If you’ve got kids, you’ve got toys and games (probably more than a few)…and toy storage needs. For some, it’s one of the biggest challenges of parenthood.
Don’t despair! I’ve rounded up some truly fantastic ways to organize and declutter stuffed animals, LEGOs, dolls and action figures, puzzles and board games, arts and crafts supplies and video games. With a little inspiration, tips and tricks, you’ll have the perfect playroom (or toy area) in no time.
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1. How to Declutter Toys
The first step in any organizing project is to declutter and purge. Trust me on this! If you have more items than your space can fit, you won’t be able to truly organize it, and you’ll end up feeling frustrated.
Toys seem to accumulate practically overnight! And our kids’ interest in toys changes practically overnight, too. To make room for new toys, decluttering and purging in the playroom is likely something you’ll need to do on a regular basis (at least twice a year).
One challenge with decluttering toys happens when our kids develop a sudden attachment to something they haven’t played with in years…simply because you suggest they give it up.
Once decluttered, kids rarely miss those toys. In fact, they may even begin to enjoy their favorite toys more! Learn why and how to start a toy rotation system, courtesy of Evidence-Based Mommy.
To make decluttering easier for you and them, start by gathering up anything non-sentimental that’s broken, missing pieces, missing parts, or permanently soiled and dispose of it. No need to discuss it with your child.
Donate Outgrown, Old Toys to a “Loving New Home”
After that, go through the remaining toys with your child and discuss which ones he/she no longer plays with that might be happier in a new home. (If you’ve seen Toy Story as a family, your kid will understand the need for toys to be “loved.”)
The toys your child is willing to part with can go into a “donate” pile to be given to a charity like Goodwill.
If he or she is struggling to part with a toy (but you know they are not going to play with it), one tactic you can try is suggesting that it go into a “wait and see” box which is placed in another space like the garage or attic.
Give it a month or two, and if your child hasn’t mentioned or played with it, go ahead and donate.
Now, you’re ready to organize!
2. Try Cube Toy Storage for the Living Room (or Family Room)
Not everyone has a dedicated playroom or toy storage space in the house. When the living room or family room pulls double duty as a toy room, it’s helpful to install a few functional pieces of furniture for toy storage.
My favorites include shelving or cubby holes that easily house containers and bins, along with cabinets to hide away bulkier toys.
I love this cube toy storage idea by Jemma from Thimble and Twig, which she completed with fun colorful baskets:
Achieve a similar look with a shelving unit like this:
NOTE: Be sure to secure all heavy furniture to the wall to prevent it from tipping over onto your child.
3. Help Kids Get Organized With Open Bin Storage
When my son was little, we were able to store most of his toys in a bin-style organizer like this one. The open shelves were the best way to find the toys he wanted and I could teach him basic organizational skills by grouping like items together.
He knew that his Hot Wheels went in one bin, superhero action figures in another. And he learned that it was much easier to locate toys when they stayed organized! It really cut down on the toy clutter.
I highly recommend an option like this for small children’s toys like action figures and toy cars. It works nicely in a playroom or living room.
4. Tidy Books and Kids’ Toys in a Sliding Bookcase With Toy Storage
How clever and amazing is this? Most kids have both books and toys that need storage. This works for both at the same time! It’s a toy organizer with a sliding bookcase that looks great in a bedroom, playroom or living room:
5. Mount Wall Hooks for Easy Kids’ Costume Storage
Do your kids love playing dress-up? Why stuff the costumes in a box? Keep them in plain sight and easy to find with hooks (installed at kid height).
Martina from The Lived In Look mounted these wall hooks for hanging costumes in the playroom. Great idea!
6. Hang a Stuffed Animal Storage Hammock
If your child wants to see all of his or her stuffed animals, but you want to keep them off the floor (where they collect SO MUCH dust!), consider a storage hammock or two. These hang nicely in the corner of any room and can be set to “kid height” for easy access.
7. Hide Stuffed Animals in a Bean Bag
Personally, I think this toy organization solution is brilliant. Not only does it store (and hide) stuffed animals, but it serves as extra seating in a playroom or child’s bedroom. Double duty! For people looking for out-of-sight options, this is a good one.
