Friday, April 23, 2010

Toy Storage

This post may contain affiliate links.

I had a question about toy storage and how I do that, so, here is a post on it!

WHERE?

"Are most toys stored in your children's bedrooms or in a more common space like the family room or a playroom?"

In my ideal world, there would be a toy room where most toys were located.  Now, for me this 'ideal' isn't high enough to trump other ideals. We have a 6 bedroom house. Each child has their own room. My husband and I have a room. I have a craft room. And we have an office/guest room. So, if we had a 7th bedroom, it would be a toy room. But we don't...

So, toys are stored bedrooms.

We also have some toys in various other locations. We have some toys in my craft room for McKenna's blanket time. We have a small tote of toys in our family room closet that we can pull out for the family room. We have some fridge toys in the kitchen.

We also have a family room closet with puzzles, games, coloring stuff, etc.

SHARED TOYS

"What about toys that are shared (like a play kitchen or basic blocks)?"

If we had designed the space in this house, there would be a 7th bedroom and it would be a toy room. Brayden's room is ridiculously large. I mean, really big. His room has most of the toys we own in it.

Each girl has some toys in her room. The "baby" toys are in McKenna's room. Kaitlyn has some of her favorite toys and the most "girly" toys in her room. But everything else is in Brayden's room. He has toys in there that are "his," "Kaitlyn's," and "McKenna's"--but I prefer that everyone pretty much think of all toys as everyone's. Anyway, not the point. 85-90% of the toys we own are in Brayden's room.

This actually works out nicely. Brayden and Kaitlyn both typically have independent playtime in Brayden's room (not at the same time). It is nice to have most of the toys in one location for that purpose. It is also nice because the girls' rooms are in a separate part of the house. It is hard to explain exactly, but I can keep that part quiet and people out of it for nap times.

Brayden's room is closer to the main living space. The kids can play and play even with someone napping in the sleeping part of the house.

It is also nice because it keeps most toys in one location. That makes clean-up easier.

STORAGE

Speaking of toys...how do you handle toy storage in your home?

The "where" you store your toys is going to be quite unique to your house layout, number of rooms, and number of children. But storage ideas can be applied no matter where the exact location of your toys. Here are some storage solutions I love, complete with pictures of my stuff:

Bookcase


I think this is fairly well-known and often used. A bookcase is a great place to store books :). There are lots of styles available. This bookcase above is a traditional type. We got it at an antique shop.

This one (above) is a more contemporary look. Don't mind it--it is new and not decorated officially yet. This is from IKEA.
In most cases, we aren't big child-proofers here, but we do bolt our bookcases to the wall.


You could also use bookcases to store toys on. Kaitlyn has a bookcase in her room with dolls, her diaper bag, and her Fisher Price House.
You can also put baskets on shelves to hold things. On my IKEA bookshelf, I plan to get a couple of the boxes that fit in the cubes to put hats, gloves, and sunglasses in.
We use various baskets to hold various items.
Here are two miniature crates. The hold some of McKenna's toys. I keep this in the family room storage closet. When she is in the family room and needs toys to play with, we just pull this out.

These aren't toys, but children items. On my IKEA bookshelf, I currently have a few baskets holding sunglasses and hats and gloves, etc. The baskets are getting too small, hence the move to the boxes made specifically for the bookcase. You can see lots of Baskets For Storage on Amazon, as well as many other baskets.
We use lots and lots of totes around here. The other day, my neighbor was going on and on to her sister about how organized I am and how she needs to come see my house so she can see how organized I am. Her sister asked if being organized required lots of totes. I had to laugh.
The tote thing is all my husband. He LOVES totes. He wants a tote for everything. When we first got married, I consented to some totes, but dragged my feet because it can be expensive to own so many totes! But over the years, I have seen the value. You can use totes in many ways.
With totes, you can divide things up into specific categories. Here we have our crayons, colored pencils, markers, etc. in one tote, and our Play Doh in another. When the kids want to play Play Doh, we get the tote out. It is one simple thing to carry and it keeps things organized on the shelf.
Here we have our Wii stuff in a tote. We keep the lid off for easy access, but it is much easier to keep these items together and clean while they are in the tote than if they were just on the shelf. You could accomplish the same thing with a basket.

Here, we have a larger tote holding all of our dress clothes. We might do a cute trunk someday, but we already had this tote.

We have a small tote with a handle on the lid that holds small baby toys. It is handy for taking to relative's homes, camping, traveling, or even just around the house.

