If you’re a parent, you’ll understand why figuring out where to store your kids toys can be a challenge and a half. The pile of dolls, blocks, cars, play food and other miscellaneous items just grows and grows every birthday and Christmas, and if you have more than one child, the problem is doubled.
Our house was being completely overrun by toys – they were spilling into every room and it was taking me hours to tidy up every night. Eventually I lost it, put my foot down and banished 75% of them to the junk room with threats of not getting them back until they learned how to tidy up after themselves.
I’m now aware that this little meltdown could have been avoided if I’d just spent a little time in the first place getting our toy storage right. Without a proper place for everything to go, chaos tends to reign and kids actually get overwhelmed and don’t even know what to play with.
Child Friendly Storage
You just need to visit any pre-school (particularly ones that follow a Montessori philosophy) to see the benefits that can be had from proper toy storage. Not only are the toys easier for the kids to clear up themselves as everything has a place and they know where to put it, but attractively arranging the toys or putting them away and rotating a few out at a time encourages them to play when there is less to focus on.
Storage in your child’s room and play areas should be at their height so they can tidy up without your help. There should be a place for everything and each type of toy should have its own area (traditional toy chests may be appealing as you get to throw everything in and hide it from view but they don’t teach kids to respect their toys and they’re less likely to play with them when they’re all jumbled up on top of each other).
Baskets are a wonderful way to store toys. They’re cheap, practical and attractive and easy to store on open shelving. I find it works best to have a basket for every kind of toy – we have a block basket, an animals basket, a cars basket, a toy food basket and so on.
Baskets also make a really easy way to tidy up – and get your kids to help out – just use an extra big basket to go around the room and pick up toys, then when they’re all in the basket it’s easy to organise them all into their rightful places. I like these seagrass baskets (I started typing wheatgrass there, oops!) as they go with pretty much any interior design but plastic baskets work just as well and are a little cheaper.
Storage bins are similar to baskets but they tend to be made of canvas or plastic and designed to fit into some kind of shelving unit. There are lots of fun coloured storage bin shelving like these ones, which are great for children’s rooms. They’re angled so they can easily see what’s in each bin but still look neat and tidy.
Toy Nets and Hammocks
These are handy because you can hang them in corners and places where normal storage units wouldn’t fit or would take up too much space. They’re great for soft toys, which really seem to breed when you have kids. They can also be used in the wardrobe for storing socks and underwear or pretty much anywhere that you just have random items that need a cheap and cheerful storage solution
Using Larger Toys as Storage
This is one that I think most parents don’t really think about – larger toys can be a great solution for storing other smaller toys. For example, I use my daughter’s play kitchen for storing all her play food, toy tea set and other related items – it keeps it all out of the way and makes things easy at tidy up time.
Toy prams are not only a great toy but also an easy storage solution for dolls and teddy bears and other soft toys – just throw them all in when your child is finished playing (or rather “put them to bed”!) and they’re off the floor and the bed and out of the way until the next time.
Any kind of doll pram works for this but the wooden ones tend to have the largest capacity. If you’re looking for an attractive storage solution for a girly bedroom, the wicker and vintage type doll prams look really beautiful too.
(image from Elves and Angels which also stocks some gorgeous wooden prams)