8. String Small Stuffed Animals on a Toy Chain
Another option to keep stuffed animals off the floor: a toy chain that holds up to 40 toys via simple hooks and clips. This can be strung horizontally along a wall or attached to the ceiling to hang vertically. I think it adds some charming whimsy to the room!
9. Store Toys in a Canvas Chest
A cute canvas toy chest is probably the easiest way to keep stuffed animals and smaller toys tidy. I recommend chests without locking lids…much safer for kids than old-school trunks.
(You can achieve this effect with large baskets, too.)
10. Organize LEGOs By Color
Our family has a lot of LEGO bricks. An amount some people might call, well, obscene. But my son has enjoyed building with them for over 10 years, and my husband has a few big Star Wars sets himself…so we’ve amassed a big collection in our own home over the years.
In our house, organizing LEGO bricks by color works the best. This can be done very simply with stackable shoe boxes with lids:
A 10-pack of plastic shoe boxes can be found inexpensively on Amazon. It might even be helpful to add labels, especially if you don’t use clear bins or boxes. We stored our color-sorted boxes inside a shelving unit in my son’s closet.
You Might Like:
16 Sensational Ways to Make Labels For Organizing Your Home
11. Organize LEGOs By Brick Type
Building toys and LEGOs can also by organized by type. This might be helpful for older kids who know exactly what size or shape they’re looking for, like “2×4 bricks” or “mini figures” or “base plates.”
For this type of organization, labels are a MUST. Here are a few solutions for sorting LEGOs (or building block) by type:
LEGO 3-Drawer Storage System
You can purchase a few of these and store them side-by-side to accommodate any sized LEGO collection. I love the front plate clip that allows your child to place a representative LEGO on the front to identify the category!
Mobile Drawer Organizer Cart
This wheeled cart comes in several sizes and creates a conveniently mobile LEGO storage system:
Check out a few more ways to organize LEGO kits and bricks on Practical Whimsy Designs, like this creative solution:
12. Try a LEGO Store and Play Option
Sometimes, all you need is a place where your kids can both play and store LEGOs and building toys at the same time. I love this LEGO table storage solution:
This great option is a LEGO play mat by day, and a stylish storage tote by night:
13. Take LEGOs on the Road
Does your child like to take LEGOs in the car or on trips? A more portable solution like this tote with built-in play mat might come in handy:
14. Store a Toy Collection in a Secret Treasure Chest
My son is a collector, just like his dad. He has gone through phases of collecting Hot Wheels, Disney’s Cars, rocks and minerals, Pokemon cards…you name it.
If there’s one thing I learned early, it’s the importance of finding ways to store collections efficiently! Here is a cute and creative idea that maximizes space and gives the collection a special place:
This box holds trading cards, rock collections, Hot Wheels, earrings, necklaces, bracelets and more. It comes in multiple colors, too.
Psst: There are more fun ideas for Organizing Your Kids’ Collections on Crafts By Amanda. The list includes some great upcycled projects using items and supplies you probably have lying around the house.
15. Keep Trading Cards Tidy With Portable Storage
For kids who collect Pokemon or other trading cards, having a portable storage solution that keeps them neat and organized is a must. This option can fit nearly 650 cards…enough for the most serious collector.
16. Store Tiny Toys in a Clear Stackable Storage Box
This solution is an easy way to store all of those tiny toys. Kids can see every treasure all at once in the clear, stackable storage box. The dividers are removable to accommodate larger items, too.
17. Show Off Miniatures in a Minifigure Display Case
Let your child show off his or her favorite minifigures, matchbox cars and other small toys with a display case that sits on a dresser or tabletop or can be mounted to the wall.
Dolls and action figures are another category of frustration for parents, especially when kids have amassed a large collection that always ends up all over the floor.
Having a very specific space for organizing dolls and action figures helps keep them off the floor and makes them easier for kids to locate and play with them. Here are some ideas:
18. Large Doll Organization Ideas
I like to sort dolls by type and size: American Girl, Barbie, Polly Pocket, Disney princesses, etc., then find organizers that fit each type. Consider the accessories you have for each type of doll, too. Labeling each bin or storage area helps your child remember where the dolls go!
