As a parent to a five year old it feels as though toys have taken over our entire home. Of course I’m delighted to see Arlo engage with his toys and it’s fabulous to join in with Lego building and car track racing. However, once he is asleep in bed I can’t relax because toys are just everywhere. We also have lots of things now which include small parts and losing one thing can render a toy as useless. Hence the need for some suitable toy storage solutions.
Out of sight
This is certainly the case for me – if things are out of sight then they are out of mind. I used to be a huge fan of cube storage, and would shove everything in to the large boxes to keep it out of view. This worked really well for things like a wooden train set or all of the pieces of a connecting marble run.
This way Arlo can pull out one box and have a complete set ready to go. I even liked to create visual stickers for boxes so he would know what was inside. These do not work so well when you have a box full of random bits and pieces – and now he’s a bit older and a huge fan of constructions toys, we have lots of kits with small parts.
Transparent storage solutions for toys
These Wham boxes are ideal. I have boxes for fidget toy collections and for construction magnetic shapes and arts and craft supplies. I can stack two of these in to one cube space and Arlo can see exactly what’s inside and easily handle the weight of these so he can bring one downstairs at a time to play. I also tend to carry an empty one around with me downstairs to mop up any stray toys and take them back upstairs.
Zip lock bags for puzzles
I hate how packaging for games and puzzles tends to get damaged. In an ideal world you’d be able to preserve the nice square boxes as they’re easy to stack, but in reality jigsaw puzzles in particular tend to be in huge boxes which take up way too much space. I like to take all the pieces out and pop them in to a zip lock pouch. You can cut the front image off the box and then pop these inside the pouch – and then squeeze several pouches on to one of the wham boxes to be more space efficient.
Claiming a grown up space
My lounge resembles a nursery most of the day, however after bedtime I like to be able to relax with no distractions. I was getting quite frustrated with cube storage being practical but not really matching the style I had gone for in the lounge. I was on the lookout for some furniture which would be functional now and offer toy storage solutions but also look great and be able to change function as Arlo grows. I opted for a sideboard from Very’s Home range with three drawers which are great to store paper, worksheets and other random resources as well as cupboards which hold up to four of the wham boxes – not that you would ever know! The perfect new home for the Paw Patrol collection – not quite sure where to hide the football yet though!
Under the bed
I have always been a huge fan of under bed toy storage solutions. I previously also stashed shoes and bedding in wham boxes however Arlo has been pestering me for a “big boy” bed for a while and really wanted a high sleeper. He has also been playing more independently in his bedroom. With a new full size single bed taking up lots of floor space in his bedroom compared to his toddler sized bed I knew I’d have to remove some furniture and lose either cube storage or the bookcase. I was fretting about where all the toys would go and trying to plan in my head a layout to squeeze everything in and give him enough space to play. When you start to pull everything out and realise just how much stuff there is to organise it can be overwhelming.
The Mico Mid Sleeper as a storage solution
This seemed like the ideal toy storage solution for me. It’s a huge piece of furniture with steps adding to the length but offers several functions which were a deciding factor for me. Having the desk on wheels to slide in and out is perfect – and there’s secret storage behind the front sections which Arlo hasn’t discovered yet. Arlo likes to sit and draw and in the future it will be a great space for homework – I have piled several wham boxes and popped a trug of his vehicles behind the desk on either side. I do need to go through the selection of cars and decide which ones to keep, donate and throw away – but that’s a job for the summer holidays. The little shelves at the end of the desk unit are perfect for displaying little treasures. I had plans to organise his Tonie collection here but Arlo swept them all aside to showcase some of his latest Lego builds.
As well as that hidden space the bed features my favourite cube storage shelves. These are actually bigger in size than the rest of my furniture and make a great space for books, toys and anything which can be nicely displayed. I’ve transferred some boxes and books around after having a little clear out and managed to squeeze quite a lot in to these shelves which makes me feel accomplished. I’m not quite Marie Komodo yet though.
For everything else there’s drawers. Three huge ones and three smaller ones hidden in the steps. The jury is out on exactly how I’m going to organise things. For now I’m using one drawer for spare bedding. Then I’m probably going to add more wham boxes in to the bigger drawers to help organise some t shirts, pants and socks so that Arlo can start to get dressed independently. Arlo’s already begun to hide things in the little drawers which are the steps up to bed so maybe he will begin to organise and tidy up his own toys independently in the future!