stephmodo: Organizing Tip #27

Organizing Tip #27

• 11 January 2012

It has been such a long time since I've posted anything related to home organization...hmmm....maybe because I've been so disorganized this year?  Well, I'd say it's time to get that party started and what better month than January.  Here we go: 

If you have a small child in the midst, create a toy drawer in the kitchen, at his/her level. 

I learned this valuable tip from my mother-in-law several years ago when my first child became mobile.  It seemed that I often spent time in the kitchen--tidying, prepping, cooking, baking, writing, etc.  My toddler, wanting to be close to me (and I to her obviously), would open drawers and cupboards and make all sorts of messes, as little ones do when they're curious.  So I decided to free up space in one of my bottom drawers (it was a sacrifice in a studio apartment, but worth it nonetheless) and fill it with all sorts of fun, age-appropriate toys.

What happened next was wonderful!  While I stirred the risotto on the stove, my daughter stacked blocks, pretended to talk on the phone and drove cars around my feet.  Instead of being bored and subsequently demanding, she now happily entertained herself under my watch.  Definitely worth the precious real estate in my small kitchen!  In fact, I still practice this tip with Baby Gray, my fourth child; here we are 9 kitchens later and still making space for a "toy drawer" :)

One important note about toys for toddlers...make sure that the toys you expose your child to are not choking hazards.  As a rule of thumb, anything that fits inside a toilet paper roll is considered a "chokable".  My own adorable baby sister passed away a very long time ago from choking on a toy and I would never want anything like that to happen to you or your child.  So don't feel like you're being overprotective by protecting your child...better safe than sorry, right?!

Peek here for 26 more organizing tips if you're feeling inspired.  I promise there isn't anything too overwhelming mixed in there :)

images by Stephanie Brubaker for stephmodo


  1. Great idea. But more than that, thank you for sharing the very real consequences of being careless. I'm so sorry about your sister.

  2. This is such a perfect idea. Thank you!

  3. I really love your photography! I find myself returning to your site just for a glimpse.
    (toy drawer: I always did the same, too (... and my youngest is named Gray, too!)

  4. That is a great idea! I always put tupperware on the bottom drawer, so they have something to get into, but why not just their own toy drawer? Very sorry to learn about your little sister, but thank you also for the toilet paper rule of thumb.
    I can't help but notice how cool your kitchen looks! When are we going to get a home tour of your own? (wink wink)

  5. More than anything, I am sorry to hear that you lost your little sister. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Great idea, I never really thought about it! Your blog is going to be a gold mine for me once I have babies!

  7. I'm so sorry to hear about your sister. Thank you for the reminder to be vigilant about choking hazards! My husband and I did some rearranging of big-kid toys today to keep our little one safe.

  8. Hey guys, thank you for the sweet comments. Happy to hear though that you're taking the advice to heart.


  9. I am very sorry to hear about your little sister. We all carry sorrow and loss that is not visible to the eye (or blogosphere), don't we? Thank you for sharing. You may never know what lives will be impacted by this poignant reminder to be vigilant.

  10. I'm so sorry about your sister. What a sad loss. Thank you for bringing that rule of thumb to our attention, it's something worth saying again and again.

  11. I'm so terribly sorry about your sister. Thank you for reminding us that tragic accidents do happen.

    On a happier note, your post reminded me that we had a toy drawer while growing up as well. I had forgotten! It stayed affixed in time and even as college students, one could open up the toy drawer and see the same array of luvies that we had played with in the past. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to implement the same idea when my own children were young. I'll mentally shelve it for when there are grandchildren.

  12. This reminded me of my great-grandmother's toy drawer in her kitchen, always a favourite spot. I spent hours on her kitchen floor, even as an older child playing with my siblings. Thanks for the flashback.

  13. Thanks again for the sweet words about my little sis...she is definitely missed. And although it's been a long time, it's still an important message.

    And that toy drawer is so fun for the little ones. It's saved me over the years! No matter where we live we always have a toy drawer. It's worth cramming all my dishes into just a few cupboards!


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