Let’s be real: Sometimes it takes all you have to simply keep the kids fed, bathed and entertained on any given day. Cleaning up and staying organized can easily fall to the bottom of the priority list when spelling tests, basketball practice and work deadlines loom large.
As much as parents may aspire to keep a Pinterest-worthy home, often it’s not in their hands when kids have a funny knack for undoing their parents’ best efforts at tidying up.
Whether it’s spring cleaning, the prospect of hosting your friend’s baby shower or simply a desire to regain your sanity that’s driving your assault on the chaos of clutter, getting organized can feel sooo good. We took a look at some common kids stuff that junks up most family homes – and offer some solutions to get them in check.
1. Attach old planter baskets to the side of the sandbox for easy toy storage.
Bonus: you can easily rinse them all off with the garden hose without getting the sandbox soaked. From here.
2. Label aluminum buckets so it’s easy to pick out what they want to play with that day (and put it away afterward).
It’s sort of like a menu of all their available awesome backyard options. From here.
3. Install a curtain rod with clip shower curtain rings to turn costume storage into wall art.
5. Or, you can build a little costume closet that features a built-in catch-all bin.
It’s more portable than a rod screwed into the wall. Get the plan to make this here.
6. Store Legos in wire drawers, by color.
This is especially helpful when you get to the point that you have more Legos than you know what to do with. Get more info here.
7. OR put together this cool Lego table with a couple of plastic drawer units and big sheets of building board.
Super simple how-to here.
8. Keep minifigure madness at bay with a storage wall that’s also a display.
They won’t fall over because they have little strips of Lego building board holding them in place. Here’s the tutorial for this cool display.
9. Glue some extra building board to the top of pencil boxes to make it easy to bring Legos on the road.
Also good for waiting in restaurants. Get the instructions here.
10. Give each card game a designated plastic box.
That way, they stack neatly in the closet. Get the how-to here.
11. And each puzzle a designated pencil bag.
This makes them easy to grab and bring with you to keep the kids entertained.From here.
12. Stack bigger board games vertically, either in a storage ottoman or in a drawer.
It makes it easy to find what you want and pull it out, book-style. Idea from here.
13. Organize action figures in an over-the-door shoe caddy.
This parent even labeled each of the pockets.
14. And (maybe the most classic of all over the door shoe caddy tricks) Barbies.
This blogger customized her over-the-door hanger so it fit the dolls perfectly.
15. Hang a swath of tulle from Command hooks to create a stuffed animal perch.
It’s prettier than most inexpensive toy nets, but still really affordable! Here’s the tutorial.
16. Keep last minute shoe-searches to a minimum ~and~ make sure everyone always knows when grandma’s coming with this calendar/shoe caddy combo.
Learn how to make the chalkboard yourself here.
17. Install a backpack and homework command station for each kiddo.
They can drop their backpacks in the same spot each day, and you could use the chalkboards for reminders or to-do lists. See the step-by-step here.
18. Or hang seat sacks on the back of their homework chairs.
It just depends on what will work best for your family. Here’s how you can make them.
19. Put together a pretty supply box that holds everything they might need for their homework projects.
This tutorial is for a teacher’s toolbox, but it would also work really well outside the classroom.
21. Save time on school mornings by asking your child to pick out their outfits for the week every Sunday.
You can buy this pre-labeled organizer here for $29.95.
22. Or, paint door hangers with chalkboard paint so you can keep track of what activities the day’s clothes will have to endure.
That way, maybe the white pants won’t end up splashing through mud on P.E. day. Get the instructions here.
23. Or, just print out these free templates.
These are best if you need the lowest-cost, lowest-stress version of this solution. Get them here.
24. Give everyone an interactive to-do list using old baking sheets.
This way, you get to decide which chores each child will be responsible for each day, and they get to mark when they finish them. Learn how to make these here.
25. Or, set up a similar system using clip boards and clothes pins.
You could even make one for yourself, too. From here.
26. Put together a chore board if your chores change regularly.
Get the step-by-step for this here.
27. Or just print out this chore chart checklist template.
Less interactive, but still helpful! Get it here.
28. Make your kids some under-bed drawers to help make it easy for them to put their toys away.
29. Paint the outside of each under bed drawer with chalkboard paint so as the kids grow you can re-label the drawers.
30. Give hair clips a pretty place to live, which just might inspire your child to put them away.
Can’t promise it will work, but you can always try! From here.
31. Try the same trick with an empty photo frame.
You can paint it to match the rest of the room, and screw in little hooks for hanging headbands. Get the how-to here.
32. Create more storage and rod space with a stacked unit like this one.
You’ll need a couple of extra closet rods, but you can make it easier for your toddler to reach their clothes. See how these parents seriously transformed a tiny closet here.
33. Designate a “crap bucket” for each kid, so you can drop stuff in that they need to put away.
34. Give your child their own trash bin for long road trips.
It might help keep the backseat from turning into a nightmare. Alternatively, your child can store their favorite car activities in these. Learn how to make them here.
35. Mount an extra tension shower rod right next to the bathtub and use s-hooks to hang plastic baskets.
Adding a bit of extra organization to the night time routine never hurt anyone. From here.
36. Give everyone their own designated cup, toothpaste, and toothbrush.
This parent Velcroed them to the wall, too, so they’re easy to grab and put away.
37. Go one step further and include a towel hook.
Great for bathrooms that don’t have room for four separate towel rods. Get the how-to here.
38. Sew up some pretty hanging bags so you always have an extra pacifier at your fingertips.
Or one of the other thousands of baby things you might need conveniently stationed next to the crib. Get the tutorial here (the english translation is in italics beneath each step).
39. Display their favorite book of the moment on a minimalist shelf.
Get the instructions for how to build these here.