Simple toy storage in our family room

23 September 2019

One of my 2019 goals was to complete our family room – updating the aesthetic and making it function better for our family. We’ve been chipping away at it little by little all year, and I’m happy to say it is just about done!

Our family room is the main play space for our kiddos, and a big part of this goal was finding a better storage solution for their toys. Previously, the toys had been just kind of lined up around the edge of the rug. It was fine, but visually cluttered, and hard for June to put anything away because there really wasn’t an “away.” The before:

A new storage piece was in order. I searched for months and continually came up short (everything was so expensive!). Then, late last year, I spotted the piece below at HomeGoods:

I snapped it up right away. I thought you might like to see how we use it, especially if you, also, don’t have a dedicated play room!

toy storage

This piece stood out to me because it was mostly closed storage, and I wanted the least amount of fuss – a system that looked good on the outside and was easy for our kids to maintain. (This is why I wanted doors, not drawers – it can be hard for a three-year-old to open and close drawers herself!)

On the inside, you’ll see everything has a general “spot,” but things are not “just so” – and that’s great with me!

closed toy storage

Rainbow stacker, rug, and lamp

For example, here’s the lefthand side. On the top left is a stack of our current rotation of puzzles and games, including some chunky puzzles for Shep, June’s Lite Brite, and her favorite matching game. Next to that is a stack of coloring books and loose-leaf paper, with a little caddy of stickers, tape, scissors, a magnetic pad, and other art supplies (markers and crayons are in a bucket on the coffee table).

In the bottom cubby is the Babbler play kit from Lovevery Baby. John’s sisters got it for Shep for his first birthday, and it has been a BIG hit! The toys are Montessori-based, great quality, and perfectly tuned to his developmental age. SUCH a great gift!!

As you can see, everything is pretty loosely organized – but it’s also clear to June where everything lives, so she can easily help put things away.

basket storage

In the middle, we have a basket for Shep-specific toys – this was particularly great when he was really little, because I could easily pull it out and bring it to wherever we were doing tummy time. As I took these pictures, I stopped to switch out a bunch of the toys, since he’s not so little anymore! Current favorites include his xylophone and these cars.

book storage

And of course, BOOKS! We have books throughout the house – in our bedroom, in their bedrooms, in the loft upstairs – but we keep a rotating selection of our favorites here.

magna tiles storage

On the top right, we have general storage for cars, trains, and bulkier toys, like the bus and music cube. Again, it doesn’t look the prettiest, but as these are taken out CONSTANTLY, it’s way more important that they can easily be put back than they look perfect behind closed doors!

On the bottom we have bathroom cups (they are a favorite!), a cash register, and the pride of every toy collection – a big basket of MagnaTiles. Yes, everything everyone says is true – these get played with pretty much daily and are just as fun for Shep to knock over as they are for June to build with. (We also have the less-expensive kind, and they are great, too!)

cloth basket storage

Off to the side, we have a basket for building toys – Legos, wooden blocks, etc. all jumbled together! (This drives my sister nuts, ha!) The other basket is for stuffed animals, and a car play mat is rolled up in the back.

And there you have it! We have toys and books elsewhere in our house, but this is the main stash. It’s a tightly-edited collection, and I continually rotate things in and out as they grow and their interests change. I hope this little peek behind closed doors has been helpful! :)

P.S. Two gals whose toy storage I was inspired by: Rhi and Valerie! Affiliate links are used in this post!

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September 23, 2019 7:35 am

Love it! I was thrilled to see this post up because I’ve been struggling with what to do with our kiddos stuff and coming up with a solution that isn’t crazy expensive but looks nice too! You did such a great job! Looks amazing! Where did your rug come from? It’s gorgeous!

September 24, 2019 12:20 am

Love this post!

September 25, 2019 8:56 am

Love it– thanks for sharing! I would also love to know where the rug and grey-tone basket for Shep’s toys are from. It all looks so put together and welcoming/comfortable at the same time, which is the perfect combination in my book!

September 25, 2019 2:58 pm

Rug twins! I love getting a peek into other people’s toy systems–so interesting to see what works for different families. We majorly simplified our living room toy set-up right before Charlie’s birthday to make space for new things…and as one of my first attempts to Montessori our lives ;)

September 27, 2019 1:53 pm

It looks beautiful, Em! I’m so proud of you for accomplishing this big heart-centered goal too. Xo

October 17, 2020 2:32 am

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