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it occurs to me that you have three things that will make this really really hard: children.

just sayin'.

Please... please.... PLEASE tell me that the photo is an advert... ?! Surely that can't actually be someones child?! Whose child has such a tidy room?? What parent has a child with such a tidy room? What parent has such a tidy room, for that matter?!

I want!

You know your big box, that everything gets put into? I have one of those too. And I forking HATE it!!!!

Can't wait to hear all the ideas and suggestions.

My suggestions

- keep things very simple
- label everything - pictures are good while they're young
- see-through is also good
- a place for everything
- put one type of toys back before they take something new out

Call Francois Brandt (082 324 6754). Runs his own business together with his 2 sons. We did major alterations recently and he was recommended by a friend. Did our bedroom, kitchen and office cupboards. Very very happy with the work done. He is a perfectionist and is very reasonably priced. Other friends of ours also used him recently and they are very happy with the work done.
*** Be warned - he likes to talk alot ***

Good luck with that. We tried with my son (now 12) and had separate containers for all the different types of toys. For the first few weeks it works well, then things kinda start deteriorating and you are just happy that the stuff is packed away, getting that to happen is such a mission that you don't care where it goes as long as it is packed away. And of course when friends with smaller kids come over they pull everything out again. So every few months I would have to have a big cleanup and resort everything. Now he is old enough to do it himself but is not terribly organised. Let us know if you get it right and how.

PS: did your sleep training work with Max? Can you do a write up on that? I am at my wit's end with Mitchell, he absolutely hates to sleep.

Pine Options, Gabriel Road (off Plumstead Main Road) - 021 761 5130 or Email : [email protected]

OOOOOH good luck to you - I tried a bookshelf with different see-thorugh plastic containers - lasted ONE DAY! When I looked again they were emptied on the floor and the containers were used for barbie's bed, bath, flowerbox (including sand!@%$$)

Go to Treehouse (next to baby city)they have a "trolley" with different box-like things for toys - it is really cute and you can move it about as it is on wheels.

Organised is great, but yes, it does tend to need a re-organise every 3 months or so, cos stuff starts to get put wherever. I find with my kids that they do tend to play more with their stuff if they know where it is, but it takes effort to maintain it

I bought bright pink baskets from Mr Price (they come in all colours) for my daughters room then my neighbour made a cupboard that they could fit into.

I just wanted to say "Good Luck". I have tried organizing numerous times, but the children keep resisting...UGH!

This is exactly why we need IKEA in this country. I damn near faint everytime I spot their 3x3 or 4x4 or 2x2 plain white expedit cubby cube things. Then they have that warehouse full of different storage baskets that fit into the cube parts. In fact I coveted them so much, I've now asked a friend to make me some. I know that places like Mr Price home, Game etc sell the faux mahogany ones, but yeah, faux mahogany doesn't do it for me at all ;)

That ad is from Pottery Barn Kids, I think. And I love it. I just can't afford it. It would be perfect in my daughter's room and I am drooling over the organizational possibilities.

One thing we do is keep at least half of the toys stored in the basement, which is not finished and is locked. When the kids were younger I would rotate them weekly for new things to play with. Now, it's mostly a kid saying, " I want the little people airplane" and I ask them to pick something to bring down to the basement to replace it. It's less overwhelming to have only some toys at once, and it's exciting to rediscover something that had been in hiding. Not that our living room is clean or organized, mind you.

Check out Kidz City in Edward Street. They have a 12 cube pigeon hole style shelf system (R2000) that takes nice sized containers in which to store things. You could either buy their wodden containers of get clear plastic ones from Plastic Warehouse in Northumberland Street. You can order them with castors or without. I'm in the process of getting this system for Daniel's room - I've shopped around EVERYWHERE and they're the best priced and great quality (Treehouse furniture type quality - same satin white finish). The manager of the store also mentioned that they will make larger units to order.

One thing to keep in mind: kids are short, shelving units are tall.

I do something like what Eva does. We call it the "toy library." It is in a utility room/pantry off our kitchen which has a gate, so they can see in (and remember things are there) but not waltz in to raid it all the time. I have fallen away from a strict "if you want something from the library, you need to put it away" thin and more often rotate things in and out myself. I have also begun labeling clear plastic boxes with pictures of the general type of toy within. One nice side benefit of this system is that things that get put away become new again when they come out.

It's not perfect, but it's all right. My children are younger than yours and I suspect that as they get older, it will be easier to maintain some kind of system.

BUT. I do agree that children are by nature disorganized. It is not the same as a grownup craft room. And I would rather, in the end, that we don't have a house that is so perfectly organized that they can't have fun, or that I spend all my time cleaning up and grumping at them about being disorganized. So there is a bit of a balancing act going on. I will wait to get my life perfectly organized (ha ha) until they are older. It can wait.

If you know someone that is into DIY then I would suggest going to a place like Semble- it. You tell them what you have in mind and give them the measurements of the area. They make the product for you and put it all on a picture with instructions (and I think that they also provide the screws and stuff) and then you basically put it together and fit it yourself.
They do mostly kitchens but also bedroom and other cupboard-type stuff. I think that they are based in Woodstock and possibly in Parow/Belville.
Check www.semble-it.co.za

"Of course, I will need to make the children actually tidy up their toys, something which I have not yet ever done because I am clearly a useless mother."

