Toy Organization ~ How to Make Your Own Labels

Toy Storage Solutions and How to Make Your Own Toy Bin Labels

You have probably seen our schoolroom toy organization from our past homeschool room posts. Every summer I go through our toys and reorganize, purge, and make new labels to get things back in order.

My purpose in toy organization is keeping things simple for kids to clean up easily and independently.  I like the open drawer system and the labels for this.  My kids have always cleaned up independently because of this system.  It was an upfront expense for the Trofast system from Ikea that we use {not sure our exact towers are still for sale, we have 4 tall towers hooked together}, but so worth it for many reasons. It is by far my favorite method and has worked for us very well for years.

Toy Organization

This year I needed to add some toys into the system and I didn’t add space!  Since we are no longer doing our All By Myself Preschool Boxes, I wanted to come up with a new way to store the baggies of learning toys I had created, making them easy for Ladybug to see and tell me what she wants to play with. I wanted to get everything in one space, which until now, it was not.  Until now, I kept most learning toys in the Trofast system, but the rest were stored in our storage room and a bit harder to get to. I grabbed all of our baggies of learning toys from the storage room, sorted them and purged a bunch, then made a plan for what I wanted to keep and have accessible.

I used the same method of using pictures on labels but made some bins with multiple toys separated by baggies. This helped me save space but still have things easy for the kids to get to. They are zipper top baggies so the kids can easily open and close them

Toy Organization


Now, all learning toys are in one place, since I added clear boxes {got them from Costco} on top of our Trofast system.

Toy Storage

The most used items are in the system below, and the others are in the bins on top.

Toy Organization

She can easily see the large graphic labels and ask me to get the bin she wants down. Asking me isn’t exactly ideal, but with the labels she can see and I can jump up and grab a bin for her.  Until now these toys were thrown in bins that only I accessed to create All By Myself Preschool Boxes for her. She loves that she can see them all now!

Toy Organization


Yes, we have a lot of learning toys.  This always comes up and here’s the basic answers to common questions.  We have a lot for many reasons ~ I was a teacher and came into motherhood with some, the grandparents graciously buy learning toys for birthdays/Christmas, we have many blog review items in our stash {we have kept favorites and donated others}, and we shopped consignment sales.  Why do we keep so much?  Honestly, I hope to use it in the future possibly teaching a group of kids either in a co-op or in my home.  Once my kids are older, I know for certain I will feel lost without tots and preschoolers to hang out with.  I have not passed on many quality learning toys because I hope to use them with others one day!

Want to see what we have?  Here’s a {very informal} video tour, showing what’s in the boxes. Question about a specific item, just leave a comment and I will direct you! I couldn’t remember exact names while making the video no matter how hard I tried!


Feeling discouraged because you are short on space or finances?  We have not always had this yet somehow I always made a system of easy to get to – easy to clean up work for us.  Here’s a post sharing how we stored our learning toys in baggies in a wagon in our tiny schoolroom! Baggies are a lifesaver for space.  You can even hang them up, here’s an example of that.  Heavier items obviously won’t hang, but many of our items would! Find a method that works for your budget, your space, and your personality.  It may not be ideal, but you CAN make something work!


Want Some Toy Storage Labels?

I can’t share the exact labels I made since I used many images straight from a Google image search. But you can make your own!  I use PowerPoint, so that’s what I am showing below.  If you use a different program to design, maybe some of the tips may help.  Using Word is not the easiest method, so if you have PowerPoint or Publisher, it’s much easier.

Hopefully these graphics will help walk you through the process of making some basic labels. The tutorial doesn’t include fancy stuff, like the background, but you can play around and add things yourself!

How To Make Labels Using PowerPoint

How To Make Labels Using PowerPoint

How To Make Labels Using PowerPoint

How To Make Labels Using PowerPoint

Want the tutorial in pdf form?  Download it here!

