Little children are constantly on the move, looking for the next adventure or something new to play with. This never-ending quest for new experiences usually results in an equally never-ending stream of new toys and games coming into the house. Great! But where on earth do you put them all when they’re not being played with? It calls for some smart storage solutions, so here are a few ideas:
Storage for Favourite Toys
Favourite toys, games and books should be easy to get at so toddlers can reach them by themselves. As well as being practical and helping them towards independence, it makes good sense to organise storage depending on how often a thing is used.
● Baskets or shallow tubs on low shelves are good for keeping together small items such as building bricks or action figures, crayons, or anything else you can categorise. Use primary colours so the shelves and tubs look attractive, and hopefully it will encourage kids to help tidy away after playing too.
● For older children, you could consider a divan or ottoman bed so you have extra storage built in. These are great either for larger play items or for household storage such as bedlinen, which could free up cupboard space for toy storage.
● When you’re trying to encourage reading, invest in a mobile book cart (or devise your own with a box on wheels) that kids can pull or push around the house to find a quiet spot for reading.
Storage for Little-Used Toys
Expensive or larger items won’t necessarily hold a child’s interest any longer than cheaper items, which creates its own storage problem. You don’t want to get rid of costly big toys, but at the same time when they’re underfoot all the time they’re likely to get damaged, or take up space you could put to better use.
Seasonal items such as garden toys and climbing frames fall into this category. A self storage unit could be the answer – it frees up space at home, but lets you keep bigger play things ready for when interest grows again. Putting things out of
sight has the added advantage that when you retrieve them they’ll once again have the novelty factor for the children! Plus they stay clean in self storage, which is far better than letting them rust in the garden over winter.
Finding Hidden Storage for Toys
There are probably lots of little spaces around the house you could use for toy storage with a bit of adaptation and imagination.
● Take the cupboard under the stairs. If you’re lucky enough to have a fairly large space under there, it’s an easy job to hang a few low coat pegs and some narrow shelves to hold smaller toys. Make sure it’s well-lit, and it makes a child-sized cloakroom or somewhere handy for painting aprons and materials or dressing up clothes.
● Another hidden place is down beneath the cabinets in the kitchen. This space is normally blocked off with fixed kickboards, but there’s no rule that says you can’t replace kickboards with hinged or sliding doors and use the space on the floor for games or bats and racquets. Make sure the space is clean and free from damp before you convert it.
● Another area in the kitchen is on the ends of cabinets. Instead of leaving the space blank, why not fix some narrow shelves or hang some hooks? You can keep pots of colouring pencils or other small playthings to keep kids amused at the kitchen table while you’re cooking.
If you can, try and involve kids in storage decisions. Just letting them choose their favourite colours for storage tubs will get them involved, and maybe even encourage them to use their storage and help with tidying up.