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Kids may be small, but they sure know how to fill a playroom. Whether with noise, laughter, personality or just plain stuff, children take up a lot of space.
You may sometimes despair of ever achieving calm amidst the chaos, and resort to piling toys, books, Legos and more into the closet or into undifferentiated boxes, or just leave them strewn across the floor.
And somehow all those tiny toys all come with a plethora of tiny parts, which all have an uncanny ability to find the bottom of your foot in the middle of the night. There is no ruder awakening than treading on a piece of Lego!
But fear not – there are tons of simple DIY playroom storage ideas that can bring order to chaos and organization to even the most toy-filled room.
Whether your challenge is books, Barbies or matchbox cars, or a stuffed toy menagerie that rivals the San Diego Zoo, there are toy storage ideas for your skill level and budget. Some involve upcycling or repurposing standard items around the house.
Other kids playroom organization projects are creative fusions of simple objects into something new and useful. Only a few really require any carpentry or significant DIY experience.
So take heart and take up your glue gun! You and your kids will love these toy room ideas. Quite a few can actually be done as joint parent-child projects, giving you and your kid a fun activity to do together, and letting your child invest a little of him or herself in the finished product.
We’ll work through the projects in topical order, from books to cars to stuffed toys, Legos etc. Then, we’ll finish with a few general and specialty storage concept. Whether you need a simple basket system or a fabulous dress up closet, there is something to solve all of your toy storage challenges.
Barbies have given children the opportunity to use their imagination for decades. At this point, the amount of different dolls is vast and amazing. And there are even more accessories.
More books = better! However, more books also means more book storage organization. These projects let you make something special out of your child’s library.
1. Playroom Library
Image from The Crafty Woman
You don’t need a huge house or mad carpentry skills to build a library. It’s a simple matter of building shelves into the wall or on the back of a door if you don’t have the wall space.
It’s a very inexpensive project and takes only a few hours. Learn how at The Crafty Woman.
2. Wood Crate Bookcase
Image from The Pleated Poppy
Crates are perhaps the most useful single item for a DIYer. They are inexpensive, easy to find, can be dressed up or down, and used in a practically infinite number of ways.
In this case, the crates are simply stained and painted, then arranged in a useful and attractive combination of shelving units. You can anchor them together, and/or anchor them to a wall, or leave them loose and stacked for easy rearrangement if your children are older. Find out how at The Pleated Poppy.
3. Reading Room
Here’s something truly spectacular and creative. Built in bookcases can be challenging to make, but you can also keep them to simple shelves or use pre-made pieces to construct your own unique shelving unit.
What takes this toddler playroom idea to the next level are the details that create a theme – using light blue paint on the walls for the sky, and a green “grass” carpet or throw rug. Learn how at Fun At Home with Kids.
4. Half crate book storage
Image from I Heart Organizing.
Same great crate song, different verse. In this case, the crates are cut in half, then attached to the wall to make terrific children’s book storage.
All it takes are a few crates, a table saw, and some wall hanging brackets. Full details at I Heart Organizing.
If any toy needs to be contained to keep it from drowning the entire house, it’s Lego. Here’s a few ways to keep the little bricks in check.
5. Adjustable Height DIY Lego Table and Storage Unit
Image from That Mommy Blog
This brilliant solution combines both Lego storage and an adjustable-height table top for play time. Basically, the project cannibalizes a standard storage system, and adds a few planks of wood.
It’s up to you (and your child!) to bring it to life with paint, stickers, and whimsy. It will serve you for years as the tabletop shelf can be raised as your child grows. That Mommy Blog has a tutorial.
6. Double Trestle Play Table with Storage
Image from Shanty 2 Chic
Much like the previous project, this adapts existing components to make them just right for you and your family. In this case, this brings together two play tables to create one larger piece of kids’ furniture, complete with storage.
All for just two hours and around $50! Learn more at Ana White.
Ever feel like you actually, literally live in a zoo? Fortunately, the right storage solution will keep all the stuffed animals corralled while making the most of the cute factor of a herd of tiny, plush critters.
7. Stuffed Animal Planter
Image via DIY Inspired
This is a fantastic way to reuse an extra planter. Or, you can buy one quite cheaply at any plant nursery or home good store.
Embellish and paint it for a fantasy look, or leave it plain. Hang it from the ceiling, and the floor magically becomes clear of fuzzy beasties! Check out DIY Inspired for further detail.
8. Stuffed Animal Swing Storage
Image via It’s Always Autumn
Similarly, a swing or even a hammock can accomplish the same purpose just as easily. Like the planter, it takes hardly any time at all, costs very little, and can be customized to delight you and your child.
Plus, again, magically, clear floors and room to walk! See It’s Always Autumn for inspiration.
9. Zoo-Themed Stuffed Animal Storage
Image from The Keeper of the Cheerios
You can build your own shelving system, or adapt a purchased unit. The key concept is to add an enclosure system.
In this case, it cleverly employs black bungee cords for a soft, flexible, hazard-free system of “bars.” The Keeper of the Cheerios covers how.
10. Stuffed Animal Chair
Image via Googie Momma
This terrific idea not only clears up the stuffed toy flocks, but doubles as a piece of playroom storage furniture – unofficially dubbed a S.A.C. or Stuffed Animal Chair. Essentially, it’s a bean bag that has stuffed animals as filling rather than little beads.
If you’re an accomplished sewer, you can make it entirely from extra bits of cloth, or purchase a bolt expressly for the chair to make it a little simpler. Googie Momma has a nice tutorial for the standard SAC, and Thread Riding Hood shows it in full colorful whimsy!
