Smart toy storage tricks that every parent needs to know

Extreme couponer Aimee Geroux shares a few tricks she's learned along the way while raising kids on a budget. 

As a mom of three, aged 3 to 14, I can tell you I have had my fair share of toys needing organizing. I personally found that using these hacks not only helped us cut down on the amount of toys we bought, but also kept us organized. Spring cleaning time is here, and this is a great way to trim the toys. Go through everything, organize and donate or sell what you don’t need or don’t have room for! Too many toys cause clutter and overstimulate children causing them to not be able to focus on playing because something else is always catching their eye.

Use a Coffee Pod Carousel to Store Play-doh
My toddler loves Play-Doh but I don’t like the containers everywhere. I found a coffee pod carousel which fits the smaller Play-Doh containers perfectly. Not only does this keep everything organized, it also allows my little one to be somewhat independent in that she can access her Play-Doh as well as easily tidy up.

Use an Over the Door Shoe Organizer for Dolls and Their Accessories
I am a mom to all girls, so you can only imagine the amount of dolls and accessories that have lived in my home over the past 14 years. I used to use a regular storage bin for it all, however I found that made them out of sight, out of mind for my girls. I love the idea of using an over the door organizer to house the dolls and their accessories for easy access. My youngest daughter is only three, so having this on the back of a door right now doesn’t give her much access. Instead we have used removable sticky hooks to adhere it to the wall at her level. She also loves cars and the pockets are perfect for storing those and many other toys too! This also gives children the feeling of independence in being able to access their toys when they want and because they can access it, it is a great way for us to teach them responsibility in cleaning up.

Use a Plate Rack to Store Board Puzzles 
This is probably one of my favourite hacks. I picked up a plate rack at my local dollar store for $3. We actually have two at home. I use one to store wooden puzzles and the other to offer a few books daily that she can read. It really helps cut down on the mess of books and puzzles everywhere and allows you to rotate so your child isn’t “bored” or overwhelmed by so many books or puzzles to choose from.

Use Plastic Spice Racks Attached to the Wall to Store and Make Play Food Easily Accessible 
My daughter loves to cook up a storm in her play kitchen, but she had food here, there, and everywhere! She would get frustrated when she wanted to cook a specific thing but couldn’t find it. I wanted to be able to store her play food where it was visible & easily accessible for her. This plastic spice rack was perfect for this job. I attached one on the wall on both sides of her kitchen using removable sticky hooks. I am amazed at how well she cleans up compared to my older girls who just had toy bins back in the day.

Keep Paint in Old Hand Soap Pump Containers
Creative play is so important for kids, especially little ones. It not only helps their minds grow, but helps improve their fine motor skills, too. I work from home, so my youngest has a craft spot in my office. She loves to paint with many colours, and moving her paints into these empty soap pumps has been a total game changer for us. Not only is she able to get more paint herself there is no lid to forget to close and no more dried out paint!

Store Puzzles in Zipper Pouches
I kind of have a love/hate relationship with regular puzzles. You know the kind when you are doing a puzzle and are nearing the finish line and boom you are missing pieces. Well this happens a lot with kids, especially when there is a sea of boxes and toys everywhere. I found getting rid of the bulky boxes and using little zipper pouches to house our puzzles really helped. They are easily accessible for play and cleanup and you can store them in a cute fabric bin with a label. Organizing doesn’t have to be expensive either. I pick up most of our organizing products from the dollar store or second hand. With Spring here garage sales will begin and they are my hunting grounds!
Organize Your Children’s Artwork and Declutter the Mess 
Take photos of your kids' art work and make an art work photo book. My mother saved everything. Honestly, I have a huge storage bin of my school work, crafts, drawings, and certificates. One day I will tackle my own but having three kids the school and artwork can really pile up. Storing it can be a hassle and things often get bent, paint starts to pop off the paper and so on. I found taking photos of my girls' art work – of course not all of it – and turning those photos into books decluttered the mess and kept the memories in a more manageable way. There are tons of apps out there for this as well you can often find deals on photo books on daily deal and group buy sites for huge discounts.