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    « What I learned this week: Stats that matter | Main | Picture this: A life less ordinary »

    Organization tips for Grandma: Clever storage for toys and more

    Note from Lisa: The following content is courtesy Family Features, tweaked for Grandma's Briefs.

    toy storage caseTo many grandparents, the process of keeping up with the grandkids' toys and more never seems to end. And while your home may never look quite like the perfect rooms in magazines, especially when the grandkids are visiting, a few clever solutions can make it easier to get — and keep — toys, books and clothes more organized.

    Think Vertical
    If the space where you most often entertain your grandkids is small or doesn't have a lot of built in storage, vertical storage may be helpful.
    • Add wall hooks or a peg rack at a height your child can reach and hang up sweaters, pajamas, jackets and book bags.
    • Tiered organizers that hang from a closet rod can hold small stuffed animals, clothing items, or shoes.
    • Wall hangers with pockets can be hung on the back of a door to hold shoes, small toys and craft supplies.

    Boxes, Baskets and Bins, Oh My
    Use containers to keep toys and other items sorted and make it easy to put away. Label the outside with words or pictures to help your child know exactly where to put things.
    • Home Bento boxes have internal flex dividers, which let you divide up the space within the box however you need it. Use them for small clothing items, craft supplies, small toys and games. They stack on top of each other, making it easy to maximize shelf space.
    • Baskets are lightweight and often have handles, so it's easy for a child to take them off the shelf and put them back. Basket liners let you coordinate the look to match your child's room.
    • Plastic storage bins can hold larger toys and play sets, off-season clothing and shoes. You can find bins to fit on shelves and under the bed, as well.

    Make it Fun
    There's no reason something as pragmatic as storage can't be fun, too.
    • Keep pens, pencils and markers together in a plastic paint can or flower pot the kids have decorated.
    • Place Velcro strips on toys and on playroom walls. Kids will enjoy sticking their toys to the wall, and you'll enjoy a cleaner play space.
    • Get an unpainted wooden crate from Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft stores, and paint, stain or decoupage it with whimsical colors and designs.

    Get more great storage ideas and solutions at

    Project Time For Crafty Grandparents!
    The fun Dotty Crate with Drawer pictured above is a great way to give grandchildren a fun and functional storage space — and you can get it done in less than a day.

    Dotty Crate with Drawer
    Some experience necessary
    Crafting Time: 3 to 5 hours

    Supplies and Tools:

  •     Wood crate with 1 drawer (available at craft stores)
  •     Soy Stains: Fruitwood, Cherry, Walnut
  •     Rubber gloves
  •     Old washcloth, soft rag
  •     Circle templates
  •     Stylus
  •     Ruler or yardstick
  •     1/2-inch flat paintbrush

    1. Using rubber gloves and an old cloth, rub the lightest stain, Fruitwood, over entire piece, on every surface that will be visible.

    2. Stain the middle slat of the drawer Walnut; stain the 2 adjacent slats Cherry. Repeat for the other side of the drawer; include slat edges when staining.

    3. Lightly impress circles on the front of the drawer and the top of the chest using the circle template and stylus. On the sides of the chest impress lines for 2 stripes of different widths, using a ruler and stylus.

    4. Fill in the circles and stripes with either Cherry or Walnut stain. For different stain intensities, 2 or even 3 coats of stain can be applied to some circles and some stripes.

    Source: Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores

    Today's question:

    What's your top storage tip for all the fun stuff you keep for entertaining the kids?

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    Reader Comments (7)

    Nothing as smart and crafty as your ideas! When my Grandkids were little, I'd just stow everything in the pak n' play upon departure.

    Since then we've purchased a big leather ottoman that opens up to a bunch of inside storage space. Then we added a new entertainment center that holds books, puzzles, games. Nothing hides the 'big stuff' but I don't care. I figure one day in the not so far future my heart will ache for the clutter.

    April 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNonnieKelly

    I don't have any crafty ideas either! It helps that Amara has her own room here so everything kind of has it's own place -- doesn't always get there but it isn't to bad. Helps that we have book shelves and a 3 drawer plastic cabinet for all her crafts. But I have to tell you the idea of letting her velcro toys to the wall -- is awesome! She would love it!

    April 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc

    Kids have their own room at my house......but I do keep decorative chests and baskets in living areas, den etc. Home Goods and TJ Maxx kind of to change it up from season to season....or my nautical decor. Remember, Lisa.....I the one on FB and blogs who does NOT do cooking or crafting! LOL

    April 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoan Stommen

    Great idea Lisa.

    Lucy loves boxes so she stores all her precious bits & pieces in them.

    April 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSally Kabak

    Great ideas! Thanks!

    April 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeth Zimmerman

    Great ideas Lisa! Thanks for sharing. My most organized storage for the grandkiddies is having the crayons, markers, and paints each in separate storage containers. Much easier to find things when we have the urge to color or paint together.

    April 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRenee Spindle

    Well, I can say these are useful tips! Containers and boxes are best options to keep toys and other items stored because these items always occurs extra space at home and yes, you can fix the label outside with words so that your children can find out their toys easily and put them back easily.

    April 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRony Mikal
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