Toy storage and toy rotation: The secret to peaceful playtime?

From teddy zoos to smart hanging solutions, these kids toy storage ideas will help restore (some) order to your home.

Updated

toys, dolls and plush on the bed

We’re pretty sure that most parents covet Mary Poppins’ magic finger snap. Sadly, toys don’t jump back into place at the click of a finger (Lord knows we’ve all tried). Do you know what does help with tidy up time? Knowing where everything goes. It turns out that old saying ‘A place for everything, and everything in its place’ really does hold true. So, without further ado, we’d like to share the best ways we’ve found to store toys.

Toy rotation

You know how you can stare at a packed wardrobe and decide you have absolutely nothing to wear? Kids can feel the same way when they’re faced with a room full of toys. This is where toy rotation comes in. Basically, it just means packing some of your child’s toys away for a few weeks. When you bring them back out again, pack others away in their place.

Your kids get to rediscover favourite toys (a bit like you and that cosy jumper that hibernates in the loft each summer), and you get to rediscover a home with less clutter. It’s a win-win situation.

For successful toy rotation:

  • Have a good mix of toys in each rotation. Depending on the age and interests of your child, you might want to make sure they can choose from a few imaginative play toys, STEM activities and craft materials.
  • Don’t try to rotate toys your children are sentimentally attached to, unless you really want to be climbing into the loft at 2am in search of a favourite teddy.
  • Pack toys away somewhere it’s not too difficult to get them back from. (See point above). A garage or under stairs cupboard is ideal.
  • If you’re storing toys in the shed, use heavy duty, airtight plastic tubs. Cleaning mould and slugs off damp toys is not fun. (Take our word for it.)

Now you have fewer toys in your child’s bedroom, it’ll be easier to tidy them away, especially if you make the most of our toy storage ideas:

Toy storage ideas that make tidying easier

Kids are more likely to shove toys back in a box or bag, than take them one by one over to a toy chest. So it’s worth investing in a storage system with pull out boxes. Label each box with what type of toy goes inside, or stick photos on them if your child is too young to read.

The best way to store toys when you’re short on space

You can’t magic up more floor space, but we’re betting there’s plenty of wall space going spare. Board games, construction sets and other stackable toys can be stored neatly on shelves.

Hanging organisers that hook onto bedroom doors are useful for teddies, dolls and action figures. Or hang canvas bags from strong hooks to store dressing up clothes, farm animals and other lightweight toys.

If your child’s bed doesn’t have fitted drawers, you might want to buy a couple of underbed drawers or boxes. Not only will these give you valuable toy storage, they’ll also evict any monsters (and dust bunnies).

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Small toy storage ideas

Small plastic collectables are all too easy to lose. If you don’t fancy searching through a toy chest for one particular ‘rare’ mini-figure, keep collections together in small boxes or tins. Tupperware cartons from your local takeaway are ideal.

Wall-mounted spice racks are handy for displaying collectable figurines and other small toys. The lip on each shelf helps to keep toys from being knocked off.

Soft toy storage solutions

‘Teddy’, ‘Puppy’, ‘Panda’, ‘Wabbit’… Kids don’t always have the best imagination when it comes to naming their soft toys, but you can bet they’ll notice if one of their favourites isn’t around at bedtime. Encourage your child to choose one to three teddies to live on their bed, and agree that the rest will sleep elsewhere. The following storage solutions are ideal for soft toys:

  • Pop up washing baskets
  • Teddy zoos (make your own by attaching vertical ‘bars’ of elastic to an old bookcase or large box). The bars keep teddies in place, and it’s easy for your child to find the ones they want to play with.
  • Toy hammocks
  • Hanging dryers. You know those plastic laundry airers that have pegs attached to them? They’re not just handy for drying socks. 16-20 pegs equals 16-20 teddies hanging by an ear. (Warning: some children aren’t overly keen on this idea.)

Kids’ Lego storage ideas

There are few things more painful than standing on a tiny plastic brick with bare feet. And few things more irritating than getting to the end of a Lego build only to find that you’re missing a crucial piece. Ideally, store each Lego set in its own box, with its instruction booklets. If your child wants to display their creation, put it up on a shelf where it can’t get easily broken. If they want to play with it, try to keep it on a table and pack the set away as soon as they’ve finished playing. Otherwise, you’ll be finding bits under the sofa and behind cupboards for weeks (if not years).

If your child likes building their own masterpieces with Lego or Duplo, rather than following instructions, lay a folded sheet out to build on. The bricks can then just be tipped back into the box after playtime. (One will always escape – usually the one that has the power to cause the most pain when stood on.)

Safety first – toy storage second

Be careful what you pack out of reach, as children are likely to balance boxes on top of chairs on top of tables in order to reach a favourite toy on a high shelf. Children love climbing, whether it’s trees or bookcases. So you might want to invest in some wall brackets to keep cupboards and shelving units from toppling over.

Need ideas for storing children’s books? Right this way…

Originally published