February 8, 2012

Way back when I had my first child and daughter (almost 14 years ago), the word TOYS never really entered the mind. Of course my daughter got lots of fluffy animals, dolls, baby/toddler toys and bits and pieces; however it never really occurred to me that ONE day I would have a house full of toys.

After 14 years and 7 children (yes I have seven kids – 4 girls and 3 boys and in that order); you can imagine the amount of toys this household has accumulated over the years. We have gone from a small corner of the house to an entire ‘playroom’; in fact one would think upon entering this room that it could pass as a kindergarten or pre-school.

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Over the years I have tried many different storage solutions for toys; some have lasted longer than others, and what seemed great ideas at the time; turned out to be a complete waste of money.

Before you continue reading, I want to also point out that today, toys are made to be broken. Nothing is made to last and most toys are “Made in China”. These toys are usually only played with once (Christmas Day or a sibling destroys another’s precious toy) and have to be thrown out the following day. As a parent, you come to realise that even though these toys break often, they also still seem to multiply at rapid rate and before you know it, the toys are out of your control.

So here is the rundown of storage solutions for toys I have actually tried and used over the years:

Plastic Storage Box Containers (with lids)

These I have tried on a number of occasions for toy storage. While they were great in the beginning, what didn’t occur to me was how many other uses they had, such as:

  • Being used as carts, automobiles or trains with a child inside and another pushing/pulling up and down hall ways and all corners of the house.
  • Used as a stage for theatrical productions, musicals and dance parties.
  • For props and even as costumes in these theatricals (dressing as a tortoise or turtle).

All resulted in the containers becoming broken, cracked and/or damaged. This one below is full of puzzles. I dare not remove it from the messy bookcase above and beyond!

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Calico/ Material Cube Bags

I purchased two of these a few years ago, one a Pixar Cars design the other Disney Princesses. Both lasted about a month as these got torn and ripped as their other uses were:

  • Inverted and made into chairs or bean bags.
  • Again used as props or costumes Hiding apparatus, e.g. Jack-In-The-Box
  • The handles were also exceptional for a game tug-a-war or two.

Round ‘Flexible’ Plastic Storage Buckets

These in the beginning were fantastic and I thought I had finally found something that worked. I purchased 6 of these and various toys were stored inside ~ wooden train sets, to cars and trucks, doll house furniture to baby dolls. They were also easy for tidy up time for the children. Unfortunately I was dreadfully mistaken and the downside to these are as follows:

  • They got used as tug boats and row boats
  • Deck or lounge chairs
  • Skipping ropes and even dressing gown cords were tied to the handles and used to pull others around in them.

Note the cracks down either side of the handles…

Mini Garbage Bins – One word GIMMICK!

Stupid me bought 4 of these and at present we still have three and a quarter of them (a red one has a wheel snapped off the bottom).
You can imagine all sorts of fun children can have with these.  Here they are ~ note the red one with the limp!

Playroom Post

As you can see, the above systems are not working. On the other hand I could go to IKEA and buy some great items of furniture and spend more money than necessary. But we already some great pieces of furniture in the playroom (a bookshelf over toybox and a full length book shelf) that I could work with.

Unfortunately the playroom is one area of my home that I am forever trying to keep on top of, but I am determined to go from disorder to organised in the near future!

Please head over to No Excuses! Easy organising for large families as there are many other great organisation ideas, recipes and household hints you might be interested in, otherwise here are a few to get you started:

“Don’t panic, you will get there in the end”

Tiredness, stress and “I just can’t be bothered”

“If you don’t ask, you don’t get”


  • Why do all of those storage solutions look so familiar – I too am a mum to 7 – 4 boys and 3 girls…not in that order…. I have tried it all and failed too… I doubt there is a system that works perfectly but I guess the important thing is that the kids have fun :)

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  • I thought I loved the mini bin idea until one of the kids decided to tip it up to get something from the bottom – and other things had been hidden in it when it was re-packed the time before. No wonder there was ants in that room. On dark carpet the ants didn’t show. Food and drinks banned from that room now. They now have toy boxes and there is supposed to be only certain types in each box.

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  • I love this! Especially since I have the perfect solution for toy storage issues :) http://www.momsterbox.com – Only currently available in South Africa though…

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  • i limit to how many toys my kids can bring out from the toy cupboard each day and make them keep it back or else they will have lesser toys to play tomorrow.

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  • Fantastic in theory.

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  • Your kids sound like they have great imaginations!

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  • yep i know the feeling! we have all these methods and more lol and my children’s baby doll’s are all like that

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  • As soon as I pack them up he takes them out

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  • The storage solutions sound all too familiar, I think I’ve been through all of them too, each time I think I’ve found the solution….. the wheels fall off, sometimes literally lol.

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  • Lots of great ideas to keep in mind.

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  • C’mon ! They are thinking outside the square! Congratulations! They will all be entrepreneurs : )

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  • I have toys stored anywhere I can, old wooden laundry tub, in cupboards, drawers, under beds and under storage sofas and those plastic tubs.

    Photo: Some I’ve stored in the bottom of a hallway cabinet.

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  • I throw the toys in trundles under the bed.

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  • Wow. i thought my house was the only one. happened to me too.

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  • Lots of great ideas, thank you.

    Reply

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