How to Organize Toys?

Updated on February 25, 2011
K.A. asks from Centreville, VA
10 answers

I have a 3.5 year old and a 9 month old who have more toys than they know what to do with. We live in a town house and have very little space or storage. Right now the toys live in a mound in our basement and piled into and on top of a toybox in our living room. I would love to hear how others arrange toys so that the kids are actually able to play with them. The monsterous toy box we have is fantastic but all the little pieces get lost and there is no way to keep things together. My sister has one of those shelves w/bins in it from Target, but the bins are so small it doesn't work well either. I can't wait to hear some new ideas!!! Thanks all!

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answers from Washington DC on

My daughter has some baskets (the ones that are kind of soft that she can fall on) from Michael's, some Stearlite (great for little ponies and stuff) and a "laundry basket" type hamper that is for toys. I agree to use CLEAR containers as much as possible so they can see inside.

I also try to rotate toys so that not everything is out at once.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Sacramento on

I finally got my son (5) a little system from IKEA.

This small system works well for us, but they come bigger as well. He has those red buckets on each side with a smaller green bucket above each and a really big blue one in the middle (like the size of a kitchen garbage can). They come in lots of sizes and configurations though. The buckets slide in on the rails, so each on has a place... we have his toys separated by time: vehicals, electronics, Legos, Barbies, tools, etc.

My son, is old enough not to need it, but our neighbors have labels with pictures on the outside of each bin.

He just gets out a bucket (or two) plays with it, and puts it back.

He also has a bookshelf for books and board games, and a chest for dress up clothes. The other random, large toys sit on top of the toy storage and a large canvas bin.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Hi! I like the IKEA thing that Thea posted. We have something similar but without the buckets - we bought those big cube shelves (2 up x 2 across) from Pottery Barn Kids, and we lined several up them up along our playroom walls. The kids put books in one cube, puzzles in another, games in another, etc. But I like the bucket idea because the cubes can look pretty messy (they are open in front). We also rotate toys - put them away in closets and bring them out several months later - new toys! And usually when I'm rotating, I pull out things the kids haven't played with in a while and donate them. The kids don't notice because they're used to having things out of rotation. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Johnson City on

My kids, 3 & 5 could open up their own toy store I believe! lol

What I do for the little things (barbie dolls and all their acoutrements, match box cars, etc) is buy the plastic shoe boxes at the Dollar Store. They are clear so they can see what's in them and small enough not to make a huge mess when they dump it to get to the toy on the bottom. I also use zip loc baggies for teeny tiny parts and either tape it to the larger toy or put it in the box with the toy.

I don't like toy boxes cuz then they will constantly be emptying it to see whats in there or to find something, so I built a bookshelf type shelf to put their toys on. They can easily see them without emptying something and it is relatively easy for them to put things back on the shelf when they are done.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Clarksville on

I use some pop up bins that I bought from Avon years ago and a storage container from wal-mart that has three wide draws. To keep small toys together I had white mesh bags with a zipper that I got from the dollar store. Because they are mesh the will mold into the other bags leaving more room for other toys but I don't have to search forever for the other toys. On top of the container, I will put the bigs toys that don't fit in the drawers.


answers from Provo on

I have three or four baskets and a soft toy box from IKEA that looks like a treasure chest. One basket has his building stuff, one has blocks or little items, the IKEA one has larger toys, One basket with handles that we can take around the house and play with them where ever we go. I really like our system and it feels easier to clean up this way.
Oh plus a small black shelf from target ($20) that holds the tupperware for the small items, books, puzzles, stuffed animals, and the pet fish.



answers from Norfolk on

I have 3 boys, so we have alot of matchbox cars. For those we have a big clear bin for all the small ones, that can fit under thier beds or under their car table. A bigger bin for big trucks and cars. They also each have a 3 shelve bookcase (use to be movie shelves) that I have put little bins ( that you can find at walmart) for their smaller toys and blocks. I have soft tote bags for their stuffed animals and balls (one for each) that I found at Ollies discount store. I usually have to go through thier toys once a week and sort the stuff back out and take out what they aren't playing w/ and throw broken things away. :P


answers from St. Louis on

We have a toy box as well as a small book shelf. I tried the bin idea from Target as well, but it didn't work for us. I purchased my own bins and we keep them on the book shelf. This allows us to use the medium sized bins. We have one for cars, art supplies, etc...


answers from Boca Raton on

Rubbermaid is always great for toys. We use them and separate for like items - construction, balls, dolls, etc. For small items/game type things, we use shoe boxes ~ cut the picture off the box and post on the shoe box the items that are in it. I.E. Potatoe head, Cars, Toy Story, DVDs, shapes, puzzles, etc. They stack in the closet nicer than all the different shaped boxes and you don't lose the pieces. Book racks are nice and neat. You can make your own. Some of the toy tables have storage underneath. Rotate the toys. If you have a closet that can be used, only put some of the bigger things out at a time. Less clutter and it's "new" again when you swap them out!


answers from Bloomington on

We have a four shelf book shelf with clear plastic shoebox containers. These hold Little People, doctor kit, pull back cars, blocks, etc... I also have the puzzles on one of these shelves. We have a padded bench storage box that holds big vehicles like fire truck and tractors. We have a fabric cube bin for cars. A wheeled rectangular basket for all Imaginext stuff. A retangular basket for stuffed animals. All kitchen stuff goes IN the play kitchen cabinets. I also have a tall plastic bookshelf in the toy room closet for big sets like Lincoln logs, wooden trainset, chunky Legos, Little People house and ramp. Anything with "parts" is in a clear plastic container.

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