How to store kids toys

As a naturally messy person, but someone who can feel claustrophobic very quickly around clutter I find kids toys difficult to deal with. We are at that stage in life where, given the ages of our kids (2 and 1), we have A LOT of toys. We are incredibly lucky that people have passed on or bought beautiful things for our children and I certainly want our kids to enjoy playing with the items, and to get as much use out of them as possible, but I just can’t quite deal with all of the toys out all of the time.

We are trying to encourage the kids, Ewan especially, to tidy up their toys before he gets more out. It’s not quite working yet, but I’m sure it will…eventually!

The biggest thing we proactively do is clear out. If something is broken and can’t be fixed it goes in the bin. If it’s not being played with it gets donated to a charity shop. Despite this, with two children very close in age, each birthday and Christmas brings more and more toys and so I’ve tried to find solutions that mean we manage to keep everything neat, tidy and (important to me!) looking toy free!

Here are my best solutions:

1. The toy box

This is my ultimate go to for big, bulky items. We’re super lucky that we have room behind the armchair for this toy box so we have a great amount of storage space, without impacting much on the look and feel of the room.

It’s the Ikea HOL and we used to use it to store spare bedding, but it’s definitely found it’s true calling in life!

2. Under sofa storage

I’m quite fussy about this, because if it was a solution for everything then it would get messy, but I store all of the playmats (we have a few!) under the sofa. This means they’re easily accessible when Ewan wants to get some cars out and drive them around on the ‘road’ but they’re not scattered all around my living room

3. Kallax

I once saw a post that say ‘Are you even a parent if you don’t Kallax?’. Offensive tone aside, I know so many parents who have these storage squares from Ikea. In fact, I was adamant I wasn’t going to be one of them. I spent ages searching for sideboard solutions for this space, and when the two I was most drawn to were both Kallax units, I admitted defeat.

What’s brilliant about these (other than the fact they come in different sizes, with different boxes and accessories) is the fact that I can sort through the toys. We have one box with the dressing up items, one with the cars and diggers, one with the play fruit and pans, one with the train set… I’ve found that having less choice means the kids stay more engaged playing, so splitting the toys up like this and letting them have one box at a time means they enjoy playing so much more.

4. Bath toy box

Our en-suite is the only bath in the house, and getting it finished was such a major hurdle for us that the last thing I wanted to do was fill it full of toys. The boys both love playing in the bath though, so a waterproof storage box was the perfect solution.

The kids tip the toys into the bath, and when they’re done I scoop them back into the box and leave them to drain. Then I can just tuck the box away behind the bath when they’re all dry and enjoy my adult bathroom again!

5. Trailer

We were bought this beautiful trailer from Plan Toys when Ewan was a baby. We’ve used it for lots of different things, but at the moment we use it to store books. The majority of the books we have are in the Nursery, but we keep a few downstairs as it’s where we spend most of our time. This way they stay nice and neat but we get to enjoy them. It’s small enough to tuck it out of sight behind a sofa when we want to too.

6. Dens

We inadvertently stumbled across this one when a friend bought us a pop up tent for Christmas. At first I thought I’d save it for summer but I very quickly realised it’s a neat place to put the toys that are the absolute favourite and constantly out.

If we ever want to put it away, it collapses and fits under the sofas again really easily.

We have a similar set up with the bedroom – a Tipi that was intended as a reading corner, but is actually a brilliant place to hide some soft toys!

7. Play Pouch

These things are amazing. They’re a drawstring bag that opens out into a play mat. Ours is filled with duplo. Not only does it do a good job of containing the mess (those bricks get everywhere) but it looks beautiful too (they come in lots of different colours). It’s brilliant for taking away on holiday, but I’m also really happy to have it out on display. You can get them here if you’re interested.

So those are my top storage solutions, do you have any tips and hacks of your own?