Toy Storage Tips: Nooks & Crannies

We are very lucky to live in a wonderful home that we adore, and Scarlet is very lucky to be the recipient of so many toys, but making the toys fit in the home is always a bit of a challenge. I thought I’d share our tricks for keeping the toys under control. I hope you’ll share some in the comments!

Above is one of our favorite solutions: Scarlet’s own bookshelf in the living room right at floor level, I love watching her pick out her own bedtime stories.
This Skip Hop Fabric Storage Bin fits perfectly under the end table:

A breakfast tray (actually a Halloween item from Pottery Barn with a skull on it) serves as puzzle storage:

A basket on the bottom shelf of this armoire allows her easy access to her arts & crafts supplies, with coloring books and sketchpads arranged beside.

Some Liberty of London fabric bins hold random toys and doo-dads in the entertainment unit where you’d normally put DVDs and other things you don’t want toddlers to grab:

Outside we re-purpose a giant tub (designed to hold drinks for all the parties we don’t throw anymore) as toy storage (right next to her DIY $10 sandbox):

And to prove I need your tips, here is what the living room looks like from the front door:

And when you get a little closer:

Help!

by

17 Comments

Jessica

question: where did you get that octopus seat? it is fantastic.

also, we have a small toy box we got at ikea for hendrix on the side of our living room. it is just light wood with white side panels, so i've been wanting to stencil a pattern on the sides that would just look good with our room instead of something too kiddish.

Reply
Turtle

looks lovely! aside from a small screen for behind the chair to block toys "play in progress" what about a nice basket for popping the toys into and maybe a childs rocking chair next to it, behind the adult chair. kind of a reading nook. Or a lidded toy bench. Octo could sit atop it and baskets or plastic lidded boxes could fit inside for easy storage of 3d toy items. Could also be a reading bench, maybe even with a framed chalk board hanging behind it for extra play and creativity.a warm small braided rug for floor play….

Reply
Niki

I typically use matching storage bins, like you do, in my living room. To me, it is just quicker to put all toys (no matter how different) in the same bin, when doing an afterplay clean-up. We tend to hang out in our master bedroom sitting area, so that the LR needs fewer toys, and needs picking up less often. Thanks for sharing! Your home is beautiful…you are a great decorator. We like modern/contemporary decorating too.

Reply
Jenny @ Hank + Hunt

We got some of those toy bins from Land Of Nod. I have a 3 bin in the living room and a 2 bin in the boys room (2 & 4 yrs). Easy access and clean up. When they are against the wall, you can't see the clutter they contain. Just one could go under a window, perfect height for a seat with a cushion. I used to have both of mine stacked in the living room, but it made access to too many toys. It's a never ending battle. I love small houses, but now I understand why my friend' moms always had the forbidden living room with vacuum marks. I personally am about to get the Land of Nod playtable as a coffee table. Its got roll bins underneath, comes in espresso stain and has a roll of paper on the side for coloring.

Reply
jenibee

The mess-behind-the-chair looks to me like another one of those, "I don't really want to play with it, but I will scatter all over the house" scenarios. We rotate our toys in and out – I have a closet dedicated to toys that are "away" for the time being, and we only have three or four sets of toys in buckets and bins (available for play) at any given time. That includes puzzles – most of them "live" in the closet. Every Sunday we pack up the toys we've been playing with for the week and then "go shopping" in the closet for new toys. I think we have about a month's worth of toys…that way, it's like they always have something new to play with! Toys never become unloved or unused, and there are way fewer for the kids to clean up around the house.

Reply
Emily

We store toys in our ottoman and fabric bins like you. ๐Ÿ™‚ Some toys are also stored in "jail" (play pen) for now. The outgrown toys will eventually make it into a closet or the garage or a more permanent storage place.

Reply
blissfully caffeinated

Like everyone else, I just keep a couple of medium sized baskets in the living room and we toss all stray books and toys in them. Periodically I go around redistributing the toys from the catch baskets back to where they should be stored. Our current problem is how to keep the living room free of barbie shoes, small toys and snack crumbs now that our 6 month old is trying to crawl.

Reply
Rebecca@This Present Life

I think your house looks great…scattered toys and all! I used to get hung up on trying to keep the toys picked up and contained. I used to say that my house looked like a daycare. So I'd pick up toys a couple of times a day, only to see them drug out again. Finally I decided that kids are SUPPOSED to scatter toys and I'm just spinning my wheels trying to keep them picked up. So I gave up on that battle. Now we just put everything away at night and drag it all back out the next day.

Reply
Tina

how bout a chill pill?? that is a teeny mess, which is totally allowable considering everything else going on in life. also, i use a broom to sweep it all into a corner, and under a rug hopefully. ha ha!! seriously, designate an area that doesn't ever need to be cleaned up everyday and you'll feel better about not having cleaned it up — ie, cut yourself a break: your house looks awesome and you rock for getting your kid to clean up and keep things tidy.

Reply
KtLizbet

Yes, I know your pain. I had the exact same issue. My Daughter, Sophia's 3rd birthday was Two weeks after Christmas and my house was covered in toys. My Toy box, which is also a drink bin, oval with low sides, was overflowing and disorganized. I was really fed up with toys being everywhere and since my younger daughter Annalilia, now 8 months, was spending tummy time on my floor covered in toys I decided I had to come up with a solution. Quick! I went to the store and came home with a bunch of clear plastic shoe box sized bins. I brought the book shelf from her bedroom into my living room and set up the bottom shelf with these bins organized with each type of toy. Potato Head with accessories, tea party set, dress up jewelery etc. I filled the rest of the shelves with books, and little baskets for diapers, bibs etc. My life is a million times more organized and I find that Sophia actually plays with her toys now that she knows were they are and all of the pieces are together. About every month or two I have to spend 20 minutes reorganizing but it has saved me hours cleaning. Sophia knows that she has to put the toys back in the bin and on the shelf before she can take another. Now my 'toy box' is only for stuffed animals and over sized toys.

Katie

Reply
Adin B

I once read a blog where she made tons of fabric buckets to store all the things in her sewing room, so maybe you can use it for storing toys too? Or maybe make a big fabric toy bucket like the ones from Homemade by Jill; http://homemadebyjill.blogspot.com/2009/06/fabric-toy-bucket.html

http://vintagericrac.blogspot.com/2007/09/back-with-buckets.html

http://www.etsy.com/listing/39715473/granola-fabric-bins-in-organic-fabric

Just a thought! ๐Ÿ™‚ Love visiting your blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

Adin B

http://itssewtasticmama.blogspot.com/

Reply
Jaime

thanks for the tips everyone! tracey i found that bench at pottery barn and the octopus set was a gift from babystyle which i think it out of business now. jenibee i implemented your strategy and i think it will work. we are going to switch out toys this weekend. i am sick of looking at the scattered appendages of mrs potato head.

Reply
badmummynocookie.com

I have a mid-century sideboard with sliding doors that is used for most of our toy storage in the living/dining room. The sliding doors are easy for my daughter to open and inside are bins for her toys. On one side of the sideboard is a number of shallow drawyers for crayons, paper, other art supplies.

Underneath I have shallow plastic bins for things like puzzles, playdoh and accessories, blocks…

Reply

Leave a Reply