14 answers

Toy Organization in Family Room

Hi Moms,
I was wondering if anyone has any great toy organization ideas for a family room. The situation is this:
We currently have a huge entertainment center that we are looking to replace with something a fraction of the size. Right now my daughter takes up four of the shelves with her toys, one for books and the other three have baskets that camo the toys so things aren't just thrown around. I also have two plactic drawers next to my couch that is not visable from anywhere in the room. When we get rid of the large unit I am going to be left with lots of stuff and I am not sure where to put it. Our family room is the first room you see coming into my house and I like it to look nice. I am also somewhat of a minimalist (much the opposite of my packrat husband:) so I like to have a home for everything so there are not big piles sitting everywhere.
Our house is set up that our bedrooms are on another level so I don't have a ton of toys in my daughters room because I don't prefer her to be in there by herself (when I am making dinner, laundry etc) and there is no "toy room" available.
Any creative suggestions would be so appreciated.
I also wanted to note that we don't have so many toys that we are in need of downsizing them. We really try not to buy lots of toys and encourage people to buy her books and crafts, so downsizing them really isn't an option at this time either.
Thanks Moms

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My suggestion would be to get a large ottoman that has storage in it (or 4 small ones put together). Its a nice coffee table and storage bin to hide the clutter. Try watching some of the Deserving Design episodes on Hulu.com. They do a lot of family rooms for people with kids, and have great ideas for storage! :)

Best wishes!

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So we had this problem as well, my Daughter is much younger but she is so spoiled and has a bunch of things she can even play with yet, plus I asked for books instead of cards at my shower so I got 75 of those! We just got rid of our huge entertainment center and went to Art Van and bought storage ottomans. They have little ones- but we got the big long ones, they hold quite a bit. got two and then a canvas nice basket thing to set in a corner and all the toys and books are gone :-) We went to the Art Van on Hall rd. and picked them up at the one on 14 mile. We love them, they were not to bad- (they are in the clearance center) 160 each I think. and they are really nice!
Hope I have helped!

Hi T.,
Your home sounds identical to mine. I have a 19 month old "very active" boy and consider myself a minimalist too. Our family room has to double as his playroom. I feel that the ottoman ideas are good but with my little climber that just takes up more space.
I purchased one of those shelving units from Ikea for like $80. and it's perfect. It doesn't take up a lot of space against our far wall and it's devoted entirely to toys/books/blankets with a diaper caddy on top. I purchased a few of the square baskets that fit in there so that small things can be contained and it looks more streamlined. For his larger toys I purchased a decent sized wicker/cloth lined basket from Home Goods that sits in an unused corner.
When my son is playing the room looks like a playroom but it takes about 1 minute to tidy it up so that it looks like an attractive living room again. Hope this helps...

Anything that doubles as seating is a plus!
Ottomans with storage are great!
A good start for search is go to target.com and search Kids Storage.
If you don't mind seeing it and it is organized try:
or something similar. We picked ours up for $40.

My suggestion would be to get a large ottoman that has storage in it (or 4 small ones put together). Its a nice coffee table and storage bin to hide the clutter. Try watching some of the Deserving Design episodes on Hulu.com. They do a lot of family rooms for people with kids, and have great ideas for storage! :)

Best wishes!

I bought these small storage cheses at Ikea that act as "toy boxes" but look like regular, adult furniture. I am the same way - I didn't want my living room looking like a play room but wanted toys available to my daughter for while I cook, do laundry, etc. These boxes are 15" tall, 15" wide, and 15" deep. Here is the link: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60071075
They are inexpensive but look nice (depending on your decor). The top is hinged and we fill one with books and the other with other misc toys. They won't fit the really big toys but they've worked for me. And when there are adults over, we can put trays on top of them so they serve as cofee tables.

Bucket organizer, you can buy at target, but I would check craigslist first. A big ottomen (sp?) that you can lift the lid up and shove stuff in it. Plastic drawers/containers that you can slide under your couch. My living room, which is my toy room also, has a closet, so I just bought a closet organizer/drawer set and keep some toys in there too. Plus my kids have their own book shelf, which is around $20, very cheap. Good luck!