These are perhaps even more hazardous than Legos. Matchbox cars end up in the strangest places scattered through the house – but if you can make storing them fun as well as functional, you are more than halfway to sanity!
11. Magnetic Car Storage
This is ridiculously simple, as well as incredibly cool. All you need to do is mount a magnetic knife strip to the wall. Voila! Space-saving, foot-saving storage of metal cars! See it in detail at Bob Vila.
12. Matchbox Car Garage
Image from A Lo and Behold Life
A shoe rack can easily be converted into a wall garage by customizing the spacing between each shelf. It’s really just a modification project, and requires only a pencil and screwdriver.
Let your kids decorate the finished product and you’ve got a unique, useful storage unit. The full project is at A Lo and Behold Life.
We’ll throw everything else in this category – and the good news is that a wide range of toys can be stored together, out of the way, simply and for little to no cost.
13. Storage Crates Attached to Walls
Image from Hometalk
There is no praise high enough for storage bins or crates. In this case, attaching them to the wall gets them off the floor and out of the way, displays books or toys, and creates visual interest in the room rather than a cluttered mess. Hometalk will walk you through this great small playroom idea.
14. Clear Cinch Pouch Toy Holder
Image via Make It, Love It
The idea is similar to the S.A.C. except smaller and good for any and all toys. Plus, if you make it of clear vinyl, it also allows a peak into the contents to make finding the right toy at the right time easier.
It does require some sewing skills and a “leeetle” math (sorting out the circumference vs. diameter of the bag, basically) but is certainly straightforward enough for any but the most beginning sewer. Learn more at Make It, Love It.
15. Overdoor Shoe Barbie Organizer
Image from A Girl and a Glue Gun
A repurposed overdoor shoe organizer is terrific to hold Barbies, or any other small dolls (Bratz, Prettie Girls, action figures, superheroes… you name it.) Most shoe holders aren’t sized correctly, so this project takes you through making one completely from scratch. See A Girl and a Glue Gun for details.
16. Labeled Playroom Baskets
Image from I Heart Organizing
Make generic toy organization delightful with painted and labeled baskets. By using pictures or drawings of the objects, perhaps with the word underneath, it makes it easy for even a young child to know where to find (and where to return!) their toys. Get inspiration at I Heart Organizing.
17. Laundry Basket Dresser
Image from Being Brook
This is both clever and simple – these laundry baskets slide in and out of their assigned spots, and can be labeled with words and/or pictures just like the baskets.
It can also be used as a clothes dresser of course. Learn how at Being Brook.
18. Bucket Storage
Image via Domestic Charm
Another delightful variation on the basic storage theme, this incorporates plastic or metal buckets to serve the same purpose. Like the laundry dresser and organizer baskets, this can be customized and configured exactly to your needs, is far less expensive than most children’s furniture, and allows your child to personalize and make it their own. Domestic Charm will tell you how.
19. Toy Chest with Seating
Image from Oh Everything Handmade
There are certainly plenty of toy chests to buy. But many are expensive, or ugly, or the wrong size….or all three!
With these simple plans, you can build your own and decorate it to delight your child, whether that means adding their name, flowers, colorful paint, or all of the above. Oh Everything Handmade walks you through it.
20. Rolling Under Bed Storage
Under bed storage is a great way to use all the space in a room. With this project, you can inexpensively add this feature to any bed – how inexpensive? Well, Jenna Burger can show you how for less than $10 a drawer.
21. Game Board Storage Art
Image from Infarrantly Creative
Game boards can be a huge hassle, or a great piece of art. Seriously!
Turning them into wall art gets them off the floor, keeps all the pieces together, and adds a fantastic, unique touch to a room. All you need to do is build a frame and hang. Get the details at Infarrantly Creative.
22. Bathtub Toy Storage
Image from Frugal Freebies
Branching out a little from the playroom, let’s look at bath toys. Rather than leaving them in the tub, or hauling them from one room to the next, use a simple spring-loaded shower curtain rod and a few baskets to keep them all together and out of the way.
Just keep the baskets plastic or metal – the splash zone is not the spot for lovely wicker. See the tutorial at Frugal Freebies.
23. Dress Up Closest
Image from A Turtle’s Life for Me
Designed to delight kids both little and grown, this adapts an unused dresser into something fantastic. Just remove the drawers, and add a hanging rack.
You can customize with paint, hooks for jewelry and hats, or anything else your little one incorporates into their costumes. A Turtle’s Life For Me breaks down and explains each step.
24. Outdoor Toy Storage
Image from Rambling Renovators
Keep outdoor toys out of the weather and out of the way with this handy little project. Using easily found or cheaply purchased components, you can build an entire outdoor toy station that does exactly what you need it to – just mix and match a table with buckets, pails, and other weatherproof containers. See an example at Rambling Renovators.
25. Overhead Pulley System
Image via Du Cote De Chez Vous/Apartment Therapy
Finally, here is the white whale of toy organization – an overhead pulley system. It’s featured in a range of articles, including Apartment Therapy all referencing back to a French site, Du Cote De Chez Vous – which no longer carries the post! So… no tutorials exist just yet… will you be the one to break this down for us all? Please share if you do!
Truly, toy storage can be fun for you and your child. Work together and you’ll be amazed at the ideas kids have when given the challenge of organizing their own stuff. It turns a chore into an activity, and clutter into creativity.