Organizing Theory & Artistry

Ruly Ruth’s Supercool Toy Storage Tips

Where to put all these new Christmas gifts?

In this resting space between Christmas and New Year’s you get a real sense of someone’s personality. Some people are still vacationing and relaxing. Others have already taken down the tree and packed it away and are currently putting down their resolutions and buying new calendars and planners for 2012. In our house, our primary concern is puzzling over where to put all those Christmas toys!! Ruly Ruth (and her King) come to our rescue with some clever solutions.

I am the most disorganized storage person on earth! Once a method is established I can somewhat follow it—but to create it is NOT my forte. Enter my amazing husband–who is the KING of spacial organization! When you have young children, toys are an essential part of childhood, and storing these on a daily basis is a talent and an art.

For a variety of ages, board games are a fabulous way to entertain children. The parts are generally for 3+ year olds, and are colorful and attractive–I love moving my Marine Monopoly tank around the board! For a 2 year old, we dumb it down to counting spaces. But storing this montage of games can be puzzling. Top shelves of hall closets are often used. My amazing husband actually built a coffee table where we remove the two ends to provide abundant storage for our multitude of games. This is not the first of its kind–there are obviously other coffee table storage methods–but this is an elegant solution.

Custom-made game storage table -- open.
Game storage table -- closed. Sleek, clean and the toys are all easy to access when needed.

We love those amazing kids’ storage solutions sold at Walmart and Target that have a wooden shell and cubbies for specially-made bins. We try to segment themed toys into each bin. So for example, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are in one, dolls in another, etc. This way in an ideal world they would pull out one bin at a time. Which is more realistic the older they get–we still have multiple bins out for Emily though. Lots of clean-up practice for both of us!

Toy cubby shelves with pull-out bins.

Another style of toy cubby and bins.

For small Lego parts–this was brilliant on my husband’s part—segmented tool boxes are ideal! TJ’s are about 4″ deep with clear plastic lids–and lots of sections for a variety of Lego sizes! Love that! He can easily see the parts, and divide them based on color, size, function–whatever works for him.

Too many toys making you climb the walls? Let the toys "climb" the walls instead!
An ingenious idea for beautiful big toys is to hang them on the wall—my husband came up with this creation for my son’s ATTE. He does need someone to help him put the hangars under the middle legs–but when not in use it looks like it’s crawling up his wall–a virtual artwork.

An idea for wall hangings, especially as kids get older, is sports equipment. In the above photo, note the baseball bat hanging below the ATTE. And one of our son’s prized airsoft guns, as well as a mini-marshmallow shooter he made at a friend’s birthday party–and for those of you that are old Ed, Edd & Edddy fans–PLANK! This way you get the things kids are passionate about literally surrounding them. I love that!

An airsoft gun cleverly mounted to the wall in a tiny space between doors.

Another ingenious use of otherwise wasted space. "Plank" mounted to the wall in a small space between windows.

The final most amazing piece I have to share in this posting is my husband’s own creation. It’s one-of-a-kind and it’s so cool!!! We had an ancient old Burton snowboard (as in a kid told RJ once when he was riding it “Dude! You boarded back in the DAY!” Yup!) And a skateboard from Walmart that TJ picked out–and RJ made a toy display shelf out of the two–designed and built it himself. The snowboard is the top shelf, a middle wooden shelf, and the skateboard makes the bottom shelf. TJ even often hangs hats off of the wheels!

Repurposed snowboard and skateboard shelves. Awesome!

These amazing creations work for us. They are easily accessible for the kids to play with, yet can be hid away for company and for quiet evenings. I praise my husband’s creativity and ingenuity on a daily basis for his efforts in creating these amazing ideas for our family.

We at Ruly would LOVE to see and hear all of your creative toy storage creations! Please share in the comments. Happy New Year everyone!

–Ruly Ruth