*Image above features mini’s nursery rug, Dash & Albert’s Paris Stripe, which has since been discontinued. Their Island Stripe is similar, but in a more pastel/muted color palette. Image above also showcases this darling story-telling game, which mini actually loves to use just to create little vignettes and stories with the figurines included herself. She received this as a sweet gift from our neighbors along with this book for her third birthday and both have been a huge hit! Easy gift idea for a little girl, possibly bundled with this fairy set — mini loves these little figurine kits!
With Christmas and the attending prospect of new toys and gear on the horizon, I spent time over the Thanksgiving holiday organizing my children’s rooms. The most time-consuming part** was filtering through the bins and baskets to re-group tiny parts that belonged to one another but had somehow found themselves diaspora — puzzle pieces, cards from Candy Land, stray Duplos, etc. A reader had pointed me in the direction of these waterproof zippered pouches awhile ago and — wow. The perfect solution. I have been slowly “decanting” games, puzzles, and toy sets into these over the past few months, but this past weekend represented a complete migration to pouch life. These are particularly wonderful because they are inexpensive, come in a range of sizes (the smaller ones ideal for organizing things like game parts and beads), are semi-transparent (meaning my children can see what’s inside), have different colored zippers (making it even easier to remember which bag you’re grabbing), and difficult for my 18-month-old to open without assistance, meaning that all of the small parts and puzzle pieces he should not be tampering with anyway remain isolated. I also like that they look a lot tidier than the smashed cardboard boxes these games came in, and you can fit more of the bags in bins/drawers anyway given that the shape makes them more malleable.
A couple of other nursery organization finds and must-haves:
+This inexpensive IKEA shelving system is the piece de resistance in mini’s nursery. I love it. It keeps all of mini’s books, toys, and activities very easy to access. We lined the bottom shelf with these straw bins and have each one dedicated to a slightly different category: one for dress-up, one for doll clothes/components/accessories, one for musical instruments, and one for “miscellaneous.” We use the upper two levels mainly for books, with two cubbies reserved for “activities” like wooden puzzles, magnatabs, magnetic sets, stacking toys (for Hill), etc. Basically — all of the pretty items that remind me of Montessori and that invite play by virtue of being artfully and accessibly presented. With this most recent bout of organization, I ended up removing about half of the items in that “activity” category and stowing them in the closet with the intention of rotating them into play every few weeks. I was, frankly, astounded by how excited mini was to play with some of her sets/toys just by virtue of them being moved around in her room and made more visible to her!
+Note: the Kallax comes in multiple different cubby dimensions (you can do, for example, just a 2×2), but if none of those options work in your child’s room, I also love the look of this little shelf system for a smaller nook, or this acrylic rolling cart.
+We use these plastic woven bins in pink to stow “building” type toys underneath mini’s bed. They have a low clearance and will work under many cribs/beds. We have a separate one for magnatiles, building blocks, Duplos, and play food. I like them because they are lightweight and easy for the children to drag out on their own, but they are also inexpensive and will not fray or scratch like some of their woven counterparts — important given how often they are dragged out! (These inexpensive white handled bins, which I use elsewhere in the house for storage, would also be a good solution.)
+Over the weekend, I deployed this white rope bin to house all of mini’s Maileg mice, accessories, furniture, and the darling decorative matchboxes/bins the mice come in. Prior to this weekend, we had been keeping the mice and some of their clothes in a small Pehr bin, with the other boxes and furniture stowed elsewhere, somewhat haphazardly. We will be giving her the Maileg mouse house for Christmas so I really wanted to corral everything together for her, especially because she has been playing with them so much recently.
+We repurposed mini’s doll cradle (which she never uses anymore) to stow all of her stuffed animals at the foot of her bed. I love this reuse of space because it keeps them all in one place, a bit out of the way of the rest of her room.
+Both of my children love to draw, paint, etc — we spend a good chunk of every day doing this — and I have been keeping most of the supplies organized in these bins in the closet, drawing out the materials whenever the mood strikes. With this most recent organization effort, I decided to keep crayons and paint sticks permanently accessible on mini’s play table in this divided organizer, with coloring books and drawing pads in a bin beneath. I had really wanted to buy this divided lazy susan for the purpose, but it would have taken up too much space given the dimensions of the table. This slim lightweight organizer is the perfect solution given our space constraints. (And, come to think of it, I’m not sure I want to have more markers/materials available to Hill at 18 months…) This caddy style might also work if you want something that’s a bit more mobile than a lazy susan (i.e., if you want to be able to quickly clear the space for some reason — I feel like the lazy susan is sort of meant to stay put permanently).
+Not truly organization, but we do a lot of painting and crafting in mini’s room. I put down this midi-sized Gathre mat whenever we’re getting messy. It’s an ideal size for beneath a high chair or underneath a craft table. It’s easy to roll up and wipe down and it folds into a small square when not in use. Love. And we use these long-sleeved smocks for those occasions, too. Mini has a tendency to really get into the medium at hand, so these have saved many articles of clothing. A few other must-haves for the painting-obsessed: these palettes, these jumbo paint brushes, watercolor paper, and Crayola washable paint (God bless it)!
+For the closet, I use acrylic shelf dividers and fabric cubes to keep things tidy, and these appropriately-dimensioned children’s hangers for hanging clothes.
+I have been looking for a better solution for shoe storage, and I think I might buy these stacking wire bins for the purpose.
**Correction: the most time-consuming part was attempting to do this while two pairs of tiny hands were interrupting my progress at every turn. Every time I’d manage to form a little mound of carefully organized Calico Critters, little fingers absconded with select pieces.
P.P.P.S. Still a few great deals happening at Nordstrom as a part of the Cyber Week promotions — namely dialed in on these classic Sperry boat shoes for boys for only $26!