organizing Barbie!

posted by Aby Garvey on October 25, 2006 4 Comments

Here’s a sneak peek at my November newsletter, which is coming out later today. Not a newsletter subscriber yet? No problem. Sign up right here. And then, keep your eyes on your in box for more organizing tips and ideas. This month my article is just for all you scrapbookers! Hope you enjoy. Alright … on to the sneak peek.   

Barbies, Barbies everywhere! What’s a girl to do?

A reader writes: “My question is about storing Barbies. I have two girls, ages 6 and 3.5. Our house is overflowing with Barbie, her friends, along with all her “stuff”; shoes, clothes, purses, cell phones, lip-sticks, a convertible, furniture etc. Many of the pieces are really small and with our current system (a large plastic bin without a lid that just sits on the floor) all the little bits are at the bottom. Therefore, every time the girls play, the entire bin is dumped on the floor in order to find a matching pair of blue shoes. I need the solution to be easy and FUN so the girls will WANT to put the toys away but also something that separates the little pieces? I find that when I put their toys away in a cabinet they tend to forget about them…you know that “out of sight out of mind” kind of thing? Only, I want them to remember that they have them to play with….any suggestions???”

I feel your pain! Placing small items in big containers turns out to be a big pain. Doesn’t it? I discovered this when, after weeks of putting coats of polyurethane on my son’s maple toy box, we found ourselves with a jumbled mess of toys — favorite Matchbox cars always on the bottom. Now, we only put the large items in the toy box, and smaller cars and such go in smaller shoe box sized bin drawers. The moral of the story, the more we can match the size of the item to be stored to the size of the container, the easier it will be to retrieve the items.

Now … here are some ideas specifically for Barbie and all her gear.

You could continue to use the large bin but store small items separately in lidded containers you store inside the larger box. Ask your daughters to sort the Barbie accessories into groups that make sense to them. Maybe they would like all shoes together, all cell phones together and all purses together, or perhaps they would rather have things grouped by outfit or color scheme or something else that may not be obvious to you but makes perfect sense to them. Then, once you have the various collections in place, go out in search of a storage solution that works for each collection. If you plan on adding to the collection over time, leave yourself some space to grow, or buy empty containers for the latest collections.

The containers for each collection could be as simple as clear plastic shoe boxes or clear food storage containers — depending on the size of each grouping. You could also decoupage shoe boxes or other small cardboard boxes, adding a creative flair to your storage. You might prefer to invest in some divided parts boxes to keep small items separated from other small items.

Another option is bin-drawers in various sizes. Large drawers  for Barbie and her big accessories like her convertible or Dream House. Smaller drawers could be used for her teeny tiny parts like shoes, cell phones, purses, and lipstick.

As far as hiding things behind closed doors, you could try keeping just a few favorite Barbies in small basket that you leave out. This may keep Barbie in sight and in mind for your girls, reminding them of their other favorite Barbie things stored behind closed doors. Keep the behind-the-door items in easy reach and close to the room where they play with Barbie.

Use labels to help your daughters get everything back where it belongs. Add creativity and fun to your labels by using ribbon, colored paper and other craft or scrapbook supplies. Consider using a picture label by photographing the item or collection that belongs in each container. This will make it a snap for even your youngest daughter to participate in cleanup as well.

Let your daughters participate in the process of setting up the new storage system to give them even greater incentive for getting Barbie and her stuff back where it belongs after a day of play.

Good luck creating a happy new home for Barbie and all her friends!

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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and coaching program
  • October 25, 2006 at 7:35 am

    We are inbetween Barbie phases at our house (older daughter is almost 11, younger, not quite 2), but we used one of those multi-drawer organizers from the hardware section for Polly Pocket, which would also work for the small Barbie accesories.

    • November 7, 2006 at 12:52 am

      That’s exactly what we do regarding the bins – larger bin for Barbie & friends. Smaller lidded containers inside the bigger bin. I also recommend using the divided embroidery floss or bead boxes for the smaller items – we use them for Polly Pockets and they do work for Barbies smaller things. :)

      • February 9, 2007 at 1:30 pm

        Have you tried organizing Barbie in a keenly decorated tackle box? Everything has it’s own little compartment. It’s like a Barbie Mall!

        • January 24, 2008 at 4:57 pm

          I have found that using over the door shoe dividers work very well for storing the barbies themselves. Each barbie gets a pocket and we hang in on the inside of the closet door to keep it out of view.