Our No-Fail System for Organizing Toys

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Toys... they can provide so much fun for little ones, but can also get easily out of hand. When toys are unorganized and messy throughout the house, what should be a fun environment can turn into the opposite. Here is our no fail way to create a home for all toy-related items and how to get everyone in the household on board with the new systems.


The one common denominator with every toy space Reset Your Nest has organized is that when kids come in after we are about 80% through, they get so excited they start playing with everything. Every single client has told me that having an organized play space has brought new life to their toys. When kids are overwhelmed with clutter, play isn’t as much fun. When their options are limited and contained, it is much more fun to pull out an activity, game, or toy and play with it the way it was meant to be played with.


If you have a playroom or toy closet, this post is all about how to tackle that particular space. If your toys are stored throughout the house, then bring them all together, or bring them together in each space where you like to keep them. Having all like items together so you can look at an entire category at one time helps when making decisions and creating systems.

toy room organization

How to Organize Toys

Step 1: Edit and sort

Are there toys that are broken, missing pieces, never played with, or duplicates? Ask yourself the same question with dress-ups, stuffed animals, and anything else toy-related. Separate toys into categories as you go. It’s usually easier to pare down on stuffed animals when you can see all of them in one spot, or recognize the toys that hardly get played with when next to the toys that are being pulled out on the daily. Did your child receive that huge obnoxious plastic toy as a gift or did you get it for a steal at a garage sale? I am giving you permission to let it go. Kids can have just as much fun with toys that are smaller and able to be contained as with big elaborate toys. Really think about the value that the toy is adding to your child’s creativity and at-home playtime and decide which items you want taking up space.


It is hard to let go of different toys because it feels like you are letting go of those fun stages in your kids’ life, but be honest with yourself about your current stage of life and what has been outgrown. We just let go of our play kitchen and accompanying little table and chairs. It was probably the most loved toy we’ve ever had and we got years of pretend play and fun out of it. But, the bottom line is that my kids are now at an age where they are just too big (like actually can’t sit at the little table) and they really don’t use it anymore. After having a conversation with my kids and really looking at the space it was taking up, we decided that we’d rather use the space it was taking up for a popcorn machine in our movie-watching area. Sometimes it is easier to hold onto something because we’ve always had it, but really think about what gets played with. Only keep items that are continuing to add value to your home and family.


As you edit, sort by type of toy. Some categories we’ve created for clients in the past are:

  • Legos

  • Blocks, magnatiles

  • Balls

  • Cars, trains, tracks

  • Dolls and figurines

  • Costumes and dress-up clothes

  • Instruments

  • Pretend play

  • Stuffed animals


Step 2: Contain and label

Use the containers that make the most sense in your space. If you have a toy closet, use bins that maximize the depth. They also set clear boundaries. If you decide what container will be used to hold squishies, then if the container is overflowing, that is a signal that it is time to make an edit. Get rid of any packaging you have been holding onto and commit to a consistent aesthetic.


Our Go-To Containers for Toy Organization

I love using the OUR boxes from The Container Store because they are lidded and clear and so easy to see what is inside even for non-readers. Their under the bed boxes are great for storing toys under beds.


Multipurpose bins are also a clear option if you want toys to be easy to grab with no lid.


White bins with handles are super durable, open for easy grabbing, and opaque so they hide the mess. Nordic Bins are also opaque but have the ability to stack.




Cube Storage

If you have a storage unit holding toys, cube storage is one of my favorite ways to store toys (tip: buy the cube shelves that have 13” cubes, not 11” cubes. There are so many reasons why I feel strongly about this, just trust me). Some of my favorite products that look great in cube storage are:

  • Wood Crates

  • Fabric cube bins. These don’t hold up incredibly well with heavy items or rough play, but they come in a ton of cute options and are affordable enough that if they need to be rotated through every year or two, I think they are still worth it.

  • Shimo bins. These look so great in cube storage. Either 3 small, 2 medium, or 1 large fill the space of a cube shelf perfectly and are a great option if you want open bins.

  • Wave and y-weave bins. I love this line from target. They come in lots of sizes and colors, and are budget friendly and durable.

  • Rope baskets. If you find that there are folds in your rope basket (this is especially common with rope baskets from Amazon), spray it liberally with water and stuff it as full as you can with pillows and blankets. Leave it for 24-48 hours and then come back to it. It should have improved its shape and look the way you want it to.




Get Creative

There are some other toys that can be tricky to store. Here are some options for each!


Stuffed animals can take up a lot of space. Here are some options if you have a lot of stuffed animals:

  • storage ottoman

  • extra big basket or hamper

  • hanging hammock/net (note: these can look busy so I would only hang this inside of a closet)

  • bean bag cover where you fill the bean bag with stuffed animals

  • Do you have a play tent or house? Maybe all the stuffed animals can live there and when they don’t comfortably fit, that is when your child will know it is time to edit.



Dress-ups: Hang hooks or a small clothing rack for easy hanging. Nerf Guns: Hang a pot holder rack with s hooks and hang bulky nerf guns on the wall. Another Nerf gun idea is to use a peg board. Use zipper pouches or photo boxes to organize tiny toys that get lost or buried. Bulky toys like play guitars, giant nerf guns, or other toys can be placed in a large floor basket.




We also have an entire blog post dedicated to LEGO storage HERE.


Step 3: Maintenance

Make sure everyone knows where things go. You can use clip art or pictures of items instead of written labels if you have non-readers. Do a walk-through when everything is put away and ask for input. If everyone agrees that the new system will work for them, then there are no excuses. See this beautiful before and after of a toy closet - this client's family was able to maintain this!


toy closet organization



Another tip I use for maintenance is the one in, one out rule. I’ve talked about this principle with clothing, but it is a great one to practice with toys. Did your child get a new baby doll to replace the one whose leg is missing and the head has sharpie all over it? Let go of the old one.


Establish ground rules, such as only one bin of toys out at a time or nightly clean up as a family. Also, consider setting aside a bin designated for donations. If there is a toy that continually causes problems (ie. never gets put away properly), is broken, or just never gets played with, you can put the toy here as a holding place until you make your next trip to the donation center.


We all have different expectations as to what toy storage in our homes will look like. More variables exist in this area than any other: house layout and size, kid ages, number of kids, kid interests, etc. Ask yourself: How do you want to use the space? and… What is the intention of the space? If your goal is to create a space where your children can play independently and creatively, focus on what will help them do that more than all the stuff you are trying to fit in.




Jen Martin is the founder of Reset Your Nest, Utah's premier home organization business. At Reset Your Nest we believe pantries should be just as beautiful as living spaces, and living spaces just as functional as pantries. To schedule a free consultation with Reset Your Nest, click HERE. Make sure to subscribe to the Reset Your Nest blog for new posts in your inbox, and follow Reset Your Nest on Instagram for organizational tips and tricks.



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