plus you can have that display area on top.

Thanks for the inspiration to do something about our toy problem.

Amber said...

Hello :)
I have just discovered your blog - it's lovely! I was excited about this post. i love seeing children's things being presented in a lovely and organised way. I bought the large cube shelving from ikea for our playroom & really like it... but I can also see that this would be great too. There is space under the windows in there so maybe as the boys get older I might look at it. Thanks for your *beautiful* photos and explainations and inspiration :)