Keeping the toy room clean and organized may be one of the most difficult tasks when it comes to managing the house. If you struggle to keep the kid’s toys under control, you are not alone. Here are a few of the best toy organizers on the market. These organizers are available at major retailers across the country or for purchase online.
While each of these organizers will work will in most homes, we have chosen our favorite in each category. We know that finding the perfect solution for organizing the little one’s toy room can be tough, so here are a few of our favorite ways to tidy up the room quickly. Items marked with an asterisk are particularly ideal for smaller spaces.
Toy Organizers for Stuffed Animals
Iron Toy Barrel (Container Store): The Iron Toy Barrel looks cool and makes it super easy for little ones to help clean up. The rustic style works great in boy or girl rooms and the durable, vinyl-coated iron is rust proof. Kids will enjoy being able to see their stuffed animals so they can quickly find what they are looking for, and you will love the simplicity of being able to toss animals in for faster cleaning. Con: Shorter tots may have trouble getting toys out. Cost: $40. *
Stuffed animal hammocks (Amazon): Stuffed animal hammocks are a classic toy container. They keep animals tucked up and away from the floor. The biggest downside to these is the need for anchors, which put sizable holes in the wall (you will not see unless you need to remove the net entirely). Even the smaller nets hold quite a few animals though, and it serves as both décor and storage. Cost: $12-24. *
Boon Animal Bag: This bag is made of a soft blue material, with a zippered mesh top. Simply stuff the animals into the bag, zip up and use for a chair. You can buy several and create a fun area for kids to roll and play, while their stuffed animals are contained. Fun, easy to use, and easy to clean. The material is breathable too so you do not have to worry about mildew. Because it is clever and dual purpose, this toy organizer gets my vote as best stuffed-animal organizer. Con: You have to buy each bag separately. Cost $20+
Toy Organizers for Arts and Crafts
Infinite Divider Boxes (The Container Store): The Infinite Divider Box looks a bit like a pillbox, except bigger and with more options for storing different items. The cool thing about this particular model is that the ridges in the box allow you to customize the divider to fit exactly what you need. You can make longer rows to store pencils or smaller boxed areas for beads. This is great for beads, buttons, game pieces, paints and other crafty items. While you can get this type of divider at most stores, this particular model lets you adjust the size of the each compartment. It comes in several different sizes. Cons: None.
Cost: $7-$17 *
Cubby Cups (The Land of Nod): This caddy-type organizer is small enough to fit on top of a table, desk or shelf. If you need a little more room to work, you can even hang the Cubby Cups on the wall. There are eight different cups of varying size. The cups are deep enough to hold pens, pencils, scissors or markers but shallow enough that you can easily retrieve paper clips or smaller items. You can also purchase similar items from Amazon or your local office supply shop. Con: Lack of variety in color options.
Cost: $25 *
Arrow Suzie Sidekick Storage Cabinet (Wayfair): I love this option. The larger cabinet provides more room for storing items, but looks clean and cute. It stands at just over 2-feet tall, 14-inches wide and 15- inches deep. It comes with wheels so it is easy to move around and features one top drawer plus a door with three more drawer/shelves inside. Simply for the extra space and the cuteness factor, this organizer gets my favorite vote for arts and crafts storage. Cons: May be a little too big for some toy rooms and it is on the higher price end.
Toy Organizers for Toys with Lots of Pieces
Lego Storage Container (LEGO): This is quite possibly the coolest storage tote ever. If you have a kid that loves Legos, they will certainly love this container. The Lego-look-a like has a lid that pulls off to reveal a large storage compartment. If one is not enough, count yourself lucky! Another cool feature is that these storage units are actually Legos. You can stack and build the storage units themselves. Even if you do not have Legos, these units are a great option for holding small pieces and smaller action figures. Cons: Could be a little tough to open for little hands. Cost: $15 each. *
Tutors Store-all Unit (Target): This unit offers a lot of flexibility because it holds a variety of toys. The unit includes a rolling drawer that slides under three buckets. The large drawer is perfect for bigger toys. The three buckets are great for blocks, dolls and other toys. You can also store a few books atop the whole thing. The unit is just under 3-feet tall and just over 2-feet wide. Con: The only downside is that it may be a bit too small if your kids have many toys. Cost: $100. *
Kid Storage Organizer (Home Depot): The Kid’s Storage Organizer comes with 12 plastic bins in a few different sizes and shapes. These are perfect for most toys (except maybe stuffed animals). The buckets are deep and wide enough that you can store a reasonable amount of toys in each bin. The shelves make it easy to keep the bins organized and up off the floor. There are two different color schemes. The entire set stands about 3-feet tall and just under 3-feet wide. Cons: None. Cost: $55 *
You can also find a version of this toy storage at Sprout, San Francisco. The unit is finished in a non-toxic sealant that does not contain any VOC health hazards. The bins are easy to use. This model is particularly nice because you can adjust the bins to sit up at an angle or lie flat. Additionally, this model offers more flexibility because the dividers are removable which allows you to store larger toys as well as smaller ones. Because of the eco-friendly property and because it offers maximum flexibility this ranks as the best toy organizer on the list. You can stop in at 1828 Union Street @Octavia from 10-7 most days. Cons: Only potential issue I see is difficulty inserting and removing dividers. It is also a bit pricy. Cost: $500.
Here are a few more options for our local San Francisco clients. Each of these stores offer storage options you can use to keep the toys tidy:
• Pottery Barn Kids
While there isn’t a Pottery Barn kids right in San Fran, you can check out their location in Corte Madera, a short 30-minute drive from downtown San Francisco. Located at 1600 Redwood Highway, you can find a variety of kid-centric décor and other items here. The store is open 10-8 Monday through Friday, 10-7 on Saturday and 11-6 on Sunday. You can also order items online at their website.
• Mapamundi Kids
Mapamundi Kids is a toy store located in Castro Street, in the Castro District in the Eureka Valley. They offer cute suitcase-styled storage bins. The store is open from Monday to Saturday from 10.30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (it opens at 10 a.m. on Saturday) and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can reach them by phone at 415-641-6192 or visit their website
• Right Start
You can find the San Francisco location of Right Start at 3435 Sacramento Street, between Walnut St. and Laurel St.; check out their website, for driving directions. You can reach customer service number at 1-888-856-8004.
• Aldea Baby
Aldea Baby is located in the Mission District at 890 Valencia St. near the 20th street intersection. Their store is open from Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit their website to see a few of their storage options or you call them at 866.402.5332
Creating your Own Storage System
If the idea of purchasing a generic toy storage unit does not work for you, you may consider creating your own storage system. Some parents do this by purchasing clear bins and rotating toys every few weeks. Simply store the bins of unused toys on a reachable shelf and rotate them regularly to give your child variety without cluttering up extra space. You may also consider purchasing a trunk and decorating to your child’s taste. Allow your child to keep toys that fit in the trunk.
Donate to local charities
One more way to get rid of toy clutter is to give it away. Consider donating new or lightly used toys, stuffed animals and books. This lets you clear out some space in your home while providing toys to less fortunate kids. You can find local programs via Google or through Charity Navigator, a comprehensive, searchable listing of charities in the United States.
Residents in San Francisco might consider one of the following:
• San Francisco Fire Fighters Toy Program:
2225 Jerrold Ave
San Francisco, CA 94124
• San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center
1757 Waller Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
• Samaritan House San Mateo
4031 Pacific Blvd., San Mateo, CA 94403
Hours: Mon-Fri, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
• Benioff Children’s Hospitals Foundation
UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals Foundation
2201 Broadway, Suite 600
Oakland, CA 94612-3017