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When it comes to kids, bins work best, so why fight the system? Smaller kid's toys, clothes and "stuff" just work best in bins rather than shelves, so sticking with traditional storage options doesn't make much sense. They now sell bin systems and stackable storage systems that can cover an entire wall.
When your child is small, keep the diaper supplies and other things you need to keep in proximity with the child but out of their hands in the upper bins. Keep their toys in the lower bins for easy access. As they grow, make sure the bins they can access are full of their own toys, books and stuffed animals.
Introduce the concept of cleaning up as early as possible and help them learn to be tidy and organized. Again, you need to remove toys that are damaged, never used and duplicates to help them keep organized - and let them help - sneaking things away in the night is not going to teach them the importance of not being a pack rat.