One child can accumulate a huge amount of clothing and toys over a summer season, but when you have two or more children, their possessions can threaten to take over the whole house.
If you feel like you’re drowning under the weight of your children’s gear, it’s time to reconsider your storage options.
How to Store Toys and Clothes
The first step is to clean everything thoroughly. Give outside toys a wash with soapy water and rinse off with the hosepipe before allowing them to dry in the air.
Run clothes through the washing machine so they’re as fresh as possible before you pack them up for storage. Don’t iron them though as ironing in creases before storage can weaken the fabric. Leave ironing until you get them back out again.
If any items need mending, either clothes or toys, do the repairs before storing. It’s frustrating when you go back to something only to find it’s missing a button or the tyre on the tricycle is still flat.
Treat shoes, boots and wellies to a good clean too, so they’re wearable when you retrieve them.
Choosing Storage Containers
Stackable plastic storage tubs are ideal with the added advantage of coming in multiple sizes. If you’re storing boys and girls clothes and want to keep them separate, one idea is to buy tubs with different coloured lids.
For precious, delicate items that you want to keep in pristine condition for years to come, maybe because the item is (or will be) an heirloom, choose lignum and acid-free cardboard boxes. Using any other can cause discolouration of fabrics. It’s why stored wedding dresses turn yellow, even though they’ve been protected from sunlight over the years.
You could also opt for more decorative storage containers, such as pretty vintage suitcases, if you’d like to make a display of them. Stack them in a pyramid on top of a wardrobe and they look like a design feature.
Storage Places for Toys and Clothes
Finding extra storage space at home can be tough, especially for larger play things that won’t get used for several months at least. If you’re struggling to think where to put things, find the hidden spaces in the house.
Sometimes they’re hiding in plain sight, such as higher up on the walls. Is there a place you could install a couple of shelves for boxes of clothes or play items? One such place might be under the stairs. A few shelves here can turn this normally awkward space into somewhere organised and useful.
Alternatives include storage furniture such as divan or ottoman beds, or up in the loft if you have a clean, accessible place up there and it’s damp free. If you’re tempted to store items in the shed or garage, also make sure these are damp free and secure.
A self storage facility is another good idea. There are storage lockers if you just need to put away a few items for a while, or secure rooms if you need to store larger toys, sports equipment or games. And you can opt for a short term contract, making it a flexible option you’re not locked into.
Getting your storage sorted out means the whole family will benefit from extra space while they spend more time in the house over the colder months. And everyone will enjoy opening the boxes next spring and rediscovering what you’ve put away.