Every time you walk into your kid’s room or peek into the playroom, you realize you’re losing the toy storage war. Gear up for battle with a few ingenious playroom storage hacks that work on everything from LEGO and wooden train tracks to Shopkins figures that don’t seem to fit anywhere. For every problem out there, we’ve got the solution—scroll down to see them all.
Problem: Inspire kids to put tiny LEGO pieces away.
Solution: There’s no denying that stepping on them is painful. But parents know that getting kids to clean up those devilish pieces can be equally as painful. Give them a reason to sort and store their favorite building blocks with these functional LEGO storage bins you can find at the Container Store ($39.99 ea.). Drawers easily pull out to maximize storage, even when they’re stacked.
Problem: You’re drawing a blank on loose craft supply storage.
Solution: If keeping track of loosey-goosey art supplies at your craft station has you re-thinking just how important art is to your kiddo, follow the lead of blogger Tiffany at Raising Lemons. She takes an in-sight-in mind approach to storing art supplies that couldn’t be any cuter. Looks like it’s time to hit the dollar store to track down candy jars ASAP!
Problem: Stuffies multiplying at an uncontrollable pace.
Solution: It's been the default gift from relatives since your kid was a newborn. Now, all of those stuffed animals are gathering dust. A kiss here or a hug there is about as much playtime that these plushies get. But isn't it funny how our littles know exactly when one is missing? To make everyone happy, try this stuffed animal storage bag by Boon. Instead of just taking up space, you can store tons of stuffed animals in this soft bag, which doubles as a comfy seat.
Problem: Sticks, stones and shells need a spot in your home.
Solution: It’s inevitable. Every time you and your kids go for a walk around the neighborhood, at the beach or in the forest, they come back with plenty of Nature they just can’t live without. Short of tossing these treasured finds when no one is looking, you can display them instead. A spare clear glass vase lets your kids look in on their finds whenever they want, and leaves room for every rock, stick and shell they’ve yet to find.
Problem: Too many LEGO, not enough time to sort them all.
Solution: If we're being honest, we know that even the best laid out LEGO organization system is no match for a kid in a rush to clean up. It's rare to find the mini blocks color-coded or grouped by type. Everything—eventually—winds up mixed all together. Lay-n-Go acts as activity mat, cleanup, storage and carryall solution in one, and comes in three sizes—a lite 18-inch, a larger 44-inch and a large 5-foot size.
Bonus: You can wash it, and it comes with a shoulder strap for easy transport.
Problem: Action figures become nomads with no distinct home base.
Solution: Your kid will, once again, be able to locate Captain America or Barbie and her friends courtesy of this storage idea from Apartment Therapy. An IKEA pegboard is outfitted with small hook strips. After the board is secured to the wall, kids can easily hang their favorites for independent retrieval anytime the force awakens.
Problem: Your little’s little critters need a home.
Solution: Whether your kid is addicted to Shopkins, Calico Critters or Hatchimals minis, finding a spot to keep them all is a difficult task. Enter drawstring PEEK-A-BAGS ($16.95), our latest storage crush. It’s got a see-through window, so you know which creatures are hiding inside, and it’s easy to use. Fill it, cinch it and store it wherever you’ve got space.
Problem: The bath toys rival bubbles for space in your tub.
Solution: Bath time at your place is all about fun. And that means toys, toys, toys. Whether they squirt or spray, they come out of the tub dripping wet just like your kid. Keep them out of reach while they drip dry before the next round with this cute and surprisingly simple idea dreamed up by 8FootSix. All you need is a hanging fruit bowl to get the job done!
Problem: Fitting all those capes, masks and tights into a tight space.
Solution: When it comes to playing dress up, your kid has tons of gear. And it’s hard to sort through it all crammed into a box or plastic storage bin. For moments when your kid needs to spring into action without delay, try this sweet IKEA hack, thought up by Emily over at Small Fry Blog. She’s all about easy access to everything your kid needs to save the day!
Problem: Flimsy cardboard puzzle boxes lead to lost and mismatched pieces.
Solution: We're not sure why, but this hanging closet organizer, while great in theory, rarely gets used for it's intended purpose. If that's the case at your house, take a cue from the Money Saving Sisters and repurpose the space taker as a puzzle organizer—they're in the box, they're off the floor, and they're easy to sort through.
Bonus: You can also use the closet organizer to tame those board games.
Problem: Too many LEGO, not enough space!
Solution: Outta sight, outta mind, is what you’re looking for all those hundreds of little LEGO pieces. You want a clean look. Whether you’re dealing with a small space or just want to maximize playable square footage, this DIY under the bed LEGO storage option designed by The Happy Housie will make things easy. Just load them in and slide for quick, clean storage option.
Problem: Crayons are found all over, in various nooks and crannies.
Solution: Your coloring cutie may be a Picasso in the making, but all is for naught when a specific crayon color has gone missing. Help keep your kid organized with this adorable DIY crayon caddy, explained by How Stuff Works. Simply cover a tissue or sandwich bag box with dot stickers and drop the crayon collection inside. The box is the perfect size for small hands and the perfect solution for frustrated parents.
Problem: Favorite bedtime reads are hard to find stuffed into a bookshelf.
Solution: Tots love books, and they love to pick out their own books during story time. Bookshelves can be too tall (and dangerous if you have a climber on your hands), so your best bet is to keep your little one's literature at eye level. This easy-to-make book swing makes book selecting a walk in the park. For how-to instructions, visit the Penny Carnival blog.
Problem: The baby dolls have more clothes than you do.
Solution: Keeping kiddo's doll clothes fresh and wrinkle free doesn't work when they're stuffed in the bottom of the toy bin (or in a plastic baggie). Store and display the cute threads by fitting a bamboo stick or wooden dowel through the side of a plastic laundry basket. Ta-da!
Problem: Between the wooden trains, track and train table, there’s just no room to actually play in the playroom.
Solution: Whether your kid is Team Thomas or Team Chuggington, this under-the-bed storage option from the Great Little Trading Company will hide all those wooden tracks, trains and scene-stealing accessories without needing its own zip code to do so. Plus, your tiny conductor can slide it out to set up her latest train town creation just as easily as she can slip it back into place when clean up time begins.
Problem: There are a bazillion toy cars strewn everywhere. Traffic jam!
Solution: Clearing the toy car traffic jam is a cinch with this brilliant solution from Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls. The parking garage, which doubles as a carrier and storage case is made from a wooden crate, cardboard, and poster size tube mailers. And, that's it! Find out how to make your own here, then watch your little ones fill'er up and get to vroom-vrooming.
Problem: Puzzle boxes breakdown with so much use.
Solution: Your kids love to pull out puzzle after puzzle and piece them together. But with so much use, their cardboard storage boxes get beat up and losing pieces is bound to happen. Move your puzzles to plastic food storage containers that’ll hold up under repeated use and include a cut out of the puzzle on the front. If you’re feeling fancy, add a label with the important details—like age range and the number of pieces.
Problem: You’re feeling derailed by the surplus of wooden train tracks.
Solution: Storing Thomas and his friends is one thing. But tackling the never-ending wooden track they travel on … well, that takes real creativity. Thanks to the Play-Trains! blog, parents can look as smart as their kids feel when they use this simple IKEA hack during cleanup time.
Do you have a favorite storage solution that’s worked well in your playroom? Share it in the Comments.
—Allison Sutcliffe & Ayren Jackson-Cannady