toy storage

Is it me or are children's toys out of control?

I mean, Penelope has so many toys. I sometimes wonder how it's possible that she has so many toys to play with and often think that surely she doesn't play with all of them. Without fail, as soon as I begin thinking this, she finds a buried treasure in the bottom of a basket and plays intently with a toy that I haven't seen in months. To her credit, she plays with all of them. Which also makes it tough to sneak toys out and away to tidy up.

As part of my apartment optimization, one of my goals is to streamline and implement some better organization for Penelope's toys. This is just one of the many apartment posts I plan to bring you and I hope that you'll weigh in in the comments. Today I'm including some before photos in hopes that I'll have some great after photos for you in the coming weeks. And to ask you for some organizational suggestions! Please note: this is some serious keepin' it real for you. We live in an apartment {though a nice size one by city standards} in Jersey City and so small spaces have become a challenge for the 3 of us. My apartment is often a disaster, so please don't judge! But also please send helpful suggestions :)

Let's start with Penelope's room. 

penelope toy org1

This is how we store toys in her bedroom. Please ignore the quality of these photos. I had to take them at night while P was clamoring to play with everything. We bought this storage cubby system from Target so many years ago and it makes for a really great and ample storage space.

penelope toy org3

It's a challenge to keep these organized within the bins, but at least it's enclosed which equals out of sight out of mind.

On top, for now, I keep some of her books and bigger toys that don't fit in the bins.

penelope toy org2

I recently cleaned out her art supply bin and moved it all to a bigger basket. I threw out random worn down crayons and markers that didn't work. I also gave the boot to coloring books that were mostly filled in and semi-destroyed from use. So much better. Also, our favorite items are the color wonder crayola markers + coloring books. Pure genius I tell ya.

penelope toy org4

Next to the cubbies sits her tall dresser. I've been considering moving this to another wall, but for now it's there. On top? ALL of the stuffed animals {plus her photo board from her first birthday party that I can't seem to part with}. I know, it's frightening. She has so many special stuff animals like limited edition Sesame Street plush and a Paddington Bear and Harrods teddy straight from London. Not to mention her Mickeys and Minnies and Frozen dolls. I want to keep these on display but there has to be a better way. Any suggestions?!

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Moving down into the living room, we get into a real doozy. Yikes!

This is what it often looks like in P's toy corner. No, I did not take the time to tidy up this space for the sake of this photo. Sorry, it's a mess, but it's real. HELP! How do I organize this? I'm thinking a small book case. It is in the living room, so I'm trying to avoid anything that's too bright or pastelly or too 'kid' looking. So many bulky toys, and yet so many toys with small pieces. I'll keep you posted, but open to suggestions.

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On the right side of this mess is our media stand with TV. I didn't photograph it, but it has 2 cabinets, one of which holds her puzzles. On the other side of the unit, I keep another basket of books. This gets messy pretty quickly, but I like having some books visible and easily accessible to her at all times. 

So that covers most of her stuff. Not pictured is a giant bean bag, also filled with stuffed animals in her bedroom, along with a basketball hoop. And in the living room, another wall with her ride on toys and rocking horse.

So there you have it. Some organization that works {like her bedroom cubbies} and some that misses the mark. 

How do you organize your kids toys? Any suggestions for cubbies, bookcases, bins or the like?

also: a peek inside P's closet

Suburban Dog in the City

This weekend I had very special visitor at my Jersey City apartment: my family pup Chloe.

A 12-year-old cockapoo, Chloe explored JC for the last 4 days while Mom and Dad sunned themselves and gambled at the Four Seasons in Las Vegas. Like many suburban dogs, Chloe does not get the same walking workout that most city dogs do. Instead, she spends her time trotting around a backyard and spending most of the day on her fluffy green pillow with her ‘baby’, a ratty old toy lacking in any discernible features as it has been carried around in her mouth for the last 12 years. I think it used to be a squeaky little lamb. Anyhow, her small size and constant need to be in the center of the action, as well as her irrational abandonment issues, make her a prime candidate for apartment living, since there’s only so many rooms in which exciting things can happen. Chloe’s propensity for Guitar Hero, the New York Mets, and chasing pigeons were all discovered over the last few days.

Chloe was excited and made herself right at home during her first night at the Humiston residence.
Like most city dwellers, Chloe’s first inclination was to hit up the gym at Newport Swim & Fitness, but little did she know she was in for 6 20-minute walks per day, therefore deeming the treadmill unnecessary.

Instead, we explored the Pavonia/Newport Town Square, where Chloe tried her hardest to play in the pink flower beds, but to no avail.

After dissuading her from a boat trip, she settled for chasing a few pigeons.

Then we took a stroll by the Hudson, where Chloe and I agreed it was the best river we’d ever seen.

Back at home, Chloe just wanted to rock out with some Guitar Hero. The drums just weren’t for her, but she really got down on guitar with Steve Miller Band’s The Joker.

After Guitar hero, dinner, and a nap, Chloe and I both wanted to watch baseball and subsequently fought over the remote. She won.

It was a long week filled with walks and couch sitting. Unfortunately, our time had to come to an end, and we drove back to suburbia.

After a fabulous 4 days in the city, Chloe was all tuckered out but promised to come back and visit soon.