Oh, toys. Many toys. Many big toys. There's one rule to keeping these friendly faces from taking over the house: Divide and label. Everything.
Since most preschoolers can't read, these won't be your file-folder labels. Instead, use something entirely different but equally control-inspiring: picture labels.
Pictures of socks, shorts, shirts, and dinosaurs help your preschooler know where things go. Color or tape pictures on every box, bin, or bag of the items that go inside.
For example, I went online and found the Thomas the Tank Engine home page, printed it out, and taped it to my 3-year-old son's bin of Thomas toys. Now he knows exactly in which plastic tub to find and return his Thomas trains.
Here are some of my favorite toy storage solutions:
Instill an appreciation of your family's past by turning items with sentimental value into unique storage spots for kids' precious treasures.
Turn a trunk or footlocker into a storage compartment for athletic gear or toys. As a precaution, disengage the lock and add a safety latch or other device that keeps the lid securely open.Use a small dresser to store the kids' artwork in the family room or a child's bedroom. Store art supplies atop a dresser in metal beach pails; add a basket to hold fresh paper.
Many wooden toy chests are attractive enough toy storage to grace your living room. (Again you'll make to make sure that any chest you use for toy storage has supports that will hold the hinged lid open in any position.) Benches with storage underneath are another toy storage solution, and they can neatly camouflage an entire battalion of G.I. Joes.Otherwise, group toys by type (LEGOs, Barbies, train tracks ad trains) in plastic storage containers with lids, and stack them neatly on shelves or in cabinets.
Save the zippered plastic bags that new comforters come in and use them to pack away whatever stuffed animals or other toys are currently out of favor. Use an over-the-door clear plastic shoe bag for Barbies, LEGOs and airplanes in search of a hangar.
If you're really space-crunched, create a toy library. Rotate the preschooler's faves in and out every week or so, and store the rest in another room, the basement, or attic.