A common question in my Organizing with Your Kids online class is this:

How do you organize all the little things, such as beads, found rocks and sticks, tiny toy pieces, etc? 

First, recognize how your child uses these small items. I often tell the story of the countless hours I spent when my son was younger separating the tiny stuff in his room into categories that made sense to me…diecast cars in one pile, Lite-Brite pegs in another, bouncy balls in a third, Legos® in a fourth and so on. However, to my son, these items were all the same—they were toy “trash” that he used to play garbage trucks! Sorting into categories that made sense to me didn’t help either one of us. I was frustrated when my efforts evaporated before my eyes; and it didn’t help Collin play and use his things.

The moral of this story is to start by recognizing how your child uses the items in his room. Then, with this in mind, select a container for them.

Second, divide items into separate containers or compartments if it helps your child use or enjoy the items. It certainly didn’t make sense to separate Collin’s Legos from his Lite-Brites—and it would have made even less sense to sort the Legos by color or size! A big bin for all of his small toys (a.k.a. garbage) made play time and clean-up easier.

Once you understand how your child uses the items, match the storage container to the size of the items you are storing. Put large items into a toy box or large storage bins, and store small items in smaller containers such as plastic food storage containers, canvas bins or tackle boxes.


Display treasures and other small keepsakes on shelves.

Display shelves

Or contain  collections in clear plastic jars or glass jars if your kids are older.


If you’d like more ideas for organizing with your kids and helping them create organized spaces that work for them, join my Organizing with Your Kids self-paced online class. When you teach your kids how to organize, you teach them a life skill that will set them up for success through out their entire life. Why not get started today?

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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 organizing eBooks.

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