Summer is the prime time to be a kid. School is out, the weather is great and opportunities for family fun abound. A day at the beach, a trip to the lake, camping, fishing, hiking, tubing, dirt biking, are all fair game. Yet even a simple lazy afternoon lounging around the pool, or romping around in the backyard requires a few special toys and supplies. It can all add up to devouring your space like Cookie Monster feasting on a bag of Snickerdoodles.
Yet I think you’ll find that with a little ingenuity, and perhaps a tad bit of professional help, you can transform areas of your home into convenient storage spaces for all your kid’s summer toys and gear.
Create a Dedicated Space for Outdoor-Only Toys
Sandbox toys and pool noodles are meant to live outdoors. Though they also can’t be left laying around out in the yard. Creating a dedicated space for outdoor-only toys, like a mudroom, basement entryway, or a specific portion of a hall closet to hold these toys keeps them from tracking water and grime into the rest of your home. It also makes it easier for you or your kids to find them when it’s time to play with them again.
Create Specific Toy Zones
You can even go a step beyond to create zones and dedicated storage spots for other popular toys. You can even group toys by type and then give them by room or space. Outdoor toys are always kept in one location, while indoor toys and books live in another spot. It might even be possible for select indoor/outdoor toys to change locations, though they always end up back in the same storage bin/location.
Not only does this help keep your kid’s toys and outdoor gear organized and easy to find. It also teaches them responsibility for their items and the importance of putting things back where they truly belong.
The Garage Is Your Friend
For a lot of families, the garage gets used as a summertime mudroom. This also makes the garage a great place to stow a lot of your kid’s outdoor activity gear. Adjustable garage shelves with dividers help you maximize the storage space in your garage, while also keeping vulnerable outdoor toys from being damaged by the elements.
Let Things Hangout
Hooks and closet poles are a great way to hang things high and out of the way when your kids don’t need them, yet you can still grab them at a moment’s notice. They’re a great addition to adjustable garage shelves. Though you could also integrate racks or pegboard hooks on the walls of your garage to save floor space.
A Jumbo Trash Can for Loose Item Storage
Jumbo trash cans are great for storing random sports equipment balls, bats, mitts, masks, and other medium-sized loose items. In certain situations, you can even keep it outside with a tight-sealing waterproof lid. A set of wheels also lets the jumbo trash can double as transport for rolling the container of miscellaneous items wherever you plan on playing.
A Waterproof Chest for Deck & Patio Cushions
An outdoor patio cushion chest is typically used to hold chairs for various chairs and lounges. Though you can certainly add another chest for outdoor toys, and sports equipment. Ideally, you want one that’s made from some type of water-resistant or waterproof plastic.
You can even place the chest on blocks, stones, or risers to help keep it off the ground and prevent bugs or animals from crawling inside and making a home out of them. Once playtime is over, go ahead and put everything back in the chest for the next time.
Take Out Unused Toys
It’s a principal truth of childhood that kids outgrow or lose interest in certain toys over time. Proactively taking out lesser-used or outgrown toys can be liberating emotionally, while also freeing up storage space for the toys and gear that your kids are currently “Into.”
Though it usually helps to have a dedicated space to put these toys in case your kids want to play with them again. If they don’t, then you can always donate them or clear them out as part of the back-to-school process.
Dispose of Broken Toys
Toys that are broken or have missing pieces, can be a safety threat in more ways than one. It’s good to establish a policy that all broken toys are disposed of promptly. Especially if some fundamental feature of the toy is broken. Toys that make noise can often get stuck in repetitive loops; instead of listening to the same sounds over and over again, properly dispose of them in a safe and environmentally friendly way.
Create an Essentials Box
Sunburn, bug bites, and minor injuries come part and parcel with summertime fun. Keeping an essentials box with sunblock, insect repellant, and a well-stocked first-aid kit ensures that you have what you need to keep your kids reasonably safe from a lot of these minor maladies. It also means you’ve got what you need to treat bumps, bruises, cuts, and scrapes the instant they happen.
If you have little ones, you might want to consider a box that has some sort of lock or combination. This lets you keep it on hand, without having to constantly worry if their curious little hands are trying to get into it.
Create a Dedicated Hamper for Outdoor Clothes
Swimsuits, mudding clothes, and outdoor activity gear often come with a lot of salt, sand, grit, and grime that you don’t want intermingling with your everyday laundry. Providing a separate hamper for these things keeps the rest of your clothes clean, while also making it easy for you to grab all the outdoor gear in one load to have it washed and dried.
You can then place the outdoor items hamper in the mudroom or garage where the kids can stow everything without ever risking it crossing the threshold into the clean part of your house.