Parents: Toy Storage ideas?

Our living room is being invaded by all things toys. We currently have a couple of plastic storage tubs in there that hold our daughter’s toys…but they don’t seem to fit the bill.

mrs beagledave is looking for something like this to store Maeve’s toys. The idea is that she’ll be able to see more of her toys and thus pull them out to actually play with them. Right now…if a toy ends up in the bin-o-toys, it tends to stay there. The price tage seems a bit steep for toy storage though (or maybe thats the going rate and I just don’t have a clue…)

Any moms or dads have suggestions on the toy organization front?


We used book shelves, only putting things in bins like hotwheels, legos and action figures. Balls, trucks, stuffed monsters, books, playhouse type things and their figures sat on the shelves.

We used bins, adult size shoe boxes, coffee cans and milk crates.
Everything had its place.

We have that same item only ours has grey bins instead of multi-colored ones. It was actually marketed as a garage organizer and we got it on clearence at Target for about $15. We actually got two of them.

The suprising benefit for us to getting these was that the little one actually liked putting her toys away. She was so thrilled that she knew where thing went.

I would say watch the fliers and wait for a sale. Don’t know what other retailers you havout in Iowa but Meijer’s and Wall Mart (shudder) have the same sort of thing for less.

We keep most of the munchkin’s toys in her toybox or on the shelves of our entertainment center. (We can’t keep anything else there as she likes to empty the shelves and play with her stuff there)

We also try and root through things and get rid of toys she doesn’t play with any more or that are broken. Then we rotate the toys so she has a fairly ready supply of new interesting recycled toys.

I like those bins but we’ve also been put off by the price tag. We use a variety of baskets and bins that we’ve accumulated over time to keep things in and my daughter likes to play with the containers as much as the toys. She has an impressive collection of easter baskets that hold blocks, cups, cars, magnetic letters, baby bottles…

Clear plastic shoe boxes with lids on a bookshelf for smallish things and a ‘hammock’ of netting slung across a low corner of the room for stuffed animals.
My daughter would throw her teddy bears and such ‘into bed’.

When I was a kiddie I had zillions of stuffed animals. My dad’s sorta crafty, and he designed a ‘stuffed animal tree’. It was a long, thick dowel rod that hung vertically from the ceiling, with thinner rods running perpindicular through the large rod. My mom made elastic loops to hang the animals from. This was better than shelves because it was only about 3 feet wide but went all the way to the ceiling and could hold a lot and animals didn’t fall off.

Thanks for all the ideas folks…keep them coming. I actually kinda like Degrance’s idea. We might check the local Farm n Fleet for garage organizers or such.

We had built in cabinets in our living room which worked well. Small stuff went in the closed closets, board games went on the book shelves. My wife was a toy reviewer for a while, so we had lots.

One recommendation we saw that worked for us - rotate the toys every so often, putting some in the garage or attic. Kids get bored of seeing the same old stuff, and having even an old toy reappear after three months makes it as appealing to play with as if you bought it new.

There’s another solution you might consider if Maeve doesn’t play with toys that are out of sight. Go through the Bin-O-Toys and pull out her current favorite and two or three others she hasn’t looked at in a while. Put those three or four toys in one small bin, box, or shelf in the living room and put the Giant Bin-O-Toys in the closet or garage or somewhere else inaccessible. Every now and then, if Maeve seems like she’s bored with the current selection of toys, trade out the ones she’s not playing with (always keeping the current favorite) with things she hasn’t seen in a while.

I have two children who are now 13 and 10. They are the only grandchildren on both sides of the family, and they have two doting uncles. In other words, they’ve always had far too many things. We lived with a constant carpet of toys for many, many years until I figured out that they just plain didn’t use more than a few things at a time and they rarely missed the things they couldn’t see at any given moment. After we tried this system, if they did miss something and asked for it, I’d go get it, but that happened maybe once or twice.

In general, though, I notice that bin storage tends to get really messy. It’s better to have smaller compartments, so that you don’t have to sift through a bunch of stuff to get to the thing you’re looking for.

I got something from the organizing shelf at Target–a bunch of wire grids that attach to each other to form stacking cubes. Large-ish toys and bins of small toys both fit on the shelves. It cost about $15 and does pretty much the same thing, only it has bookshelf-like properties as well.

