NYC Life with Toddler: Staying Organized!

Living in New York City, you learn to live with less space, plain and simple. I’ve grown accustomed to the “less is more” philosophy after 11 years of living here, and it doesn’t bother me anymore… unless I happen to be out of town in a “normal” living situation, i.e., a house. Then I tend to get a little envious, but we all have our issues, right?

Things changed, however, when we had a child. These days, we are at maximum capacity for baby “stuff” now that our first child is officially a toddler. I’ve discovered that as your child grows, the toys grow with them. And this can be a major dilemma in an NYC apartment living situation.

Enter Sarah Hayon and Stacey Platt of DwellWellNYC to the rescue.  They recently published What’s a Disorganized Person to Do?, a helpful guide to organizing your life, chock full of ideas on everything from storing your child’s artwork to how long you should keep your tax paperwork. I reached out to them in near dire straights as my toddler’s stuffed animals and toys are literally taking over her room.

The ladies offered these tips on how to effectively organize your toddler’s toys, etc. for those of us in “space-challenged” apartment situations:

Grow it out

As any parent of a toddler can tell you, KIDS GROW QUICKLY leaving behind piles of clothing and toys that they’ve outgrown. Make a routine of going through toys and clothing and giving away what they’ve outgrown. That way you’re sure only make room for what you need.  If you are saving clothes for a second or third child, store them in plastic containers and label them with the size, gender and season.

Don’t kid around

Kids want to hang out and play where you are, including adult centered areas such as the kitchen, dining room and living room. So invest in pieces of furniture that can blend well with the adult decor while functioning as storage for toys and crafts.  Think adult when buying and creating storage bins for kids toys. Baskets, lacquered chests and decorative bins can be neutral rather than making you home look like a kindergarten classroom.

Label Label Label

Eliminate the mystery for everyone in the household and label bins. For spaces where you may not want traditional p-touch labels get creative with chalk board front on bins, handwritten labels or even crafted labels. Photos or graphic images also make it easy for kids to match the toy to the bin and make cleaning up fun.

Think outside of the toy box

If you are short on shelving or floor space, look for unused space in your home where you can create more storage.  Re-appropriate hanging sweater sorters and canvas shoe holders for toys inside closets. Flip down shoe holders can be great for toys and take up very little floor space. Look for toy storage containers in sections other than the kid aisle.


Mama to a newborn & toddler, Ellen Schmidt has called NYC home for the last 11 years. While living here as a parent is a much different experience from that of a single gal or newlywed, NYC still captures her heart every day. Currently attempting the balancing act that is family & career, you can find Ellen blogging about all of that & more at Baby Meets City.


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