Organizing You Can Read

Organizing You Can Read Sight Words

As I prepare You Can Read to use with Ladybug, I am appreciating some organizational methods I put into place when using it with Krash!  It is making it very easy for me to get things ready for her! I have never shared how I organize it all and thought maybe I should! 

Not familiar with You Can Read?  It is a sight word program for younger readers who are eager to learn to read, but still need lots of hands on fun in the process. It can be used with younger kids who are showing interest or for any age child who is just learning to read.  The 18 units are based on the Dolch Pre Primer & Primer Sight Word lists, as well as a few I added in, for a total of 72 words. There is also a color and number word set.  The base 18 units are available for free here.  There is also a Bundle for $10 which gives you the additional word units plus all of the extras, plus one simple download for the base units.


The main organizational tool I use with this program…

Accordion File Folders

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I got mine at Target when they were in the dollar section {maybe for $3, I can’t remember}. I have 3 folders like this to fit all of the units in, this is just the one that holds the first units {there are 18 base units plus color and number words}. I used the little tabs that came with the folder to write the unit number and the actual words in that unit.

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What’s in the folder?


All of the base printables {many are laminated to be reused, so I had none of that to do for Ladybug}. I just looked for what was missing {consumable like the color by word} and printed those for Ladybug.


Printable Extras from the You Can Read Bundle~ You Can Read includes many special extras that are ONLY available in the bundle.  I chose which ones I want to use for her and print those also.

You Can Read Bundle Extras

One of the extras is a sensory bin word search which has tons of tiny laminated words.  I sort ours in this awesome plastic tray. I had to re-sort all of our words {such fun} since I dropped it as I was pulling it down off of the storage shelf!

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Extras from other sources ~ I use a few printables from other sources. First, the sight word color by number printables that are located here. I printed her a new set to color, and also included the set Krash colored which is laminated so we could play matching games with them! We also use Education Cube inserts that were made specifically for You Can Read by my friend Jenn.


Sight Word Readers & First Little Readers ~ We have 2 sets of small easy readers we use and I have them all labeled with the key sight words in the books. Some books could go along with different units, so I just sorted them based on how many we had for each unit. If you use other sight word based easy readers, you can find key sight words in them and sort them out by unit.  We also have an old set of Open Court K readers which I have sorted also. 

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The Sight Word Readers already have the key sight words printed on the front.

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I sort the books I want to use for each unit and file them in the pockets so I don’t have to go hunting when we get to each unit!


Here’s a peek at the stash for Unit 1…

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Simplifying Sensory Play

Simple Sensory Play Collection

After years of themed sensory bins, I have gotten to a stage in life where I need to simplify.  We still do the occasional themed bin, but I need to have our sensory materials more easily accessible both for Ladybug and for me!  She still really enjoys sensory materials, and so do my boys.

Earlier this year I reorganized our supplies and we have been using them this way since September.  It has made it so much easier!

I listed out all of the “base” sensory materials we normally use and a few I wanted to add to our collection.  I got out small bins we already had {these are from Target} to store them all in one place. I also got a set of gallon sized zipper bags for the items that wouldn’t fit in my bins.

Sensory Item Storage


I also purchased 5 small bins that rotate through our All By Myself Preschool Boxes.

All By Myself Preschool Boxes - Mini Sensory Bins

I put one of these small pink bins in each of her All By Myself Preschool Boxes, so each day she will have a new sensory material to play with. I chose these bins because they have lock tops but she can open them independently.  The small slim size was also a part of my purchase decision!

I store the baggies and clear bins in my storage room on a shelf. You can see the bag section on the left is overflowing! I would have used all baggies but I had these bins that were empty.  So, I use both.

Sensory Bin Supplies

I also have an area that I keep open to prep the bins each week.  Although, it doesn’t always look like this.  Reality is, the area often gets junked up and I sit on the floor.  But this was my original plan and if clean I do this.  Thankfully it’s clean again since I cleared it to take pictures for you!

