Staying Organized – Talking the Talk or Walking the Walk?


Nursery Organization Ideas

Okay, so a couple years we made this video about decluttering the nursery. In it, we gave tips like giving everything a place, labeling baskets and bins, regularly removing and donating unused items, etc. Well, after 2 years, I have to admit that I “talked the talk” but definitely didn’t “walk the walk”.  I took a step back and looked at my once-organized kids’ room. Toys and games had become unused as they had lost parts and pieces. The closets were jam-packed with all sorts of clothing that was too small. I tended toward these collect-all, bottomless bins filled with toys that never got touched. It seemed that everything that once had a place had lost its way.  And I seemed to be spending so much time looking for things...which is SO annoying!

I finally hit my breaking point when I couldn’t find the baby nail clippers. We have about 5 pairs. Where were they all!?  I could take it no longer. It was time to get serious.  I called Grandma, “Please, please, please can you watch the kids?” She said YES!  I had 24 hours to make this right. I knew this was going to take complete concentration and very strong coffee…

Step 1: First, I gathered up every single toy from every area of the house and dumped it in one spot. I was speechless at how much stuff it amounted to. How was it possible that two little boys could have so much stuff?

STEP 2: Next, I took a deep breath and began to categorize and sort into piles---puzzles, games, anything with wheels, random plastic figurines, tools, electronics, play-dough related things, Lego’s, play food, items to donate, broken stuff.  (While sorting, I sent my husband to the store to buy a half dozen of those plastic storage bins with drawers and little storage baskets to go in the drawers.)

STEP 3: Then, I worked on each pile separately. All puzzles were put back together. Game pieces found their way back home. Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head were reunited, etc.

STEP 4: The fun part! -- I designated a drawer or spot in the room for everything and made little picture labels so the kids (who are only 2 and 5) would be able to find things and put them away in the correct spot.

STEP 5: We filled our big car with all sorts of great stuff we’d outgrown and took it to the homeless shelter. A rewarding end indeed.

The result was a complete success!  It took about a day and, whew, what a day well spent. Since the organization transformation the kids have been playing with their toys non-stop…and putting them away without complaints. How cool is that? So, I promise to try very, very, very hard never ever again to return to that out-of-control and disorganized state and this time, to not only “talk the talk” but “walk the walk” as well.

[Update - Jan 2012. One year later and the playroom has a few more toys but is still very organized. Woot! Woot!]

Stephanie Goins is co-owner of, offering wall stickers, wall mural stencil kits and canvas art for kids’ rooms and baby nurseries.

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  • Stephanie Goins
Comments 10
  • Judith Martinez
    Judith Martinez

    After two years in storage we have all of our stuff in our new place. One of my projects next month is pulling out all of the toys, puzzles, games, etc. from the boxes and doing what you did with it all. We’re living in a small apartment so my plan is two plastic utility cabinets out on our patio where most of the toys will live. The children will be allowed to pull out 1-2 bins at a time to play with. Since they will be playing in the living room most of the time I have to limit how much they’re allowed to have out at a time.

  • Stephanie

    Yes, great idea about the shelves. I didn’t include closet pictures, but the shelves in there are extremely helpful. And I am a big fan of putting toys away and pulling them out. We did this with our first boy, had stuff stashed in huge seat under the bay window. He discovered it when he was nearly 4. I couldn’t believe we got away with it for four year. I miss being able to switch up the toys. On the toy swap days, I hardly heard a peep. Thanks for your comment.

  • Stephanie

    Hi. Sorry for the delayed response. This blogging is new for me. To answer your question, there is really no science in following this blog. I only post every 2 weeks or so, though I’d love to post more. This blog accompanies our store

  • Kim

    I LOVE what you did with the toy room. I have a toy room that look EXACTLY like your before picture. UGH. I think I will do what you did and tackle it one section at a time. I need to get cute baskets and put up shelving too. And the room in the after picture is sooo nice! Love the walls!

  • Lianne Benedict
    Lianne Benedict

    I love your product.

  • Annie @ Mama Dweeb
    Annie @ Mama Dweeb

    Wonderful tips! I like that you tackled each pile separately so you didn’t get overwhelmed.
    Before every birthday and christmas I always give away at least 1 box of toys. I cannot stand tons of toy clutter LOL

    And love the theme you painted! So perfect for a toy room!

  • Stephanie

    Thanks Annie. And if you can believe it, after more than 2 months the toy room is still organized!

  • Toni Marie Caravello
    Toni Marie Caravello

    I would like to follow your blog… how does one go about doing this.

  • Lucy

    I loved this post, it was very helpful. I would also recommend adding shelves to the closet – we spent less than $30 for all the hardware, and my husband installed 2 extra shelves, one way up, and the other one below. The shelves have pretty much doubled the kids’ closet space. I also end up with many toys – everywhere. Many moms have recommended putting some toys away for some time. My kids are extra spoiled by everyone, and have a ton of stuff. If I put away some toys in boxes, and pull them out 2 months later, it’s like Christmas all over again! If kids have too many toys at once, that creates a lot of mess, and kids don’t even play with them.

  • Tawnya

    I need to do this! Thank you for the inspiration! I really like the idea of labeling with pictures!

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