Storage for Toys

Parent Q&A

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  • How to best store unused toys and books

    (2 replies)

    We have three kids with ages varying from 6 years to 6 months and have  accumulated a lot of toys and books so it has gotten overwhelming.  We have been regularly organizing and getting rid of broken or toys the parents don't like but with a school aged child, a preschooler, and a baby we have to keep toys out that are good fit for each one.  To help with the clutter we decided to only keep out some toys for each child that s/he currently plays with and put the rest away until interests change (kind of like rotation system) or the younger kids grow and might be interested in the older kids' toys that are currently not being played with.  The toys in question are mostly high quality and expensive so we are not planning on getting rid of anything just to have to re-buy it in a few years for the younger one.  Any idea how to best store those unused toys?  Will a bin in a garage work and keep the toys safe, or will it be better to keep them in a bin in the house somewhere?  Any recommendations as to good bins that close and will protect the toys and books for a few years?

     I would put the toys in plastic boxes with lids.   I would not put them in the garage.  I found that things in our garage got ruined in some way if stored for a long time. 

    Any clear plastic bins will do. Costco has them, Ikea has them. We are in the same situation, except twin toddlers and a 9 year old.

    Pro tip: on outside of bin, put type of toy/books and age range you think it would be appropriate and lay out the bins in order. 

    Good luck!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Aug 2001

Can anyone tell me where to order one of those shelving units with colored bins that are sort of like drawers for toy storage? I need something that holds 6-9 bins of different colors, and would love for the unit itself to be wood, but can be flexible. I'm not in the Berkeley area right now, so need either a place to order it or a big chain store. Thanks! Ann

Lakeshore Learning, a teacher supply center has great storage bins/cabinets. They are pricey for home use, but very sturdy. They have a store in Walnut Creek (worth the drive) and you can also order from their catalog. Carol

I have seen shelves with colorful removable bins at Target (specifically the one in Richmond, off I-80 at Fitzgerald Ave, but I think the merchandise is usually the same at most stores). Heather

Target sells a shelf with colorful plastic storage bins in their kids bedroom accessories area (I have personally seen it at the Walnut Creek store). Also, Kids Furniture/Lullaby Lane in San Bruno sells a bookcase that accomodates clear-with-white-lid containers on 3 shelves (costs around $150 if I remember correctly--you could call and ask). Christina

we got ours through the sensational beginnings catalog -- it has two rows of colored bins, plus one shelf for books. i have a friend who got a very similar one a target -- but it has three rows of the bins, no shelf for books. much cheaper, too ($50, i think, compared to about $80 for ours). good luck! Dmeasham

Try Target. They tend to have such things, although you may not be able to find them unless they happen to be advertised during a particular week. Check their ads in the Sunday paper. Robbie

I bought one at Target a few months ago for about $50. It has a wooden frame and colored plastic bins in two sizes. Amy

Sept 1999

Does anyone have a recommendation for a good furniture unit and a store which carries it, to hold a lot of books and toys? I saw a well designed unit in a 1997 issue of Child magazine, featuring three adjustable shelves perfect for small and tall books, two shelves with a total of 10 cubbies for toys underneath, and a shelf top for placing stuffed animals or whatever. Unfortunately, it was a total misprint. Childcraft was not the manufacturer as listed, and the 800 number printed belonged to some vitamin wholesale. So, I'm kind of stuck in my research, but would like to hear from other parents what they found useful in terms of organized but easy access to books and toys in a small room. Thanks! Heike

I was just a friend's house who had a unit from Hold Everything. It had 6-8 large baskets that fit into a larger peice, sort of like drawers. She had puzzles in one, blocks in another, etc. It was nice because you could just remove one basket, put it down for hte kids to play with the contents, and then just slide the baskets back in place, and everything is self contained. It was also very attractive (their living room was their play area, and this was a very nice peice of furniture that added to the living room). She said it did cost a small fortune, but I don't know exactly what that means. Hold Everything has both stores, and catalogues. they may also carry something like what you described. Suzanne

I created my own by purchasing open storage boxes at Target. I bought various sizes and have added rectangular plastic baskets to put the small toys in. We have labelled the baskets with pictures so my son knows which basket holds what type of toy. The storage boxes I purchased are white pressboard which were purchased as a quick-fix to storage problems and have held up amazingly well. We have moved three times and have only experienced one breakage. They clean up really well and are amazing strong. My son has two boxes that hold his library and the weight of the books has not been an issue. There are a few drawbacks, one you have to but them together (put for the reduced price it was worth it) and two they have pretty sharp corners which were an issue when my son was smaller.

Another option is IKEA. They are opening a new store in Emeryville next spring, but you can order a catalog on-line if you can't wait that long. They usually have a number of nifty storage ideas. Ann

In response to Heike 9/99. I think the unit she saw is available through 1-800-247-6106. It is Item number 21149 Giant Storage Unit for $ 199.95 and set of 10 primar y color boxes is item number 21414 for $ 49.95. I have been seeking the exact same thing and this is what I came up with. Good luck! Gina