For large dolls like American Girl, there are several really cute storage solutions for both the doll and its accessories:
Doll Care Station
This option works for any doll up to 20″ in length. The doll can “sleep” in the bed on top, and its clothes and other accessories can be stored in the removable drawers or side pocket.
Toy Chest for Large Dolls
If your child has a lot of large dolls, a standard toy chest might be the best place to keep them together:
Within the toy chest, you can further keep the dolls and accessories tidy with individual organizers like these:
19. Medium-Sized Doll Storage: Hanging Organizer
For Barbie (or other medium-sized doll) collections, consider a hanging organizer that fits on the back of a bedroom/playroom/closet door. You can even label each pocket with the name or type of doll to ensure each one has its rightful place.
If you enjoy sewing projects, Sustain My Craft Habit has instructions for a cute DIY variation on this hanging toy organizer.
20. Small Doll Stackable Storage Case
Store smaller dolls like Shopkins in this handy, stackable case that comes with 60 adjustable compartments and easily fits inside a larger toy chest:
21. On-the-Go Action Figure Storage
When my son was small, he had lots of small action figures. And he loved to bring them everywhere with him. They were his buddies!
We found that a handy carrying case was a great solution for both storing them at home and taking them on the go.
22. Store Jigsaw Puzzles in Document Pouches
When boxes of puzzles begin to take up too much space, condense them with this simple storage idea.
Remove the pieces from the box and store them in clear document pouches like these (cut out the picture and store it with the pieces):
The pouches can be stored together in a bin. It’s a great way to free up shelf space. Easy, peasy!
23. Try a Wire Rack for Wooden Puzzles
Do you have several of those wooden puzzles for preschoolers? Try a wire puzzle rack to save space and store them vertically:
24. Use Sliding Shelves for Board Games in a Cabinet
Board games can be more easily accessed in a cabinet when you install wide sliding shelves:
25. Store Games in a Closet on Hanging Shelves
Got some space on a closet rod? I love to store board games on hanging shelves:
26. Add an Activity Table With Built-In Storage
If your kids’ play area has enough space, consider an activity table with storage for board games, arts and crafts, or puzzles to keep everything in one convenient location:
27. Rock Arts and Crafts Storage With a Rolling Cart
Let them be creative wherever the mood strikes with a rolling arts and crafts storage cart.
I strongly recommend labeling the drawers to keep craft supplies sorted properly. One drawer for paint and paintbrushes, another for paper and scissors, one for glue and tape, another for colored pens and pencils…and so on.
28. Create a Carousel Craft Station
The perfect way to organize a craft station! This organizer neatly stores small supplies like glitter pens, buttons, beads and more in a fun and easy-to-access carousel.
29. Install a Built-In Kids’ Arts and Crafts Center
This is the ultimate: an arts and crafts center that will keep the kids busy for hours. It comes with two stools, rolling paper, paint cups and storage bins for all of their supplies.
30. Repurpose a Coffee Pod Holder for Play-Doh
Extreme Couponing Mom has some brilliant hacks for organizing crafts supplies, including re-purposing a coffee pod holder to store Play-Doh:
31. Upcycle Old Coffee Cans for Art Supplies
Confessions of an Overworked Mom recommends re-purposing large coffee cans for art supplies:
32. Use Office Drawer Organizers For Craft Storage
Ottawa Mommy Club came up with some cute and clever solutions for arts and crafts storage in her playroom as well:
33. Try Pretty Baskets & Drawer Organizers for Video Game Storage
If your child’s play area also contains a video game console and games, then video game organization is another area of focus for you.
A simple idea is utilizing wicker baskets with lids. We’ve done this in our family room, using baskets that fit neatly on the shelves of our media center.
We have also used drawer organizers to store video games inside a cabinet in our son’s room.
Another option I really like is to take the discs out of the containers (recycle the containers) and keep the discs in a CD Wallet. This REALLY saves a lot of space!
Other ideas: use a storage ottoman or check out the variety of video game storage organizers on Amazon.