I live in a two bedroom condo with two kids, so I understand you and I keep all the toys in my family room right now. What I have done it 1 - bought Cubicles (found easily at Target) they have squares out of fabric (lots of different colors and I was able to find a color that matched my couch) that are like drawers. Then I label each square with the type of toys that goes in it and put a picture on the outside of the square. For example I took a picture of a pile of her wooden blocks, this helps kids and dads know which toy goes where at pick up time.
I also have a few clear storage containers - for example all muscial instrument type toys go in one. These I can take to the closet where I have a nice storage shelf. These are for rotating. I don't always want the kids banging drums.
Lastly I have a few large clear storage containers that I fill with toys and put up in the closet. Then every couple of weeks I rotate these toys and put the old one in the box. Keeps the kids entertained because it is like they get brand new toys.

Good Morning T.!
Please allow me to introduce myself; my name is K. and I own and operate Finally Organized, LLC. We are Professional Organizers who love to assist 'Mom's' with their daily trials of just how & where do I store all of this stuff. I'd be happy to assist you.
Feel free to contact me at ____@____.com ____@____.com are listed as a Mom-Owned Business in MamaSource under 'all other'.....oh, and we also have a review listed there. ;-) I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Enjoy this beautiful Spring.....almost Summer Day!!!

I would consider of those shelving units that are divided into squares...with baskets or bins in the squares to the hold the toys. You can get really nice ones at Pottery Barn...and target carries something similiar, and less expensive as well.


I like the idea of storage ottomans that another mom mentioned, but what about also including a basic white bookshelf unit that can hold the baskets you already own? You can make an inexpensive set of bookshelves look great by adding a bit of molding or crown molding around the edges with wood glue and nails, then painting to match the color.

Good luck with your project!


T., When my kids were little, I have 3, I found a very large basket with a lid that I used as a coffee table, but inside were a ton of toys. No one ever saw them but they were always handy for the kids. You might check a furniture or home goods store to find one large enough if you also want it to double as a coffee table. Worked great for us, dual function. Good luck!!

I allow the kids to have a few toys in the living room at a time. Before my basement was available for a toy room, I had all the toys in there room. They never played in there room they all ended in the living room, so a few times a day and every night they each got a basket and picked up there toys and took them back up stairs to there rooms. At the time the oldest was 4 then 3 yr old. They did just fine for there age.

My friends have this really neat coffee table/ foot stool thing that is leather and opens up to a huge storage unit and they keep all the kids toys in there. It makes for a great piece of furniture and easy storage for the kids toys. So they can only have as many toys that fit in the foot stool. The other toys are kept in the bedroom and they just keep swapping them.


I am in a similiar situation, but I only tell you what worked for me, and is actually still working well! I have become a big fan of plastic storage boxes. At meijer they have these huge plastic colorful boxes with lids (red, yellow, blue, light green and beige), they are made in the U.S.A. They used to cost $10, but now cost about $13 unless you have a coupon. When my sons were younger I purchased two and only put one out in the family room at a time. I placed mine in front of the fireplace since I didn't like my boys playing with the fireplace doors. I filled both boxes with toys and put the other in my son's closet. Every two weeks I would change the boxes. My son would then really enjoy his toys because he hadn't seen them in two weeks, which was especially nice during the winter when the days can be long! As my boys have gotten older I have used these boxes to store their baby toys in the basement and still have one in front of the fireplace. My oldest is now 6 and if you were to open up his closet you would see a stack of smaller plastic boxes all labeled. When he wants his hot wheels out he just asks me to grab the box out of the closet. It keeps everything organized for us and out of the way. Hope that helps!


Hello T., At some dollar stores you can buy the type of netting that most people use for stuffed animals. It looks like a hamick(sp). If you have a free corner in the room hang these at different levels, like shelves. This way you can put some out of reach and rotate toys as she gets bored of the same ones. Good luck.

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