Here’s a fun fact for you. In 2014 the toy industry in the UK was valued at three billion pounds. Yes, three billion. This might seem an enormous figure, but if you’ve ever stood staring vacantly at the contents of your child’s toy boxes trickling across the floor and down the stairwell, it might seem slightly easier to fathom. Where do they all come from? Eager to proffer some suggestions about how to deal with an ever-expanding toy cupboard, your friendly writers here at The Box Room have a few toy storage ideas for you.
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1. Organise by category
Image via dreamstodestinydesignco.com
This might seem like a no-brainer, but sorting toys by type really does help keep things neat. It also makes it easy for the kids to clear away by themselves and find what they want when they start tugging at your ankles for that specific toy they may or may not have seen last Tuesday. If space is an issue, having a visible limit can be useful too: if the lid won’t close you can reasonably argue that there’s no more room. As toy storage goes, it certainly beats shoving everything into a cupboard and hoping for the best.
2. Take a lesson from nurseries: rotate
Ever noticed how the best playgroups and children’s centres set out their rooms? Rather than have ALL available playthings out at any one time, they tend to bring out a more limited selection. The kids aren’t then overwhelmed by choice and they’re also tricked into thinking there are always new things to play with. If you’ve got a lot of toys, try keeping some out of kiddie sight lines and rotate on a weekly basis. This won’t make the volume of toys in your place any more manageable, but if they’re not obviously out then that’s got to help, right? If you’re not sure exactly how to approach the great rotate, here’s a simple-to-follow method to set you on your way.
3. Make storage part of the game
Image via gltc.co.uk
When space is short, try toy storage solutions that can be played with. Most storage containers do, after all, have a flat surface on them, so why not make use of them as a play area?
4. Double up
Image via creativesupergirl.com
This is the kind of thing we love. Do you have a kid who is hankering for a beanbag who also happens to have stuffed toys oozing from every conceivable surface, nook and cranny? Get a beanbag cover and fill it with all those aforementioned cuddly critters. An instant floor cushion and a classic ‘why didn’t I think of this?’ moment.
5. Less is more, if that’s your thing
Image via feedingthesoil.com
Montessori education places a high value on children being independent and empowered to choose their own diversions. In terms of toys this means keeping them at an age-appropriate height. If your child can reach everything they need, they can also put back everything they’ve used. Another reason to keep things streamlined and compartmentalised: they’ll learn the value of knowing where things are. Maybe. Even if the carefully curated minimalist toy area isn’t your thing, there’s no denying that simple shelves or units like the one here (an Ikea staple) are sturdy, bomb-proof and straightforward. Oh, and they won’t break the bank, either.
6. Don’t underestimate the play value of a cardboard box
Image via tinkerlab.com
OK, this won’t help with the expansive clutter, but if you’re buying new toys it might be worth heeding what various play experts suggest, which is that the less specific a toy is, the greater the play experience. That might explain why Lego never fails to be a hit, why children never seem to tire of stacking stuff on top of stuff and why the cardboard box those expensive toys get delivered in seems to get used more than said expensive toy. The more open-ended a toy is, the more imagination your child will use and thus the fewer toys they may need. Well, in theory, at least…
7. Use empty space
Image via thebooandtheboy.com
Who hasn’t had a yearning to winch things down from the ceiling at one time or another? We think this one might be as much to do with the parent’s inner child than their actual child…
8. Pack away toys they’re not yet ready for and those they’ve outgrown
If your child is now discussing the finer points of tractor mechanisms, chances are the teething rattle that’s kicking around the living room isn’t in daily use any longer. Probably time to have a sort out, then. As you might organise toys by type, also sort them by age appropriateness. Toys suitable from birth to six months may easily fit into a small container, which can be stored away until it’s needed and, similarly, if you’ve got toys which they aren’t quite ready for, keep them on standby until the time comes.
You may have room in a cupboard for these extra boxes, but if you don’t, there are options like Boxman, the self-storage company with a difference, who will deliver boxes to your home within a matter of hours and then whisk them away again once you’ve filled them. What’s more, everything is kept track of digitally, making it easier than pie to get it back again if it turns out that rattle has a more sophisticated function after all.