Updated: Apr 14, 2022
I am often asked by families the best way to display their child's toys after we have decluttered. They want to know the exact shelf to go out and buy. Fortunately, there isn't one right way for your play space to look. Every family has their own style and of course space and budget factor into the decisions you will make. A Montessori-friendly set up should encourage independence, order, choice and respect of materials.
I do recommend a few things:
1) You don't have to buy everything brand new. Use what you have already! You might be able to repurpose a bench, shoe rack, baskets or a bookshelf from another space in your house. Second-hand shops and Craigslist or Facebook swaps are a good place to look as well.
The furniture used in this space was in another room of the home just collecting dust! We were able to make over this play area for free just by taking a quick look around.
2) I suggest using shelves and small baskets and trays instead of big toy bins or baskets. It's easier to see what you have and for your child to return the toy after using it. Big baskets are a black hole for toys! It's hard to know what you even have at the bottom, and toys are more likely to break or be forgotten. Only use large bins for large objects, such as balls or stuffed animals.
See how the toys get lost? Would you even know what was in each one? This almost invites the child to dump it out to solve the mystery!
3) Leave space between toys so that your child can independently access and return them to the shelf. Breathing space is a good thing!
4) I've said this before and will say it again...LESS IS MORE! To have an organized, calm play space, start by getting rid of things. They can be donated, sold or stored away for rotation.
5) If you have books in your play space, limit the number to 5-10 books depending on your child's age and store them with the covers facing out so it's easier to find their favourites.
What would you add to the list?
To get more tips to declutter and organize your child's play space, check out my Decluttering and Setting a Toddler Play Space course for a low price here.