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It’s a fact of life that, when you have a little kid, relatives and friends will shower that kid with toys. It doesn’t matter how much you vow to live a minimalistic toy lifestyle. If you buy not a single toy for your child, you will still find yourself living in a toy store. You’ll have the huge toys, the tiny toys, the toys with a million parts, the fuzzy toys, the teething toys, and — my personal favorite — the noisy toys. If you’re not prepared to flee and let the toys run amok in your house, then you need storage solutions that work for you and for your kids. Here are some of my current favorites.
Cubbies with Fabric Bins
My husband and I love cubbies like these for our son’s toys. The perfectly-fitted fabric bins are big enough to hold sizable trucks, nesting cups, stuffed animals, balls, and more while not being so big that you’re digging through a bottomless pit when you go to retrieve something.
We opted for a 12-compartment, easily-assembled grid with bins that roughly match the curtains of the room where our son plays. This setup is fantastic for hiding the toys in a room that’s not exclusively used as a playroom. It’s attractive and sturdy while being easily accessible to a one-year-old, who learned a while ago how to pull out a bin to retrieve toys. (He can even reach the books on the top shelf by standing up.)
The bins are easily transportable to the play area or another room if you want to take your truck collection en masse. Plus, it’s much easier to put away 20 balls if you can run around with the bin in your hand while lobbing them in. As a bonus, the top is perfect for storing larger items (like big puzzles) that don’t fit nicely into the bins.
After Christmas, we wound up with a few too many large toys to fit nicely on top of the cubbies, so it was finally time to get a toy box. The toy box is exclusively for big toys — not the tiny things that fit into those cubby bins and would get completely lost in a big box. After way too much research, I finally opted for this incredibly-sturdy and roomy box, which is colored subtly enough that I don’t mind having it in the corner of our family room. My son thinks it’s fantastically fun to open and close the lid, which is hearty enough to handle the wear of his enthusiasm. Plus, the two little bins underneath are slightly wider than our cubbies and can handle some puzzles that wouldn’t fit in the fabric bins.
Fabric Bins on a Bookshelf
Even without a cubby setup, you can still enjoy the benefits of fabric bins, which offer an attractive solution for corralling, organizing, and hiding toys. We found some handled bins that actually match our nursery curtains and were able to line up three of them across a shelf on the nursery bookcase. Currently, they are home to a number of cozy stuffed animals! They’re also great for storing baby blankets, towels, little clothing items, and books.