Weigh in: How do you store the tiniest toys in your child’s playroom

Reader Stephanie is in the process of making over her children’s playroom and wrote to me asking for some organizing help. She is specifically having problems finding ways to store those small, easily misplaced, choke-able pieces of games and toys. She has tried using zip-top bags with very little success and wants a more visually pleasing solution.

I sent her some suggestions, which I’ve listed below, but thought this would be a great question to pose to our readers. How do you recommend storing the tiniest toys in your child’s playroom?

My suggestions:

Now it’s your turn. Tell us your suggestions for Stephanie in the comments.

58 Comments for “Weigh in: How do you store the tiniest toys in your child’s playroom”

  1. posted by Stephanie on

    WOW!! Thank you all so much for your suggestions! I am now armed and ready to tackle the toys.
    I wanted to add that I agree with many of the comments regarding playrooms (despite having just refinishing ours). Over the years I’ve instituted a couple of routines that have helped keeping the toys from overwhelming us and I plan to keep in place even with this mega move to the basement (hopefully).
    My kids and I routinely go through all the toys after birthdays, holidays – everything gets pulled out. Anything that’s a duplicate I ask twice.. do you reallly need that? Anything broken, missing pieces gets “lost” … oops! We also have a toy “gremlin” who regularly eats toys that are not put away at night (I’m sure that’ll come up at some therapy session but oh well…)
    Anyway, great suggestions! thank you!

  2. posted by Kalani on

    A lot of people have mentioned the tacklebox or the toolbox or the caboodle (essentially the same thing)– I want to re-state how awesome these types of things are for collections of different-sized items, especially the kind with little tiered trays that slide up as you open them (not the nesting trays, but the kind attached to the box). You can close them shut and the pieces don’t fall out. Yes, there’s a lid, but when you open the lid, voila! all the little trays line up and you can see all your toys. We used to store our Legos in boxes like these– always plastic, of course– they’re cheaper and lighter than the metal ones and are more kid-friendly. They have multiple-sized compartments for different blocks, you can see everything easily, you haul all your legos out of the closet at once when you’re playing, you can take out just what you need from the box for that thing you’re building, and you can lock it all up and stack it in your closet when it’s time to put it all away. I bet you my Legos are still all in those toolboxes in my parents’ house, waiting for my future kids to come play with them. They’re not clutter, they’re awesome boxes of potential. :)

  3. posted by Carolyn on

    Small, clear containers with lids could be useful. Otherwise, some nice woven or fabric covered boxes/baskets would look lovely. Supervision of small items would also make sense if you want to prevent your child from a potential choking hazard.
    Any child that has their own playroom is very lucky indeed! Our playroom is called the living room! :)

  4. posted by Leslie on

    Don’t forget the humble baggie … they come in many sizes … they close can can fit into lots of different types of spaces … not glamorous but they work!

  5. posted by Maria on

    Really useful boxes!!

    Love those things, I got mine from staples.

    They come in lots of colors and sizes are stackable and they lock so your kid can throw/drop the box on the floor and not end up with little pieces flying everywhere. The locks are not too hard to open close even my 3 year old does it.

  6. posted by cher on

    I know I am late to this thread, but I am a great believer in sorting by TYPE of toy– all the playmobil, all the legos, all the poly pockets, and not getting bogged down in sorting little pieces. It’s not how kids play, in my experience.
    For the “other” category of small cool objects, birthday party gift bag loot, etc, we have one galvanized bin and she’s allowed to fill it up. When it is overflowing, it’s time to make some choices. Works for us.
    Letting my daughter decide when she is “done” with a toy and is ready to give it away to let someone else have a turn has given her a start at becoming a lifelong Declutterer! She’s needed coaching, but it’s up to her, and it has kept us from being overrun with STUFF.

  7. posted by Sally on

    We have too many people with ADD in this family to deal with anything that has lids, snaps, covers, or involves any extra steps whatsoever. If it isn’t REALLY easy to put away, we won’t do it. I wasted $$$$ for years buying little containers and organizers but we wouldn’t actually put stuff in them. Even boxes with attached lids were apparently too complex.

    The best solution I have found for tiny toys or craft supplies are clear glass or plastic jars from the recycling bin. No lids, because we won’t take the lid off to put the thing in the jar, or else we won’t put the lid back on. The jars are clear, so you can see at a glance what is in it and if we need to replenish our supply of erasers or buttons or whatever; there is no lid to deal with; and they actually look rather nice sitting on the shelf filled with colorful contents. I put labels on them for the older kids who can read; you could do simple pictures for the younger kids.

    We also use the plastic food containers (sans lids) and it is a good way to declutter your food container cabinet of all the ones missing their lids.

    I wish I had figured out this system ten years ago, I spent a ton of money on organizing products that were designed for non-ADD people and didn’t work for us.

  8. posted by Michelle Perrelli on

    I found a large selection of plastic bins at a local dollar store. It cost about half the price of the bins at bigger retailers. Although not as sturdy they do the trick.

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