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Here is a visual version of our current sensory items…

Sensory Bin Supplies

Sensory Bin Supplies

Sensory Bin Supplies

Many items listed would NOT be good choices for independent play for most tots.  Ladybug is 4 1/2 and has never been one to put anything in her mouth.  She is always close by me and I feel comfortable with what I have chosen for her.  You’ll have to make that decision based on your own child{ren} and your comfort level with certain items.  I am aware that some of the items I listed are not considered “safe” by some people, the decision of whether or not to use an item is yours.

Helpful Links ~

All By Myself Preschool Boxes


See how she uses these sensory items in our Learning with Ladybug blog posts.  Click on an image to see the post, this is a collection of a majority of my posts from this school year!

Home Preschool January 2014  All By Myself Preschool Boxes Aug 2013  Learning with Ladybug Home Preschool January 2014

All By Myself Preschool Boxes Sept 2013   Learning with Ladybug Nov 2013  Learning with Ladybug Age 4

Home Preschool Nov 2013  All By Myself Preschool Boxes October 2013  Home Preschool Oct. 2013

Homeschool Room Tour 2013-2014

Homeschool Room Tour 2013

Note ~ there is a video tour at the end of this post!

Our Homeschool room has evolved greatly over the years.  Here’s a look back, for those of you who like to see how I got to where we are now.

Now, an updated view into our “new” schoolroom which we have now happily and GRATEFULLY used for 3 years!  This will be our 4th year in this room and I am still so thankful for this amazing space!

I do not think everyone needs a specific homeschool room, nor one this large.  Many families enjoy schooling all over the house and not having a designated room.  Some aren’t able to have a designated room, or have a very small area.  I don’t think it matters at all!  We were blessed with this amazingly large space and I am forever grateful for it.  It fits my personality perfectly and feels a bit like God reached down and gave me just the perfect “I love you” gift.

Our schoolroom opens into our dining room, as you will see.  This is the view as you are walking in…

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I will take you through the room, with details about each of the main sections.

This is the front left corner, which has a little play area, our large US wall map {no clue where it’s from, it was a generous hand me down gift}, and our movement area.

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I repurposed an old shelf and created a little play area for the kids.  It is also used for Ladybug’s theme work display if we have a theme going on.

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This is our movement area, the basket in the corner is filled with all sorts of PE type things, they mostly enjoy the jump ropes!  We also have an exercise ball, but have to keep it up since the cat likes to claw it!  The kids LOVE the trampoline, it is a fabulous addition as of last year for helping with the wiggles.  The things on the left are called paralettes and are for working parallel bar skills {for Krash who is on a boy’s gymnastics team}.

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We have 4 tall Trofast shelves put together, but the ones we have are not on their website anymore.  I am not sure if they still carry the exact ones we have at the store or not.  The easel is also from Ikea. 

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Each bin is already labeled like this, or in the process of being labeled.  I copied the image from the product site or a Google search and printed them on cardstock, then laminated {no, I don’t have a printable to share, sorry}. This has been a wonderful addition, helping the kids remember all of the great stuff we have to play with!  The kids are allowed to access any of this at any time.



This is Ladybug’s current learning area, the shot was taken right before school started this year…

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Items you see: Large Pocket Chart, blue calendar, red weather calendar{similar}, cork boards, Trofast shelf, Trofast drawers.  Desk is from Ikea, but it is no longer carried.


Below is a new shelf repurposed from another part of the house.  I wanted all of our Bibles in the schoolroom next to the beanbag {Ahh Prods}, and a place for our essential oil diffuser!  I also made the bottom shelf for Ladybug, to put her letter focused activities on.

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I reworked this area below into a writing/drawing area, but the kids have largely ignored it so far. The basket is filled with different scrap paper, our drawing books are on top, and different coloring books, activity pads, blank pads, etc. are in the drawers.

