Looking for kids storage ideas? Get 10 tips for kid-friendly storage throughout your home from this mom of four.
For the first two years of parenthood, while we lived in a tiny Parisian apartment, I thought I had it all figured out. We had no bouncers, swings, or play mats (just a stroller and soft rugs), and we limited all toys to one small box that was stored on the bottom shelf of the living room bookcase. I was convinced that we would never allow ourselves to be surrounded by inordinate amount of primary-colored plastic toys, that we would be minimalists…
And then we moved back to the US and had three more kiddos. And I admit freely that I laugh at my former self.
That said, we do still try very hard not to trip over toys all the time, not to fill our spaces with more than they need, not to have our home feel like a jumbled playground. And a few weeks ago, when I shared my top 10 kid-friendly decorating ideas with grown up style, it struck me that a huge part of having a kid-friendly home that doesn’t feel like a preschool is about having a “home” for all their stuff – preferably one that’s pretty to look at. 😉
Kids Organizing Tips
So here are some fun, practical tips for storage in a home with a bunch of kiddos. You’ll see some overlap with some of the decorating ideas, but that’s to be expected since pretty AND functional storage is the goal.
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- Be selective.
Any discussion of storage has to start with this: we don’t need everything. I’m preaching to myself here, too… I think we all need to be reminded that less is more. That fewer toys allow for creativity of use and outdoor play. That we wear and use only 10% of our things 90% of the time. So be selective! If you only have one shelf for toys, then follow the one-in-one-out rule as you get more. Don’t allow “storage” to be an excuse to hang on to more than you need.
- Build a shoe box.
While none of us need 30 pairs of shoes, we all could use at least one. And we all need a spot to put them. I built this box for our shoes (and I share the plans here), and it not only keeps them hidden but accessible, but it helps when it’s time to go because no one is ever scrambling to find their shoes. This specific box may not be the perfect size/shape for your home, but having a place for shoes is key.
- Assign hooks for bags and jackets.
We don’t have a mudroom in this home, so I requisitioned part of our closet under the stairs to serve that purpose. Each kid has his or her own hook for her bag and another for jackets. A little basket for hats and gloves (for the 3-4 days each year that we need them here in Texas – ha!) and everyone is set.
- Utilize storage ottomans.
I love using ottomans instead of coffee tables, especially when I have a toddler in the home. But storage ottomans could work as extra benches or in place of a love seat, too. Wherever you put them, having easy storage that double as seating in your living or dining areas is a great option for corralling and hiding kids’ toys, art supplies, games, and more. The one in our living room (which is no longer available, but here is a very similar one) has been perfect for baby-friendly toys.
- Store non-breakable dishes within their reach.
I don’t mind washing dishes, but for some reason unloading the dishwasher is one of my least favorite tasks. By storage all our plastic and metal dishes in lower cabinets, my four year old can empty all the non-breakables from the dishwasher. And my toddler has safe things to play with when mom is trying to cook dinner.
- Capitalize on out-of-reach baskets.
See that decorative-looking basket on top of our china cabinet? It’s filled with all our paint, hot glue guns, and glitter – all the art supplies that absolutely require mom’s supervision. And it lives there year round… Lesson: decorative baskets need not be merely decorative. 😉
- Use plenty of in-reach baskets.
Speaking of baskets, I love a pretty, sturdy basket as toy storage. This one lives in our family room and is a receptacle for all toys brought downstairs for the baby to play with. Clean up is a breeze (even the one year old can do it!); it’s handsome on its own; and when I really don’t want to see the toys, I set a blanket on top and it looks like a cute blanket storage basket.
- Repurpose dressers for toys.
My kids outgrow their clothes much too fast to have an entire dresser filled. In fact, my boys not only share a dresser, their bottom drawers are entirely dress-up clothes, not real ones (I should add, though, that they have plenty of hang-up space in their closets).
My older daughter uses her dresser exclusively for toys, as her closet has a couple of built-in drawers that suffice for her clothing. A drawer for dolls, a drawer for coloring books, a drawer for baseball cards (obviously she has older brothers 😉 ), and so on.
- Separate Legos with hardware drawers.
One specific type of storage that has worked in our home is using hardware drawers like these for lego storage. Some sets are all mixed together in the random Lego box, sure, but for the sets that they boys like to build again and again, these little drawers have been a life saver. A little label maker magic, and we’ve got endless hours of organized Lego building fun. Get more details here. These drawers would also be great for beads or other tiny assorted toys.
- Designate a “bookcase.”
Our closet-turned-“reading room” is one of my kids’ favorite places. But even if you don’t have a closet to devote to this, a few wooden crates, a built-in-bookcase, even a set of shelves that your kids can reach are key to developing a love for reading. Having a special spot that houses the kids’ books all in one place helps create that awe and excitement as well as protects your books from being buried under piles of other toys.
And there you have it. I think those are all tips that can be put to use no matter the size of your space, and I hope it helps you to think through some practical, useful systems that could help your home with kiddos stay more organized.