Inexpensive Ideas for Organizing Toys

If you've got kids, you've got toys. Most likely, you've got too many toys. Every parent eventually reaches a breaking point when they find themselves surrounded by, stepping on, and just plain overwhelmed by toys. When that point comes, it's time to get organized.

There are all kinds of organization systems available on the market, from plastic bins to wooden tables with drawers that double as toy boxes. These can get a bit pricey, though, and aren't customizable at all. For example, any kind of large toy box would be totally useless to me. My daughters love "Polly Pocket" and all of the teeny-tiny accessories that come along with her. These bits and pieces would just get lost in a deep toy box. Small storage options are the best for us. If your children are crazy about stuffed animals, a big toy box would be perfect for you. Those, too, can get expensive. I have a few options for you there, as well.

Ideas for Storing Small Toys

There are so many cutesy bins and baskets on the market to store everything from toys to clothes in, and if your budget isn't a major concern, these are a great option. If budget is an issue, here are some ideas for storing small toys, puzzle pieces, blocks, action figures, Matchbox cars, or any other little toy that you end up stepping on fourteen times a day:

Plastic shoe boxes with lids: You can purchase these at most dollar stores, and large discount chains like Target often put them on sale inexpensively in spring and fall. You can dedicate each container to a type of toy (for example, my girls have a shoe box for Polly Pocket, another shoe box for blocks, another one for toy cars, etc.). This is great because the children can just grab a bin and go. For a little added reading lesson, put labels on the sides of the bins identifying what's inside.

Large plastic pretzel/snack jars: You see these most often in warehouse clubs. They have either snap on or screw on lids, are clear plastic, and can hold lots and lots of stuff! Once you've finished eating the goodies inside, simply wash out the container (save the lid!), remove the label, and fill it up with more of those small toys that drive you nuts. Again, you can attach a label to the container to identify the contents. These are also great for Barbie clothes.

Smaller plastic jars: These are the plastic jars that things like mayonaise, jelly, and peanut butter come in. Wash them out, remove the labels, and you've got perfect storage for crayons, markers, play jewelry, Legos, doll accessories, stickers....all of those things that just never seem to quite find a place.

Plastic coffee cans: One popular brand of coffee comes in handy plastic cans with lids. They're not the prettiest color, but if it bothers you, you can always pick up a can of that spray paint for plastic and paint it to match the d├ęcor of your child's room. These are the perfect size for all kinds of little toys. In our house, we use them to hold art supplies.

Ideas for Storing Large Toys

Stuffed animals, large dolls, toy trucks and the like present their own unique storage challenge. They just take up so much room! If you try storing them on shelves, shelf space is eaten up in no time (and they never stay looking neat!) A toy box is a good option here, but if you're looking for budget items that can take a beating, consider some of these ideas:

Large plastic storage containers: These are fairly inexpensive, and come in many different sizes and colors. They have lids, so you can even stack them if you want. Or, leave the lid off so your child can access their toys easily.

Laundry baskets: They're not just for laundry! I have one in my daughter's room that is holding nothing but stuffed animals. They're lightweight, inexpensive, and the kids can get and put away their own toys, without any help from Mom. Once she's done using it for toys, I can teach her how to do her own laundry!

Plastic under-the-bed storage: These are long, shallow plastic bins with lids that are perfect for sliding under the bed. They're a bit more expensive than the regular plastic storage bins, but being able to use this wasted space makes it well worth the cost. They are perfect for smaller stuffed animals, Barbies, action figures, dress-up clothes, cars and trucks and games.

So, there you have it. Several simple, inexpensive ideas for storing kids' toys. Now, if only we could get them to put their toys away in these containers...

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Comments 16 comments

jennifer 8 years ago

Great ideas that are affordable; no need to go buying anything as her ideas are practical and realistic.


emily 7 years ago

this was such a big help!! With two little boys and a playroom that looks like a toy explosion these ideas will help me get organized without breaking the bank. Thanks a lot!!!


Amber 6 years ago

I love to organize but when it came to the play room I just shut the door and left. These ideas are great and perfect for cleaning up and also recycling which we have also been trying to accomplish! Thank you for sharing the ideas.


Leenie Pooh profile image

Leenie Pooh 6 years ago

If you have lightweight toys such as stuffed animals or costumes you can make a storage system out of boxes. Turn the boxes on their sides so that the open end faces out towards you. Stack the boxes any way you like and then attach them together with colorful plastic tape. You can leave them as is or cover them with leftover wallpaper, gift wrap, newspaper comic pages ...

If you want to really get into it you can paper mache the boxes after they're taped together. It's messy but it does make the whole system much stronger.


GojiJuiceGoodness profile image

GojiJuiceGoodness 6 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

Great information for making things look neat without spending much!


Tracy 6 years ago

What great ideas!!! I can't believe I've never thought of using plastic peanut butter jars and plastic coffee containers!!


Nikki 6 years ago

I actually use diaper boxes too, wipes boxes, actual shoe boxes and paint them or use scrap-booking stuff and decorate them. I use these boxes for my own stuff! They are toy organizing boxes, photo boxes, game boxes, keepsake boxes, book boxes for the shelves. Most of my plastic boxes are taken up and we barely have $ for milk, so Make my own. I am actually about to use old curtains and kids clothes to put fabric on them instead of the scrapbooking paper( I am all out! Lol). I need to make more keepsake boxes so I am using the kids old keepsake clothes to make the box. I love the coffee can ideas! I thought about it but thought "nah" and threw em away! Now I regret it! Lol thank you!


Ben 6 years ago

Some good ideas here to minimise clutter - i've gone for the plastic drawer under the bed, nice and easy to fill up and slide away out of site!


star369 5 years ago

The big help totally helped me

It felt good not stepping on my son toys for the first time. Thanks


rohmansah 5 years ago

good idea for your share ..i like it ,, thanks you very much


jamiesweeney profile image

jamiesweeney 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

Very useful hub for practicality.Voted up!


Lou1842 profile image

Lou1842 4 years ago

Great ideas! I'll be using them to get lots of our toys organised in time for Christmas.


kelleyward 4 years ago

Great ideas! I use boxes, crates, shoe boxes, anything I can use and reuse. I also keep the huge can of planter nuts from SAMs and use that to store little counting bears, blocks, and toy cars.


las81071 profile image

las81071 3 years ago

I like to use the reusable tote bags for the Barbies and little accessories.


Johnb320 21 months ago

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Pharmf856 21 months ago

Very nice site!

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