I love it when a good idea comes together. And works.
I don't seem to have many that really do what I envision, but a few seem to work out. Here are a few that I will share, and then you share yours with me.
1. So we don't really keep toys in the living room any more, but a few always seem to find their way out there anyway. So now I've put baskets in the living room for each of my kids on the bookshelf where they're out of the way. When I find a toy, or piece of a toy set, I put it in the owner's basket. Then once a week they take the baskets to their room and deposit the pieces to the appropriate places (in theory).
2. I like my kids to be independent but they were always bugging me to get them a cup for a drink! I don't really want them climbing on the counter--too much independence! So I have instituted the perpetual water cup. It has a lid and can be taken from room to room and refilled in the bathroom at will. I do have to pop Ashton's lid off, but she can get it back on by herself.
3. I have started using all those blanket and comforter bags that I have saved and never used for clothing storage! I can fit an entire season of Ashton's clothes in a normal size comforter bag and the smaller blanket bags are great for shoes. I write the size, season, and gender on the back of a Post-it and stick it to the inside of the bag so it stays on, but is easily changed as needed. Sure beats buying all those big bins every time I need to store more hand-me-downs!
4. More Trashcans! I don't know why I have been storing trashcans of various sizes in my garage, but I just got smart enough to bring them in and place them around the house! Best new places: Corner of the living room, where Ryan looks at the mail sometimes, and inside the front door, under the bench where we keep bags, jackets, items to go, etc. Both places can get junked up pretty quick so I hope this helps. (Also under the bench: a box for shoes and a basket for hats extra bags, etc.)
So I guess these are mostly about having small kids around, but please share all your ideas.