All Fun and Games: Smart Storage Solutions for Toys, Games, and Books

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Regardless of imagination, every family knows that toys, books, and games are essential for playtime. However, the downside of such fun items is that they can be a pain to store.

Many families turn to traditional storage containers like large plastic tubs or bins, but then find those to be bulky and harder to deal with than the actual items. Here are some creative alternative storage ideas for your family’s favorite things.

Homemade Zoo

Pinterest, Spoonful.com, and other sites suggest this for stuffed animals. Use small- to medium-sized cartons with plastic or metal “bars”, which can fit on shelves. Kids can reach in and take an animal when they want to play, and then put it back in the “zoo” when it’s time to clean up.

Beanbag Cover

Most discount or fabric stores will sell beanbag chair covers or large pillowcases. Fill these up with stuffed animals or soft dolls (rag or vinyl) and then use it as a beanbag chair. When your kids want to play, they can simply lift the chair, reach in, and grab the toys they want.

Doll Trunks

Many people store dolls and their accessories in plastic bins, but that has pitfalls. These include tangled hair, lost accessories, or even missing limbs if the dolls are put away carelessly. You can make or use a “doll trunk” for more space—you can repurpose a wooden shipping crate for this.

To be even more creative, use a sewing box with pull-out drawers for tiny accessories like shoes or hair decorations. When everything has a specific place, you can finally restore order to tea time.

Bulletin Board

Use game boards as wall decorations for children’s playrooms. Candy Land, Monopoly, or any particularly colorful game works for this. The boards can be taken off the wall and hung back up once playtime is over, and when not in use, the boards can also be repurposed for other imaginative play.

Token for Your Thoughts

Kids don’t always remember to put tokens, play money, or other game pieces back into the box when they’re finished playing. Try making a “token jar,” like one you might have for actual loose change, out of a tall, clear plastic jar, and set it on an easily reached shelf in the playroom. Keep any play money safe using rubber bands, and make sure all denominations are grouped separately.

Curtain Bookcases

Curtain bookcases is an especially good idea if your child likes to read in a window seat. Even if he or she doesn’t, using curtains as dividers can help keep track of books. Place curtains or drapes directly in front of any bookshelves you have, and encourage kids to close them while not using the bookcase.

As a bonus, this may help teach kids to put books away with the spines facing correctly; otherwise, the curtains may not close.

Do Double Duty

Pinterest offers the idea of a nightstand doubling as a bookshelf. You can either purchase or make your own nightstand with several “cubbyholes” where books can be stacked vertically. That way, kids can rotate the books they’re reading from the top of the nightstand back to the shelves as needed, and everything stays in one place–next to the bed.

Storage can be tricky, especially if, like many families, yours has accumulated many toys, books, and games over the years. Even if you swap out old items, new ones take their places just as quickly. Sometimes you may consider enlisting the aid of Sanity Saving Errand Tacklers or a similar service near you to get out of a cleaning backlog. These and other creative storage tips can help save your sanity and add a little order to playtime.

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