We have totes dedicated to categories of toys. Kaitlyn has a tote for her ponies. Brayden has a tote for his cars and trucks. We also store clothes that are too small in totes. They stay clean, dry, and bug free.
Drawers are another great solution to toy storage needs. In general, I don't like drawers for toys as much as totes because they are not as easy to move around as the tote. However, there are situations where they are helpful.
This shows our drawers for our kitchen. It holds dishes and food.
Sterilite 20738006 Clear View Mini 3-Drawer Organizer with White Frame and See-Through Drawers, 6-Pack

You can also do mini drawers that would sit on a shelf, counter, dresser, etc.



Sterilite 17048006 Clear View Storage Drawer with Titanium Insert, 6-Pack, 16-Quart

Or there is the single drawer.
And don't forget about possible extra drawers in a dresser.

In our previous home, the owners before us had remodeled this room pictured below. It had dormers, but they took the dormers out. They then put cupboards along the bottom edge. I loved this for toy storage. It was a great use of that space.


I am a macro cleaner, which means I need the visible area to be clean. I also like my drawers and cupboards organized, but if I can see stuff, it isn't clean to me. For that reason, a toy organizer with bins wouldn't work super-well for me,  but some people love them. I can see that they could make for easy clean up with little ones. 

Kids' Toy Organizer and Storage Bin, Natural

When we moved into our current home, I wanted a cabinet in Brayden's room for toy storage. A toy box could work, but then you just have a ton of toys piled on top of each other. To get a toy out on the bottom, all of the toys must come out.

Little Tikes Giant Toy Chest Blue


Kidcraft makes a darling storage bench that could work well, and would be a good solution to the toy box toys all on top of each other (actually, I want one similar to this in black in my entry way. Then we could put our shoes in there. Or, Kaitlyn has her stuffed animals in a tote at the foot of her bed. It isn't very cute out in the open like that...hmm...):


KidKraft Nantucket Storage Bench
Anyway, I needed cabinet solutions. Luckily, we had this already. This cabinet has served many purposes for us. We used it in a bathroom in a rental that had little bathroom storage. We used it in our kitchen in our previous home as a pantry. Now it is in Brayden's room as major toy storage. I have one similar in my craft room. These things hold a lot of stuff.

Another great thing about cabinets is it is an easy way to rotate toys. If you leave them closed, you child is likely to not think about the toys in there. I always just opened cabinets I wanted the kids to play with, and they did.

 
Under The Bed

Don't forget to utilize available space under beds. Under Brayden's bed, we have totes with toys in them. Kaitlyn's bed is a toddler bed, so it doesn't really fit anything under there. Back when she wore diapers, we put extra diapers and wipes under it. You can fit all sorts of things under cribs, too. And don't forget your own bed. Under our bed, I fold up and store my blanket. I sleep with an extra quilt because I get cold and my husband gets hot. Back to the macro cleaner, I don't like a blanket on my bed, so I put it under.



Closets

We have never had satellite until recently. Our current home can't get local channels reliably, so we ended up getting a satellite, so I now have HGTV. I love to watch House Hunters. As I do, I am often shocked by the reactions to closets--especially in homes on the East coast. There will be one rod in a huge closet and people comment on what good space it is.

My husband and I are space utilizers. Every house we have ever lived in, we have optimized the space in each closet in the house. We get every inch of storage out of it we can. He is an actual rocket scientist, so he engineers everything perfectly. If neither you nor your husband have that capability, I would find someone who you can pay to do it for you! Find someone good. Closets are space meant to store things, why not get every inch out of it you can?


This is Brayden's closet. It just had a rod in it with a shelf above. We added the second shelf in this picture to more easily store blankets, sheets, and quilts without them all falling over whenever you got one down.




This is also in Brayden's closet. Can you believe none of these shelves where here? We added those for great toy storage. We also added more shelves on the other side of the closet for shoes and clothes.



This is our family room closet. This was literally a little tiny room with zero shelves. Zero! There are shelves behind the door, also. We can fit so much in this closet now.

Toy Table

We have a train table we found at a garage sale. It has drawers under it--and they are so worth it. You can store all of your train stuff in them. There are also "activity tables" sold by companies like Melissa & Doug for things other than trains.

Train Table - Honey



I have small children. These children are not really capable of using hangers yet. Nor can they even reach the hangers in the coat closet. Therefore, I am either destined to pick up coats repeatedly for several more years of my life, or I needed to find a solution. Coat hooks. Yes! Coat hooks.


Above: We mounted a wall-mount coat hook rack. This holds coats and snow pants. It can also hold jackets and sun hats in the summer months.



Above: This is the inside of the door to my coat closet.  We bought five three-pronged coat and hat hooks (see photo below) and mounted them to the inside of the door. Each person in our family has a hook for coats, hats, purses, backpacks, etc. I love this. Now my children can put their own coats up.