I don't know about the useless mother part,but don't waste money if you're not going to follow through. They've learned to be messy their entire life. It'll be hard to untrain them.

if the kids, esp adam, have a clear system to follow with tidying up then you CAN do it, just has to fit HIS logic - get them to help you figure out what goes where, and don't impose your thinking on them too obviously - like asking, which of these containers do you like best for your dinosaur collection - etc. at 3 amelia helps me tidy her room, we have a place for everything BUT some tossable toys (still in big stupid boxes, but when we move - omigod that is changing). at her daycare, they have big clear boxes with partitions, and she LOVES getting one of those and taking it to a desk and playing with it - and she packs it up properly when she is finished. and make the tidying a thing that has to be done before another activity, like swimming or tv watching - if they have a set time for dvds or whatever, just say 'tidy first' - it will take a few days or longer, but stand your ground and enlist rose and marko to back you up, maybe your mom as well. good for you. can't wait to see pix once its done. i wish you had access to ikea tho, that makes it unbelievably easy as others have already said!

Ooooohhh- do you not have ikea there?? That makes it harder.
I have something similar to the picture, though not as "pretty". It's just the ikea expedit with 20 cubby holes. Some spaces just have stuff piled in (jigsaws in one, musical instruments in another) but most have labelled cane boxes.
I haven't found it a problem to keep up with it at all. If you have even mild OCD tendencies, it's something that's quite therapeutic to pack up regularly.
Our boxes are labelled specifically and with a picture and words for each, eg: Dora Lego; Little People; Barbies; cars and trucks; trains; craft; paper etc.
Totally worth it.

You guys don't have Ikea in SA? That is my number 1 shopping stop for kids' organizational stuff.

My advice, learned the hard way, if you are doing custome shelving is to actually look at the toys that you have and THEN decide on the cabinetry that you need. Maybe even go and buy some bins now to see how stuff fits. If you have lots of big, odd shaped stuff then you aren't going to use many bins, for example.
The other important thing is to have a storage unit that is flexible since toys change over time. My daughter, who is 5, definitely has started having lots more little fussy toys (think polly pockets and pet shops). I recently took a bunch of shoe boxes and covered them with some pretty fabric so that we could store that stuff better and keep it away from the baby. Because the boxes look so pretty now, I just stack them in a corner, which is helpful since the shelving I had built for toys is now full of books!
I would also suggest having a few plain shelves for setting out nicely a few toys that are used daily or ones that are just especially pretty.

When my kids were younger I would make them weekly for new things to play with..I do agree that children are by nature disorganized....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diKj68Rb_xk it will be very difficult to maintain some kind of system....

We do have IKEA in RSA for those of you who dont know - go to Cavendish Square.

Tertia, last night on TV there was an add for a new product being sold by Game - see through box storage system for shoes - it would work PERFECT for your kids - I am going to check it out myself - price is R299 (I think).

@tripsmom and tertia, those see through boxes are from Tevo, and available from most department stores - Makro, Game, Dions, Checkers and Pick n Pay Hypers, Clicks and some Spar stores. They could work well for small toys, and stack nicely too.

My kids don't like to play with one thing at a time. They like to mix their tiny toy cars with the plastic toy food with the Barbie accessories and the power rangers. And then play a wildly imaginative game that makes a big HUGE mess.

I just do my best with the organizing. But I was never able to achieve the Pottery Barn catalog level of organization. It's all staged, so maybe that's why.

Having places to put things does help, but kids are short (as someone mentioned) and have very little patience as far as putting toys back where they should be. So keep it simple and don't expect too much. Then you will be happier. ;)

Funny, I was going to ask if you have IKEA there. Guess I wasn't the only one who thought of them! Organizing is SUCH a pain while you're doing it, but SO great when it's all done!

I bet at least one reason your sister's so organized is that her flat in Singapore isn't a fraction the size of your house! Necessity like that makes child-training essential, otherwise nobody would have room to walk!

We teach organization starting in Pre-k. The kids have cubbies for their coats,back packs,nap towels. It's all labeled with their name.The books for circle time have shelf specifically for them.The craft corner has trays for each craft item.

Young kids have the brain capacity to learning to put things where they go.

I was a nanny for a family that had a playroom that looked like this after I had cleaned it up and the children were taking naps. It never looked like this with a child actually in it!

Although the fabric bins are beautiful, absolutely agree on the see-thru bins. Label the bins and lids with both a word and a photograph or drawing. It really does help the little ones find the right bin.

IKEA at The 'Dish? (Cavendish Square) I can't imagine anywhere there being big enough unless opp where Mr Price is. I've looked on their site and cannot find it. TripsMom - where is it actually, it would be great to know. Thanks!

Me really very happy with the work done..Its so perfect and is very reasonably priced...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diKj68Rb_xk Me gonna get this type of cupboard for my kids,they will surely enjoy having this in their room...

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