Last Saturday, while Addison & Mackenzie spent the day with Jeremy's parents, I took the opportunity to move a bookcase from the kitchen to the living room, in hopes of corralling the toy explosion.
Five days later, I am just about ready to declare that this shelf has changed my life.
Before we started using the bookcase, there was a large plastic bin in the corner for loose toys, and the books were stacked haphazardly underneath an end table. I felt like none of the toys in the bin were ever really played with, the books always ended up all over the place, and the little odd-n-end toys were driving me up the wall.
With the shelf in place, there is plenty of room for the books we keep in the living room and the smaller toys fit perfectly into the four smaller bins on the lower shelves. One bin is solely for blocks, while the others are slightly more catch-all spots. Since the girls play in the living room most of the time (at least until I get the spare room/playroom set up the way I want it), most of their dolls and stuffed animals are in here also. Those are now in the large plastic bin for easy access, along with a few throw blankets and pillows.
So far, it's working well. The girls have designated spots to put toys away, making clean-up easier for them to do and easier for me to enforce. And on the occasions that I do it myself (because yes, there are many times I just don't have the patience to guide them through the process), it's so much easier to just toss the toys in bins than to try and find a place for everything. A & M can get the toys they want on their own, and they are playing with stuff they had otherwise forgotten. They can see their books more clearly, and it makes my book-loving heart swell to see them reaching for them just as often as most of their toys.
This small change has made it easier to keep the living room more organized and less cluttered, and that makes me one very happy mama.
Now I just have to find a piece of furniture to fill the hole left by the bookcase in the kitchen...but that could actually be fun. I have big dreams of a refurbished dresser or buffet to store my china in. We'll see how it turns out!