People often ask me about toy storage solutions. What’s the best way to store toys? How do you manage your children’s toys? What furniture do you recommend for storing toys?
Toys. They are one of the most difficult things to organise, in my experience, and that’s partly because they are transitory. Children play with their toys for a relatively short time in terms of how long we own possessions, but they may be played with a LOT during that time. Therefore we need flexible and adaptable storage solutions.
The other problem is that, very often, the packaging that toys come in isn’t fit for storing the toy. Boxes get squashed and bent out of shape, and we lose pieces, making the game useless. Or our children have toys which don’t fit neatly into boxes – or which they don’t want to put into boxes at all.
The other problem is one that you may be familiar with from your own wardrobe. Very often, children play with only 10% of their toys. The same, familiar toys come out day after day. The top layer of toys might be scraped off the toybox, but some – previously loved – toys languish at the bottom, like poor Squeaky in Toy Story, left in a corner.
Bearing these problems in mind, I want to share some brilliant toy storage solutions.
This is what most people go for in terms of their main storage solutions. We have two sets, and I really like it. Ours is Ikea Kallax, which I love because it has such a wide range of designs and options for the boxes and doors.
This really is flexible storage. One cube can hold quite a lot – a decent amount of train track, loads of cars, games stacked on edge so that you can see them – and you can use some cubes as bookcases if you like.
I also love that the cubes are really cheap, so it’s easy to buy a few more and to change the look of your storage. If you want to keep it when your children are older, it’s easy to add cupboard doors and adapt it.
The cube shelving is great when your children have ‘sets’ of things. So we have a set of Octonauts toys, which are all kept together in one box. It’s really easy to rotate your toys – I put 2 boxes out at a time and switch them after we’ve played with everything. Simple!
A Toy Chest
Our first toy storage was a toy chest. It’s a fairly large, wicker one, and we got it when Ben was only a few weeks old. At that point, he had a play mat and a few Lamaze toys – they barely took up one corner of the toy chest! As he grew, so did our toy collection!
Toy chests are great for awkward-size toys, especially if you have quite a big toy chest. We still have the large one, but it doesn’t work quite as well for the collections of toys as it’s too easy for toys to get lost. A small toy chest, though, does work brilliantly for dressing up clothes, as it’s so easy for the children to pull things out.
If you do buy a toy chest, check how heavy the lid is and what the mechanism is like when it opens – a toy chest lid slamming down on tiny fingers is terrible. The toy chest in the image is from Amazon.
Cloth and Ziplock Bags
Both my boys have loved doing puzzles, but, like most toys, the puzzle boxes soon get trashed. I use Ziplock bags to keep puzzle pieces together, and the large size ones will hold a puzzle board too.
Another option – and more child safe – is a selection of these lovely drawstring bags. I particularly like that they can be easily labelled!
Purpose-made children’s furniture
If I’m honest, this is probably my least favourite choice because I like to tidy all the toys away and have them out of sight at the end of the day! It’s also quite difficult to find anything in a lighter, plainer style – but there are lots what are decorated with child-friendly designs. We all know how quickly a child’s tastes change, and so a Thomas the Tank Engine bookcase might be completely beloved by your 2 year old but seen as babyish a year later. So do be warned!
However, I do love that all the toys in the unit are completely accessible. This style furniture is often used in primary classrooms and nurseries for that reason – you can teach the children to be responsible for putting their things away and caring for their possessions.
Boxes and Baskets
For some toys, it’s nice to have some boxes and baskets that form part of the playtime. Play food in a basket, or a shopping bag can provide hours of entertainment for my youngest son, who will happily fill the basket, empty it and then refill it. It’s worth holding on to a few baskets from the pound store, ice cream tubs (also great for jigsaw puzzles) and even lunchboxes if you pick them up cheaply.
Once you get into Lego or craft using tiny beads, I’ve found it’s really useful to have a couple of trays (ideally in a plain colour so you can see the pieces you’re looking for) and some plastic boxes specifically for that project. There’s nothing worse than having to abandon a half-built Lego creation at bedtime!
So they are my toy storage solutions, and the things I recommend specifically. The Amazon links are affiliate links, which means that if you buy them, I receive a small amount of commission at no extra cost to you.