DS loves playmobil. He got a lot as hand-me-downs, and has gotten a lot more. We love the playmobil too and are not interested in getting rid of it.
We live 4 of us in 600 sf (no garage or basement or anything either). Its basically 2 rooms with a galley kitchen. We'll be here at least another 15 months. So playmobil just can't be all over the place. My mom wants me to get millions of plastic shoebox things and separate all the sets. I don't really like that idea-- too much separating, plus where will I keep all the shoeboxes? plus I love the way that DS mixes them together and isn't obsessed with them AS sets. He plays some awesome creative games where things overlap quite a lot.
But its just so out of control. I am always scooping random playmobil crap into baskets/bins. And I am ALWAYS finding playmobil crap around the apartment. And we have some big things- sure they are modular but still big- a castle, a research station, an egyptian temple...so they don't fit well in the smallish bins we have.
Any brilliant solutions to playmobil madness that are not major space hogs, are cheap , and can be maintained (with help) by a 6yo? I don't love using lots of plastic, I don't like the idea of big ziplock bags but maybe that would be a way to slightly contain them within bins?
Oh, and he has a 2yo sister who is quite interested in the playmobil and a very good deconstructor. :) It has spurred him to do a little less strewing them about than when she was younger (and when we had a bigger apt too). And there will be another sib joining us next fall, so a mobile baby here in about a year... I would like to have a whole new pattern in place about the playmobil well before that happens.
dissertating mom to three
It's not brilliant, but how about going display/vertical? Like one of those freestanding ikea expedit bookshelves.
My 6 year old is the same way with her stuffed animals, in that they are always being used creatively and with playsilks/yarn/binder clips etc to do adventurous things. After years of struggling to put them away in bins I got some super cheap wire cubbies from bed, bath and beyond and made her an animal hotel (hospital/house/cruise ship etc.) She wants to be able to see them, this allows them to be "away." We fight so much less over it. She can even decorate "rooms" with the silks and napkins and other odd bits that always get dragged into the adventure.
We too are in a small space with no storage.
The 2x4 or 2x8 expedit would be about the right height on it's side and you can get subdividers for diorama'ing scenes (our wire shelves came with some inserts, but playmobil would just fall through the wire grid on what I have.) If you don't have wall-space, you could even use it two-sided (open front and back) and the big pieces could go up top.
heaven help me if someone ever introduces my daughter to playmobil, but it sounds like you have a great collection.
ETA: They don't stay in the wire thing, she still plays with them all over. But the ability to incorporate the storage into the creative play has helped the pickup process tremendously.
Also, you could rig a plexiglass cover to the front to keep the little fingers out when the 6 year old isn't actively playing with them.
I have clear lidded boxes that I got at Target. My best solution was people in one box, all accessories in another. But I still pick up random pieces all day long. All the big sets like castles or whatever go on shelves, and the boxes are supposed to go there at the end of the day.
hmm I will look at Ikea catalogue again. We do have a windowsill that could have sort of "dioramas" on it if I could figure out where to put the stuff that isn't in active use. vertical might be the way to go, I have an idea for a funny nook that might work. also that way more little-sib friendly stuff could go on the lower parts. She is very dexterous and can get at most anything she wants. (maybe all her training with playmobil has made her that way...)
Thank goodness he could care less about stuffed animals. I am constantly trying to get rid of those, I do not really understand why we end up with so many!
dissertating mom to three
It's lego here. One thing we've found helpful is for DD to have a couple of little boxes (cheep plastic snadwich boxes) which she keeps the tiny bits and bobs in. They go in the bigger box along with the rest of the logo. It does stop a bit of the tip it all out to find the tiny hat issues.
We find underbed storage boxes are good, I think the low shallow box is easier to search through without tipping it all out. Also we have very little shelf space at the moment but plenty of space under the beds.
Another suggestion which I need to put into action is to have a sheet to put down before they start playing. When they are done you can gather up the sheet and tip the pieces back into the box, hopefully with less stray bits remaining on the floor.
I had the same problem, and I LIKED having everything out where the kids could make the firefighters help the worker guys while the knights were defending the family in their RV, etc., etc. The pretend play is amazing.
However, we couldn't get past the fact that eventually all of this had to be picked up. When all of our PM was out, it was way too overwhelming for a 5 & 4 year old to handle .... and to be honest, it was a lot even for me.
I eventually decided to separate it by type (it took me three days) and put each set into labeled rubbermaids. The kids can have two sets out at a time -- when they're ready to use different ones, they can box those sets up (I can help) and trade me for two more.
We traded out knights today for the fire/police guys. It's like having all new toys again when you haven't seen them for a month. :)
I was really set against boxing by type and all, but this approach has really worked for us as far as keeping everything manageable for the kids, as I am expecting more and more out of them in picking up their toys and keeping the playroom clean, etc.
Good luck. :)
That is a brilliant idea! We have boxes under the couch, sorta like the under bed ones, with train set, sandbox, and playmobil. When the legos get bigger, I imagine they'll take over for the sandbox space.
I am going to think more about vertical storage- but I like the idea of some shallow boxes and maybe some deeper (to accommodate the pirate ship, etc). Unfortunately under the one bed is where we keep the kids' sleep mats already... spoken for! Because yes, as with Lego, important tiny pieces end up at the bottom...
dissertating mom to three
We have loads of Playmobile as well, and I don't seperate the sets at all. the big pieces are put either out on shelves in my DS's room or tucked under the bed. EVERYTHING else goes in one shallow under the bed plastic container. The shallower the better because it is easier to look for the pieces then. I can't imagine seperating the playmobile.... but this works great the way it is right now. I love Playmobile and I am pretty sure that I will keep all this stuff for future use with grandkids (and I am a major declutterrer) I love playmobile because it can span such a huge age range.... and I can even really get into using it with them.
I really like the sheet idea,