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3 children’s storage products that I hate — and the alternatives that I love

by respaced on February 25, 2011

Jumbles up toys and cracks heads. Not recommende

As the number of toys the typical child owns continues to grow, so does the availability of storage products designed just for holding children’s toys. Stores like The Container Store and Storables have entire sections devoted to storage products just for kids.

But while some of these products are helpful, others are not. Here is a short list of the children’s storage products that just don’t work very well:

1. Opaque, plastic colored boxes with lids. These look cute in magazines all lined up in rainbow colors on the shelf. But if children cannot tell what is inside the box just by looking at it, they will either ignore the box or pull down several boxes in an attempt to find their dinosaur collection, leaving scattered contents everywhere.

Sure, you could put labels on the outside of the box. But that doesn’t work well for children who cannot read.

Instead: Use clear plastic boxes. You can even find colored, see-through plastic boxes if you really like that rainbow look.

2.  Drawers, any kind. They get too heavy to push in and pull out for little hands. They get stuck, resulting in frustrated and angry kids. They smash tiny fingers. When they get pulled out too far, they fall and break toes. I hate drawers.

Instead: Use pull-out bins. They function like drawers, in that they pull out and push in and hold a lot. But they are usually made of a lightweight material so they won’t smash/break tiny bones.

3. Toy boxes. Toy boxes tend to be catch-alls for dozens of forgotten toys. Furthermore, the modern toy boxes are supposed to protect little fingers by having smash-proof lids on them, thanks to a 2-inch high gap that runs the length of the lid. But they can still smash arms and heads if one child is reaching in the box while another child decides to drop the lid right then.

Instead: Toys in bins, cubbies or see-through boxes are much more functional for the munchkins.

Avoid these three kinds of products, use the alternatives, and see if it makes a difference in how tidy your children’s play area stays.

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