In this post: Organizing and storing toys for your kids can be a real challenge. Especially if you don’t want to have typical toy boxes and such in your home. Here’s how to organize kids toys with a little bit of style!

Children’s toys can become messy in a hurry. And toy storage isn’t always so pretty by adult living space standards. Here’s how to organize kids toys in any space in your home!

beautiful pink and grey bedroom with bookshelves for storage

3 Tips for Organizing and Storing Kids Toys

Whether your kids are young or older, if they live at home chances are there are toys in your house.

Our kids are not little anymore, so we don’t keep toys out in the open in the living room these days. Mostly they’re actually stored away in totes and drawers for visitors and future grandkids. But that certainly doesn’t mean we don’t well remember the days of all those toys!

Organizing and storing toys – with at least a little style – was always a priority, whether we’ve lived in a small apartment or a flat-out bungalow. Here are some tricks and hacks we used so that our living spaces were generally organized and not overrun with toys. Plus you get the bonus of seeing some really grainy old pictures of our spaces!

black bookshelves with blue plastic bins for organizing toys in
Our son’s room in our tiny bungalow. He was about ten years old at the time, and we had just finished organizing his room.

1. Use Baskets, Buckets and Crates

When our three children were babies and toddlers, we used baskets and buckets mainly from Ikea (those blue ones above) because those were the cheapest at the time. We used them for everything from diapers and wipes, to board books and blocks.

And often they were right in our living room, either nestled beside the couch or tucked into low shelves for easy access. It was sometimes obvious and sometimes not. For a time, before the kiddos could read, we also labeled them with photos of what belonged inside for easy clean up. 

living room with black leather couch, organized shelves
This was our townhouse in 2009. The kids were about 4, 6 and 8 years old. So we still had toys next to the homeschool stuff for the littlest.
lower shelves on black bookcase, with bins of toys and baskets for organizing kids toys
Close up of the same shelves in our wee living room. The kids did have another playroom, so this was just what was needed on the main floor. But it could have been chaotic and messy, if not for the organization.
black bookshelves with lots of books and toy bins for organizing kids toys
This was the family room at our backsplit. Everyone’s books were kept here, except what they were reading at the time. And all the toys were here too because the bedrooms were small the the girls shared a room.

*If you decide to use baskets or crates, make sure there are no “catches” or sharp edges for little fingers to get hurt on. 

2. Store Toys in Their Bedrooms

As our own kids grew and likely as yours do too, much toy storage moved out of the main living spaces into their rooms.  And storing them in stylish receptacles there became very colourful, depending on the theme and color of their rooms!

pink and aqua girls bedroom with open closet and cloth buckets as storage

Some ideas of what we’ve used for kids storage:

  • Ikea magazine holders for papers and colouring books
  • Ikea towel bar with hanging (kitchen) bins for pencils and markers
  • Dollar store buckets for art supplies like scissors, tape and glue sticks
  • Home Depot/Martha Stewart cube shelving and canvas bins for toys and books

3. Hide Toys in Plain Sight

Even though we moved many toys to the kids’ bedrooms, some toys and games had to stay in the living room and dining room. Board games, toy animals, recorders, etc. all needed homes. Some traditional furniture pieces can provide excellent hidden storage if you’re creative.

country heart cutout coffee table covered in painted beadboard for kids toy storage

Some ideas of this in our past homes:

  • Our coffee table at one time held all of our family’s board games and kept them safe from younger visitors. 
  • An old (already damaged) crock can hold remotes, and baskets under open end tables work well to hold blankets for curling up with.  
  • Books are much loved and stored simply in stacks or rows on bookshelves. If you have littler ones toddling around, strap bookshelves to the wall for stability. You can also store paper books up higher out of reach of little hands that may cause them damage. Use lower shelves for baskets of toys or board books. 
  • A simple dresser (choose one with smooth running drawers for ease of use) can house a number of toys: blocks, cars, dolls clothes.

Hidden storage that works double duty is a perfect solution too…

organizing kids toys -dining room hutch with pretty things up top behind glass and kids toys and crafts below in drawers
Looks like an ordinary hutch up top, right? You know to store linens and the good silver? Surprise! This hutch held books, art supplies and lots of little toys in the bottom drawers!

So obviously bins, baskets, shelves, dressers and hutches can all do double duty as toy storage!

Obviously, as my style evolved my storage methods did too. And if we had little kids now, I’d still employ the same methods of bins, baskets and double-duty storage…I’d just use prettier bins, baskets and double duty furniture pieces!

Need to organize clothes instead of toys? Here are 5 tips for seasonal clothes storage and organization

how to: organizing kids toys with style text on pale straw yellow background

How about you – do you have any tips for storing toys with style? Do you use kid-specific containers and toy boxes? Or are you a rebel like us and stash toys wherever you want?

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  1. Love it! I did a wall of bookshelves for this very purpose! No kiddos yet, so we are straining to fill them, but I know we’ll have plenty of storage for years to come!