Liberty Hardware B42305Z-FB-C Hook with Three Flared Prongs, Flat Black

Outside

It can be tricky to store your toys outside. You want them safe and dry. We found this Rubbermaid Deck box at Home Depot and thought it would be perfect. We liked it so much, we bought a second, and our neighbors bought one of their own.
Rubbermaid 5E39 Extra Large Deck Box with Seat
CONCLUSION
So there you have it. There are my toy storage ideas. Please share any toy storage solutions you love!

RELATED BLOG LABELS

12 comments:

Lisa Chaffee said...

I love this post...a woman after my own heart!
I just wanted to add to the tote idea. Totes always go on sale every Christmas at Target so that is the best time to stock up! Save space and money at the same time. :D They also go on sale right before school starts trying to get college students to buy them for their dorms.

Laura said...

Wow, what a lot of great ideas. Thank you for posting this! We like the idea of totes too. They are so handy!

Larissa Smith said...

I use drawers. I divide the toys into open-topped bins that fit within the drawers. My daughter can pull them out one at a time and easily stash them as well, but when cleaning up, we can carry the bin around and grab all items. If we're in a major hurry, everything gets shoved into the drawers and closed in, and I can come back later and reorganize into the proper box as needed, but for the moment, the room is contained. I have a separate drawer for dress up clothes and one for stuffed animals and dolls; I don't use bins in these. I only have books and a puzzle stacker frame out on shelves - everything else ends up stowed. I do keep another bin on the bookshelf for board books - it also serves as a bookend.

Oh, and all of this is in our family room. My girls (3 years and 3 months) share a room, so I moved all the toys out so that the older can still play when the baby is asleep. The play kitchen is in our living room, as is the art table. I have a rolling set of stacking baskets that holds the marker bag, crayon bag, pencil bucket, paper, coloring and sticker books, bendaroos (in a tupperware), and scissors. It is not hard to whisk it out of the room if I need to for neatness or younger-child-proofing.

Kristy Powers said...

I completely agree with what you said about the limitations of a big toy box. We use a lot of totes. ;) But my husband made our older son a big, open toy box on wheels and my mom painted it to be a school bus with animals riding in it. It looks great in my son's room and we use it to pile in all the stuffed animals that kids end up collecting. It's nice to see that toy box every day that was made for my son with love. Since stuffed animals are usually jumbled up together anyway, it works great!

Amanda said...

I am so jealous! 6 bedrooms?!?! Our church thinks our parsonage is 'great!' and it has 4 bedrooms, a living room, and a small kitchen, and 2 bathrooms. Oh, and 2 of the bedrooms are downstairs and there isn't a decent closet in the place. (sigh) But it's still an improvement on our 800 sq. foot apartment, lol!

What we use mostly is those awesome cube shelves like your IKEA one. I have cloth bins that go in each to match our son's room and I hung a picture label of the toys on each bin. I even stenciled some of the plain bins to match our nursery set. These have been awesome for varying toys and not getting out too many at once for playpen time, room time, etc. Most of Tobias' toys fit in his two 9 cube shelves and it's all organized and out of sight when they are put away.

Redheads said...

Great ideas! I have implemented many on my own before reading this. But, I really like the idea of having a container for hats, sunglasses, sunblock, etc. It seems like that stuff is scattered all over the house all the time and I am scrambling for these items when getting ready to go out! Can't believe I hadn't thought of that before, so thanks for sharing!
amy

Carolyn said...

So ... here's a radical idea ...

At our house, we have one toy chest. And one box of blocks. That's it. When we get more toys than that, we start redistributing them in the neighborhood. I find that my boys don't really use a lot of toys. They do their best playing with only a few--and sometimes no!--playthings. Most toys have expended their entertainment value after a few weeks, so I only keep the ones they keep coming back to over and over again. We just give the rest away.

Plowmanators said...

Thanks Lisa! I have never paid enough attention to sale seasons to know...but now I will be sure to stock up during sale times :)

Plowmanators said...

Larissa, that is a great idea to put bins in drawers. It solves the inconvenience problem of drawers.

Plowmanators said...

Kristy, toy boxes are a great answer to stuffed animals. We have ours in a large tote, which is just a less expensive version of the toy box :)

gipi gopinath said...

My kids got loads of toys and managed to get from School Surplus that do cheap educational supplies.

Neat stuff..check it out

Kristy Powers said...

I am reading this again after a year and a half and our move to another house. This house has so many more closets. I can really see how it helps! There is only so much you can do if you don't have closets and you don't have much of a budget for household organization. Your section on closets is right on, and that fabulous cabinet which is kind of like a closet. I think if someone didn't have much money or many closets, those drawer systems would be really handy, although like you said, they are not always the best thing.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails