Toy Stash

My children were 2 and 3 years old when we moved to Canada. They had a handful of toys that we had packed in our suitcases: a Barbie doll each, a Bratz doll, a toy telephone, a couple of educational toys, and a few fluffy toys. What they had was enough, especially as they had spent a lot of their time playing outside in the sandbox.

Christmas time that year in Toronto was quite an eye-opener for my husband and I. We have a couple of cousins here and they gave my children some toys for Christmas. We could not believe their generosity – a generosity we were thankful for when it became too cold for the girls to play outside for long periods of time. My daughters spent many hours using the dolls and small doll house they had received as the gateway to their imaginary world.

My children’s toy stash increased dramatically with the advent of kindergarten and the receiving of gifts at their birthday parties. Parents offered my children Barbies, fluffy animals, DVDs, board games, and art activities. It seemed to me as if my children’s room was overflowing with play things: dolls, lego, and a variety of little shapes often littered the floor. I had to get the mess in order ! And make sure that not too many toys were out. A room that is too messy discouraged my little girls from cleaning up!

Toy stash sorted! © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

My solution? Sorting the toys into bins according to “themes”: lego in one box; barbie dolls in another; Polly pockets in a different box; musical instruments and stationary in another. I also made it a rule that they could not play with more than two boxes at a time – a rule that made tidying up less stressful.

Games and toys packed neatly away. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

I still cannot get over how many toys my children have – a lot more than if we had stayed in South Africa. I have often felt grateful, though, for their toy stash as it has kept them occupied during cold winter days and the long summer holidays (especially as TV is limited in our household).

What has been your solution to your children’s toy stash?

(This blog post was inspired by Jake and his stunning graphics. The prompt for his weekly challenge this week is: Toys.)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012


32 thoughts on “Toy Stash

  1. I am so glad we are past the toy clutter. My children were the same, so many toys, here they couldn’t always play outside because it was too hot and then there is the sun, and their skin, I was never keen on putting too much sun screen on them, I can’t help thinking that skin cancer might be prevented from the sun, but are we poisoning them with all the sun screen, our children will be the first generation of children that have had sun screen put on them almost since birth and for the rest of their lives. Sorry, not quite what you were hoping for.


    1. One of the reasons we stay inside at midday too. I do not like to put sun screen on either because of the chemicals in the lotion. So our routine was for them to play inside (with their toy stash) and then go out after 3pm when the sun is not as strong.


      1. Here it is 11 to 3, the sun should be avoided. I don’t know what it is like anywhere else, but the sun here just burns, if you are standing in it, you can feel it burning. I am told it has something to do with the hole in the ozone layer above Melbourne.


    1. We live in a small space and the mess was driving me crazy! So slowly I implemented he rules. Sometimes though I let them play with more but on rare occasions. And they always had to help me tidy up.


  2. Great shots of a good Mommy manager. It is funny because over the years I have repurposed many of the plastic bins, similar to yours, that contained toys and art stuff. I had the kids draw pictures when they were little to tell them what was in the bin. Now I have repurposed toy bins with cute kid labels in the pantry and other closets that say things like – legos, or dolls, with fun pictures; but, they really contain cookies or other food stuff now.


  3. Recently our household has looked like a lego retail store…but a messy version where someone trashed the store. We have lego boxes all lined up against a wall…my son’s idea. But, then the entire carpet in his room was covered in lego pieces. He loves this and says he can find what pieces he wants better and he is always working on lego designs. Of course, we parents had had enough of the cluttered look, so I bought shallow bins that house the legos of various colours and sizes, similar to your arrangement. This doesn’t guarantee that the lego arrives in its home each day, but at least we now have a somewhat managed system!


  4. Wish I could be that organized! Must make life so much easier. 🙂
    I just realized that I’ve been missing out on a lot of posts, and yours is one of them. I don’t know why, but I’m only getting e-mails of new posts from a handful of blogs that I follow. I’ve been wondering why some of the people hardly ever add a new post. I’m still not sure what went wrong… I will try and get to the bottom of this.


  5. Toys bring back many memories when the children are grown up. As soon as they see the toy they start telling all their stories what they did when they were playing with them! You are well organised. Boys love a more mixed up box with toys!


  6. That is very nice indeed. You asked our solution. Well, in our home we have all cloths in excellent order. For example underwear, bed sheets, towels, etc. Well love the system which we bought about 12 years ago. For example to find and to see which T-shirt or sweater to put on can be seen in one glance. I think that maybe that system would be suitable for toys also. Now You are curious about what I am talking.

    Here is the link:

    Elfa system

    Happy Friday!


  7. Colline, I admire your system and your girls for following your system. I wish I can have something like that here in our house. Our system is to rotate the toys every other 3 weeks. The toys that are available all go to the floor and everywhere in the house. Yay.


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