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This is Krash’s area, his desk is an old Ikea table donated to use by friends.  His is the brown chair {Ladybug’s desk is right net to his with the red chair}

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The green drawers used to be his Workboxes, but we don’t use them anymore, I followed the lead of the child and he wasn’t digging them.  He likes his work better on a list to check off.  So now, he has some storage drawers, which he really needed since he drags things everywhere. 

To the right of K’s desk area, is another storage area, where a variety of items are stored.  {links to bookshelf and ledges in this post}.  You can see much of our All About Spelling and Reading items on the shelves. The crayons are in these, also from Ikea.  On the top of the shelf with drawers and the bottom book ledge is our current continent study materials.

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To the right is a white bookshelf from Ikea, which stores our MANY books {well, part of them}.  See our book storage post here!  Near the top is where our Continent Boxes are stored, as well as a few math supplies.



This is Pac’s desk, links to specific items he has are in this post.  New this year is an additional shoe shelf {from Target} for his textbooks.Homeschool Room -5943


This is on the wall opposite of Pac’s desk, the door leads to our mud room/garage/outside the front of the house door.  Much on the wall isn’t school related, but more “front door” related.  We have books and other school supplies stored on the back shelf. In the white cabinet is our games, and other books.  The cabinet is from Ikea too, shocker {no clue what it’s called}.



These are more learning tools, Spielgaben on top, phonics drawers on bottom along with learning supplies we use often {green boxes are from Target}.

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I store office supplies like this, in the plastic Target bins.



This is a view of my desk from the front of the room {links and more about my desk here}.  The kick out portion of my desk is where the kids come to sit with me individually when they get their 1:1 instruction, or when they have computer time {we have a family desktop computer}.

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Beyond thrilled that Target dollar Spot allowed me to refresh the look of my desk for SUPER cheap! All of those nice new orange and pink bins are new!

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For those of you who are super interested, I made you a video tour!  I consolidated as much as possible but I still blabber a bit, so it is about 9 minutes long!

Thirty One Party!

Thirty One September 2013 Special

I can’t tell you how excited I was when I got an email from Darcy asking if I’d like to review items and host an online Thirty One Party!  Not only did she  offer to send me review items, but they are the EXACT items I had been eyeing for over a year!  I was through the roof excited!

Here’s what Darcy sent me to review…

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Organizing Utility Tote {item # 3105} in Woodblock Floral

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Fold N File {item # 3890} in Grey Pin Dots ~ it fits in the tote and holds my hanging file folders!

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I am in love!  I had been wanting something exactly like this for so long and when it arrived, I knew it was the quality I had been hoping for, I am so pleased!

I will be using these the same way my pals Jolanthe and Maureen use theirs ~ as homeschool organizers! I am still transferring items, but plan to fill it with the most needed items that I use with Krash and Ladybug during the school week.

Like the Organizing Utility Tote?  I have great news…

For every $35 you spend during September 2013, get an Organizing Utility Tote for $15 or a Super Organizing Tote  for $25!

See more details here in the September Sale Flier.

The Fold N File {item # 3890} is $25, and you could add a Pocket-A-Tote {item # 4135} for $10, or a Zipper Pouch {item # 3405} for $15 and have your $35 so you can save 50% on your organizing tote! 

The prices will show regular until you add $35 to your shopping cart and then the price will drop in your shopping cart.

See the current Fall 2013 Catalog in PDF form.  The catalog is a great way to peek at the products in action and jot down ideas of what you like.  I found it MUCH easier to browse through than the website itself.  Just grab a pen and jot down the item numbers of what you like!

Not familiar with Thirty One?

The name Thirty-One is derived from the Old Testament, where Proverbs 31 describes a virtuous woman who exhibits hard work, wisdom, encouragement and care for others. It is Thirty-One’s mission to celebrate, encourage and reward women for who they are as individuals.


I would be honored if you shopped through my online party this month!  This is my first time as a Thirty One Hostess and my very first Thirty One product owned!


Questions?  Please leave a comment below, and I will ask our Thirty One consultant, Darcy!