Archive for the ‘Organization’ Category

Robert’s Age: We set these up when Robert was 2-1/2

Success Rating: Huge Success! Robert is way less inclined to fling his toys everywhere in search of the one he wants, and way more inclined to put them away by himself.

In March 2011 we banished the toy bins!

Prior to setting up these shelves we had toys in bins, and puzzled stacked under the coffee table and in cupboards. Many of them didn’t get played with because they were not easily accessible, and others were constantly thrown about as Robert would dig down in a bin trying to find the toy (usually one of his animals) he wanted to play with.

I searched high and low for a shelving solution, both new and second hand. The problem was most traditional shelves were set too far apart for maximum storage within easy reach of a three foot high child, shelves designed for paperback books were not deep enough, and purpose built preschool shelves were prohibitively expensive. So I started looking at shoe racks, many of which are also quite expensive for what you get, but found a solution at Sam’s Club that met our needs.

These are not the world’s strongest shelves by any means, the shelf slats are plastic, and the metal frame is fairly light weight (if you have an avid climber they may not be for you) but for my purpose they have been brilliant. Each unit has three shelves, 24 inches wide by 12 inches deep. They are stackable, so after stacking two units I have  five shelves that Robert can easily reach, and one that he’ll be able to reach in another year or so.  Pictured above are two units stacked one on top of the other. They are also modular, so downstairs (see below) I have three units assemble in a different configuration.

Unfortunately we don’t have enough shelves for all his puzzles and toys (nor space to put them), but I keep the rest stored away and rotate them regularly. Since putting up these shelves I have several friends who have asked me to get some for them!

As the shelves are slatted, they didn’t work so well for his animals (the feet can fall through), so instead I cleared a shelf on one of our existing bookshelves for animal storage. Now Robert only pulls out the animals he wants to play with, and while he’s not inclined to put his animals away unprompted, he’s very good about doing so when asked.



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Robert’s Age: Made for him at 2-2/3

Success Rating: Great Success! Robert LOVES the autonomy of being able to put his own books away. Since we set up this bookshelf in Robert’s room three months ago, he puts his own books away, unprompted, about 80% of the time.

We don’t have a lot of room in our house. There definitely isn’t enough floor space in Robert’s bedroom for a ready made sling bookshelf, and I was getting sick of picking up all the books off the floor. Robert LOVES his books, but he would always pulled half of his books off the old shelves in order to locate the one he wanted,  and struggled to put them away. So after some searching online for a workable solution I stumbled across this great set of instructions from Instructables for Canvas Pocket Book Shelves.

The only note I would make is that I made a 48 inch wide shelf instead of the 36 inch width in the instructions. If I was making it again I would increase the diameter of the dowels to 3/4 inch as they have bowed a little, since I made the shelves three months ago, but not noticeably, nor enough to impede the function of the shelves. If you are making a 36 inch wide version I’m sure the 1/2 inch would be fine. Enjoy!

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