A Toy Storage Story

So, you bought the cute-sy bins and boxes touted on Pinterest and you're STILL wrestling with toy clutter? 

Here are adorable "solutions" to three toy storage challenges that simply don't work - and practical alternatives that do!

Challenge 1: Books

Adorably useless book ledges vs. practical bookcases

 Useless ledges 

Useless ledges 

Book ledges are popular in nurseries and playrooms these days because they invoke the cozy feeling of a little library. They're completely impractical, however. By the time your infant is three months old and you've read "Goodnight, Moon" to her ninety times, you'll both be ready for A LOT more books.

Books are the one item that even organizers know kids can't have too many of. So give yourself the space you need to store them all.

 

Stick with horizontal bookcases and cubes:

 Pratical shelving

Pratical shelving

  • They accommodate many books per unit.
  • Each book is visible (by the spine). 
  • You can always add more, either side-by-side or stacked.
  • Young children can actually reach the books inside.
  • As they grow, kids can practice alphabetizing by title or author. 
  • They leave wallspace for photos, posters, and your child's works of art.
  • Bookcases are easy to move around and repurpose as your child matures. 

 

Challenge 2: Large toys

Charmingly tiny bins vs. hardworking tubs

 Tiny bins

Tiny bins

 

Although our kids would probably be healthier if even one child's toys could fit into a bin unit like this one, that's simply unrealistic in today's America. And what about multi-child families? There's no way this little guy will accommodate all that stuff. 

 

When it comes to storing younger kids' toys like plushies, pushies, puzzles, and plastics, skip units with many small bins and opt for fewer, larger tubs:

 Hardworking tub

Hardworking tub

  • Accommodate entire categories in tubs to teach kids "like with like." 
  • Line them up with the lids off or stack them on shelves. 
  • Store them in a closet to reduce playroom clutter or clear bedroom floor space for play. 
  • Save money on flimsy novelty units. Durable, spacious tubs are cheaper. 
  • Repurpose tubs to store memorabilia or offseason clothing when toddlers become teens. 
  • Choose charming or utilitarian options. Tubs come in plastic, canvas, wicker, and wood. 

 

Challenge 3: Small toys

Opaque cubes vs. visible containers

 Opaque cubes

Opaque cubes

 

You thought toddler toys were tough because they took up so. much. space. But now that your baby is done with that noisy Bubble Mower, his sharp little Legos, puzzle pieces, and action figures are strewn across the floor, sticking your feet with every other step. One way to be sure these tiny weapons are never properly put away is to recruit this cube unit for their keeping.

 

 

It's "out of sight, out of mind" for most kids. So choose see-through bins with lids to store tiny treasures. 

 Labeled and lidded

Labeled and lidded

  • Visible playthings are enjoyed more frequently and, therefore, put away more willingly than hidden ones.
  • Categories are better maintained when they're visible. Invisibility breeds sloppiness. 
  • Plastic bins with lids stack easily so buy enough of them to accommodate everything.  
  • Closed containers require your slightly older child to take care in putting away items. If he's not just tossing things into open cubes, he'll drop fewer of them on the floor. 
  • Labels and/or photos help younger children identify each category. 
  • Repurpose containers for craft or school supplies, toiletries, or just about anything else as your child ages.