We’re doing the rotating of the toys thing, too. The Sprout plays in the living room or our bedroom most of the time because they are the only air conditioned rooms. We keep his toys in the bedroom, in bins or on shelves depending on the type of toy. When I straighten up the living room or our bedroom, I put away most of the toys and give him others. Seems to work really well. When we’re through the hot summer, I’ll establish another location to keep the toys that are not being used.

I also use the “rotating toys” trick to reduce the amount of stuff that we take with us when we travel. We have some toys that are pretty compact and good to travel with. I make sure that those are kept away from him for a while before the trip, so then he’s excited to have something “new” to play with when we go.

Your kids organize their toys? :eek:

Mine just dumps everything all over the floor and spreads it all around. It’s like cheese spread, only with plastic.

(He likes to put away his toys, but takes forever to do so, because putting away each item is a game in itself. Easier to send him to bed and have Dad pick them up afterwards… sigh)

I’m not a parent, but I was a kid once, can I chime in anyway?

I used to have milk crates. They were plastic crates, actually came from a dairy, but I think “storage cubes” or whatever would be the boring name. Anyway, each of my crates was for different stuff. Cars (which I had a lot of), toy soldiers (which I had a lot of), etc. It was fairly easy to find stuff, since you could peer through all the holes in the sides and see if Desired Thing was there. And you can just dump stuff in them, so they don’t require a lot of fussing with.

My sister has storage bins like the ones in the OP for her two boys (ages 3 and 1) and says they work well. We’ve gone for a slightly different approach, with bins of different sizes on bookshelves. Not so very different, really; she just happened to find the storage bin set at a garage sale and we found the bookshelves that started it all on clearance :wink:

In my experience, toy boxes aren’t really efficient for kids after they get old enough that they really play with the toys (as opposed to just chewing and drooling on them). Putting different types of small toys in their own containers, with one extra container for miscellaneous small toys and space on the shelves for large toys to stand alone, works well: [ul][li]It allows the child to see what’s in each box - no lids, they can easily see in the top.[/li][li]The child doesn’t have to tear the toybox apart or dump everything he owns to find the red firetruck.[/li][li]Putting things away is easier than getting them out.[/li][li]Putting things away becomes something of a game, especially for preschoolers in the Sorting Phase.[/ul]Another hint: Little kids can find their books more easily if you stand them up in a box, dishpan, or whatever, with the covers facing forward. Make sure there’s enough room that they can flip through them like files and see the picture on the front. The spines of picture books aren’t easy to tell apart - in fact sometimes, like with Little Golden Books, the spines all look exactly alike! When kids start reading thicker books, this doesn’t work as well, although it’s still helpful with comic books and magazines, and workbooks/notebooks if your child stores those at home.[/li]
And finally, has an article on organizing kids’ rooms featured on their main page right now.

We’ve taken to turning the basement into the **Toy Containment Area ** It works pretty good to mostly good most of the time.

In the basement we have a toy closet where most of the toys ( and Xmas stuff) are under lock and key. That way, when they want to get out some 10,000 peiced Lego/lincoln log set, they have to ask for it and before it comes out, something else has to go in.

I also keep a large box that I routinely chuck in the mismatched stuff that has no home. When it is full, it is thrown out. Note: Do not watch Toy Story before doing this.

In their rooms, for my daughter, I use the bins on a shelf thing and that seems to work for her. For my son, a large rubbermaid box is his toy box.

Well after looking (with no success) at several hardware stores…we ending up checking out Toys-R-Us.

They had the exact same item as Target (different manufacturer…but same thing) for half the price. So we ended up getting it. Seems weird to find something that’s cheaper at Toys-R-Us than Target. :shrug:

It works nice so far…we already see her getting into the bins to check out things…and putting things back in the bins.

Stacking storage cubes work well for our little girl, bad for our boy. He works better with those Target angled tubs you posted. Some of the differences are personality and some of it is toy-type. The storage cubes are good for bigger stuff, the angled tubs work great for hot-wheels cars and other smaller, numerous things. Our boy still has some cubes, I just cut back on the number & they mostly hold boxed games & other square things.

You can combine with small bins on the shelves, too.

(our storage cubes are wire panels with corner “joiner-thingees” from Costco).

Back when I was a kid my parents recycled clear plastic Zurheide ice cream tubs (gallon size or perhaps bigger? They were about 10 inches across and 10 inches deep or so) into toy carriers. It was a very handy container, nice and big and had a metal pail handle for easy carrying out to the sandbox or the neighbors or the park. Alas, I don’t think you can buy ice cream in such a container nowadays.

The satisfied customer.

Altogether now… “awwwwww”