Secrets for Montessori Home Organization in 2024

As parents of young children, several toys and clothes come into our home. It can feel overwhelming to know how to organize our home to function well. The child, the adult, and the prepared environment are three elements that work together in creating a well-functioning home. Having a home with systems for storing toys, clothes, and books is necessary for creating an orderly and beautiful space. I consistently strive to live out the Montessori principle of giving everything a place and having everything in its place. Let’s dive into the secrets of organization in a Montessori home this year!

The Montessori Approach to Home Organization

When I am organizing and decluttering my home, I am keeping one big picture in mind: give everything a place and keep everything in its’ place. Let’s look at some of the key elements of a Montessori approach to home organization. The good news is, if you currently feel overwhelmed by your child’s toys, keep reading to discover how you can actively bring order and beauty to your home through my Montessori home organization approach.

The Importance of Creating a Prepared Environment

Think of your home as “the prepared environment”. This is a Montessori term we use to describe any space that we set up for our children. It is prepared intentionally with great care and attention to detail.

When preparing spaces, we want to consider the small details. Things like having the right tools for tasks. Choosing appropriately sized objects for our children and having things easily accessible, like having towels ready for spills. Taking the time to prepare these things is what allows us to respond to situations rather than react to them. 

A wooden shelf with two shelves and toys on it. A picture of flowers being cut hanging on the wall. Toys: cars, a basket with blocks, drawers with knobs, and a basket of stacking spoolz.

Montessori environments are free from clutter and set up with toys and activities that are in good condition. It should look and feel simple and beautiful. Toys and materials should be accessible and allow for independence from the child. You will also see child-sized furniture, like a small table and artwork hung low for them to enjoy. On Montessori shelves, you can prepare things in small baskets to offer easy access for your child.

How to Achieve Montessori Organization in Your Home

Declutter Regularly

It is so easy to accumulate things these days. The first obstacle to organizing is we simply have too much stuff. The first step we often need to take is to take time to declutter our home environment regularly. When decluttering toys and deciding what to give away, I like to think of them through a few different Montessori lenses.

  1. Does it support open-ended play? Open-ended toys are some of the best kinds of toys to own. 
  2. Iis it in good working condition?
  3. Is it enjoyed by your child during playtime?

I am by no means a minimalist when it comes to toys and materials but I think it is important that what you decide to keep in your home is purposeful and aligns with your goals of how you want your home to look and function. 

Rotating Toys

One Montessori idea is to do toy rotation. We rotate toys to maintain interest and engagement in the environment. We can keep out-of-rotation toys in a separate storage space, more about that later. Toy rotation has a few benefits. First, it allows for an appropriate amount of choices for a child at one given time which supports the child’s development. It also can help create more interest. Sometimes just bringing a toy back into rotation after a week or two away makes it very exciting again!

A child may find it challenging to make choices and may grow bored with seeing the same things every day when everything is constantly out. For a full explanation and how to get started implementing toy rotation in your home, check out this blog post. The number of toys will vary slightly based on your child’s age, but typically 4 to 8 different toys are a good place to start. 

Categorize and Label

Sort toys by type, function, and age. Use clear bins or clearly labeled storage bins for easy identification. I also like to have a storage bin for extra baskets, trays, and small bowls. Thrift stores are a great place to find these pieces. All of these little pieces are often used when setting up activities in Montessori spaces. 

Two clear storage containers. One with blocks and another with duplex

Additional Storage

If you plan to implement Montessori organization in your home it is important to have extra storage space, different from your main play space. Even in a small space, having some upper shelves to store things or using wall space is a good way to optimize your storage. There can be a great variety of Montessori materials and we won’t have them all out at one time. Investing in some storage solutions may be a good idea. If you have built-in shelves that is even better!

We invested in a few different Ikea Kallax shelving units. We use these shelves both for storage as well as the main Montessori shelves in our living room. If you are looking for other Montessori shelves to invest in, check out this blog post to get some recommendations. You can categorize and label bins so things are easy to find, but more on how I did that later in the post! As I mentioned earlier, the goal of the Montessori home organization is to give everything a place and have everything in its’ place (easier said than done!) Having a storage closet that makes that possible is so helpful. 

A children's closet organized

How I Organize Our Montessori Home 

We have a small house and not a lot of storage space. Bedroom closets and some space in our garage are the only additional storage we have. We don’t have a basement so we need to utilize our space as best as we can. I was getting very frustrated with how the house was functioning so I knew it was time to make some changes. Here is what I did to optimize our storage.

Long-Term Vertical Storage

When the storage solutions don’t make sense there often ends up being a lot of wasted space, this was the case for the closet in the boys’ bedroom. I needed an organizer that used the vertical space I had better. We searched on Facebook MarketPlace and found a great Ikea cube shelf with 16 compartments. I knew this would be perfect for our boy’s bedroom closet to store additional clothes and toys in.

A cube closet organizer with 2 clear bins in each section and a few toys in other sections and a basket of gift bags in another section

​Short-Term Storage Area in Our Common Room 

We have a few play spaces throughout our home, our living room, a few things in the boys’ bedroom, and a few things upstairs in a play space. On our main floor in the family room, I have a bookshelf that has lower cabinets with some storage. This is where I store toys that are currently of interest and at an appropriate level but are out of rotation. The best way for me to make sure to rotate toys regularly is to have them easily accessible. 

It may be helpful to have a small cabinet or location where you keep toys that you can rotate in and out. This does not need to be all the toys you own. This worked well for us because the rest of the storage is in the boys’ bedroom closet and I tend to do toy rotations when they are sleeping. This will vary depending on your storage options. I would prefer to keep everything all in one place, but this has been what works well for us now given the spaces that we have to work with.

Day-to-Day Toy Shelving 

We want to offer free access to a manageable selection of toys at all times. It is best to display toys on open shelves for your child. The Montessori philosphy utilizes open shelving in a Montessori environment as an important way to support and foster independence. When the children’s toys are beautifully set up on a shelf that they can reach and see, they can make independent choices of what they want to play with. Low shelves are perfect for babies and toddlers and if you have multiple-age children you can use the top shelf for the older childs’ toys while keeping the toys for the youngest member of the family on the bottom shelf. 

Montessori shelf with four sections. Toys left to right: care, wooden ball toy, small wicker basket with lid, cylinder ball roller

Why Order Matters

Order is important for fostering independence. It allows children to find their things but also restore their belongings. Order brings peace to a space and by extension the people in that space. The positive outcomes of decluttering, organizing, and preparing spaces tailored to your family’s needs will hopefully bear much fruit. I know for our home, when things are disorganized and out of place it looms over me until I can take the time to tend to it. When things have a place and they are in their place it makes for a peaceful and harmonious living space. A great way to get started is to just choose one category to organize, maybe it’s clothes, toys, or books. Make something function well and make it beautiful. Odds are it will lend itself to more beauty and order in the upcoming days.

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