We are moving into a new home in a few weeks and I'd like to approach our "toy" setup differently. We used to have bins where everything would be tossed at random. Somewhat easy for clean up but not very approachable for getting one item out to "work" on or play with. So I'm looking for some sort of shelving, at a height the children can reach, that we can set up in each of their rooms.
I've looked at ikea but haven't found much that would be suitable. Any other thoughts?
What works best is having just a few toys out and a storage bin somewhere out of kid reach for toys that are rotated in and out.
I use the Ikea trofast pine shelves .http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00063672/ I have both this kind and the step version. I find this one is better for access since it's less deep and more wide.
We have a wall of Ikea Billy bookcases, some of which have doors. If you purchase extra shelves you can pack a lot in but it can still be neatly displayed. It also makes cleanup much easier. They are more narrow than some other shelving systems but that makes them less bulky. For small pieces we have clear plastic containers in various sizes from the container store. I've gone back and force between these and more decorative, natural looking storage and have decides the visibility outranks the plastic-y nature of them.
I actually really like having doors on them, although I don't think this is particularly montessori. The kids enjoy opening and closing them and even with really lovely toys, it looks a lot neater.
Toy rotation is great, if you have the space, but we don't.
I am not at all a fan of storage bins unless the toys in question are of little interest to anyone.
We have Elfa wall-mounted shelves in my son's playroom (currently only two shelves high but otherwise similar to these). We have a picture rail above the horizontal top track (about half-way up the wall) so it doesn't look too dominant. Underneath, we do have wooden storage bins on wheels (actually IKEA APA boxes which I covered with wipeable fabric and attached wheels to - we don't use the lids). One is used for blocks and the other two for BRIO wooden train tracks. For the train tracks, I actually have compartments within the boxes (one for trains, one for curved tracks, one for straight tracks, one for intersections, one for bridges, etc.) It does get a little messed up when we have other kids over but my son follows the system pretty well and I think having the parts separated does make it more fun to build with.
I also try as much as possible to have individual containers for toys/groups of similar toys rather than putting loose toys on the shelf.
There's a picture of the shelves we use in my blog post here: http://ournaturaljourney.com/2012/03/12/a-montessori-style-home-environment/
We bought a 3-cube bookcase from an unfinished furniture store and turned it on its side. If you don't mind not having solid wood, I've seen similar organizers for closets for very cheap at Target.