Best Way to Organize Toys for Busy Families

Finding the best way to organize toys can be a challenge, especially when it feels like the toy clutter has gotten out of control.

No matter what type of toy you’re stumbling over, it can be frustrating at the very least.

As board games, video games, and other kid’s toys start to accumulate, mom and the rest of the family typically agree it is time to find the best ideas to get them back where they belong in the playroom or kid’s bedroom when not being played with.

Toy Organization Top Pick

Our top pick for the best all-around way to organize toys is stackable containers that offer both open bins and shelves with no drawers to open or close.

This style is perfect for all types of toys, stuffed animals, and books.

The plastic build is sturdy, matches any decor, and is easy to move if you want to change locations.

Also, plastic won’t splinter like wood making it safer for little fingers.

These are the two favorites for this top pick style, and I personally own this exact Joymor and it is an excellent product.

Preview of Ideas

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Last update on 2023-05-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Ideas to Cut Down a Toy Mess in the Living Room and Around the House

In most cases, it is toy clutter that creates toy chaos.

Following are a few simple ideas to overcome the frustration of tripping over lego blocks, toy cars, and everything in between.

1. Limit the number of toys being played with at one time

Once the limit is reached, toys must be put back in their correct place before getting any others out.

This makes it easier to clean up or put away when needed.

A good rule of thumb is to allow two or three toys each, plus a few additional items such as craft supplies and books for your kids’ reading enjoyment.

2. Declutter frequently

Once a month or so, search through the kid’s toys and pull out any that are broken, odds and ends animal pieces or other things from fast food meals, etc.

Donate outgrown toys every six months or so.

Get in the habit of getting rid of one toy when a new one is brought home.

When I donate, I check with local churches first, especially the ones with preschools, to see if they are in need of any of the kid’s toys we are donating.

Next, I contact the local women’s shelters because they often house kids with their mom, and last I go to a donation drop-off center like the Salvation Army or Goodwill.

3. Have fewer toys

Toys are generally more difficult to organize when you have too many, creating a greater need for awesome toy organization ideas.

Having fewer toys is the real secret to keeping your house clutter-free of toys laying around in the living room, bathroom, and what feels like every room in the house.

Have you ever felt that toys were overtaking your house no matter which room you went to?

I can’t stress enough that fewer toys = less mess!

There are several ways to minimize the number of toys:

  • Declutter them regularly
  • Throw out the ones that are broken
  • Get rid of duplicates (this is common after a birthday and holiday)
  • Toss the ones with missing pieces
  • Donate, sell or store the ones your kids have outgrown (if they have younger siblings)
  • Ask family and friends to give non-toy gifts for Christmas or birthday
  • Get rid of decor that matches a themed bedroom (which usually has at least one matching stuffed animal and wall art) when you move on to something different
  • Divide sets of toys and hide part of them in drawers, a bin under the bed, or in a closet, donate them, or add them to a toy rotation schedule so there aren’t so many available at one time (such as blocks, refrigerator magnets, Lego sets, etc.)
  • Quit shopping for toys at dollar stores or garage sales – when they are less expensive we have a tendency to over-buy
  • Graciously decline free toys from friends and family if they are not something you think your kids will really love and play with

4. Establish a toy rotation system

This is one of the best ways to organize kids’ toys when done consistently.

Creating a toy rotation system is a simple solution if you have too many toys, or if you find your child seems to become bored quickly.

If you have ever watched a child with a new toy or board game, they act like heaven was just hand-delivered to them!

On the other hand, when littles play with the same toys day after day, they tend to get bored more easily even though they don’t express it in so many words. Just watching how they lose interest after a few days of getting a new toy is the perfect example.

Establishing a toy rotation system is one of the most fun and effective of all the toy organization ideas you may come across, and it is also a simple process.

If set up correctly, a toy rotation system will minimize the number of toys pushed into a corner or strewn around the house.

If you haven’t heard of it before, toy rotation means you will rotate the number of toys available to play with at any given time.

The items not being used are put away in a place where they are not accessible to the child, such as the garage or under a guest bedroom bed where they don’t typically play.

When the ‘new’ toys come out, the ‘old’ ones are put away.

I have personally found a 4-week rotation (weekly 4 times a month) to be the most effective.

However, every family and child can be different so you just have to use trial and error to find a good rotation schedule between daily, weekly, monthly, or something in between.

Tips to Organize the Toys

There are numerous toy organization ideas you will come across. In fact, these ideas are almost endless.

As a prior school counselor and teacher, and parent, the following are the best organizational ideas I have come across.

Each one will work independently, or you may want to put several together for the ultimate organization in several rooms of your home (not just your child’s bedroom or playroom.)

Once you decide which ideas you want to move forward with, you’re ready to create a plan to complete the task and have your kids playing in their new organized area in no time at all.

1. Give each toy a ‘home’

Keeping toys in order is no different than anything else when it comes to finding each one a ‘home.’

When one is not being used, it should be snuggled into its home waiting for its turn to be chosen.

Not only does this keep the play area looking neat, but it also offers predictability for kids so they know exactly where to find a toy when they want to play with it.

And on top of that, it teaches kids how to be neat and organized when it is time to clean up.

Depending on the layout of your home, you may need to have several places for toys in your home to keep the mess minimal in each room.

Most kids want to play where you are, not off in their room alone.

2. Use containers & bins

The best toy containers use a cube or bin (or several of each,) baskets, plastic containers, DIY shelving, or an under-the-bed organizer just to mention a few.

The typical organizer is made out of pressed wood, natural wood, or plastic. All choices can be functional, it just depends on the playroom or kid’s bedroom decor you want to use.

If shelving is not available in the closet, one idea is to create some, another idea is to get a bookcase to sit inside or outside of it, and yet another choice is to use fabric hanging shelves as an option.

Cube bookcases are also a great choice! They provide style along with the organization.

I love this one that is made specifically for kids!

You can set larger toys on the shelves independently, or use organizing containers and stack several on a shelf together.

3. Use hanging storage

Keeping things off the floor is the best way to utilize all your living areas and push aside the feeling of a ‘messy’ home.

It doesn’t have to take more pieces of furniture to get things in order.

Following are several clever tips for using this type of storage for toys.

One way mentioned above is using hanging shelves in the closet.

Another option is to use hanging mesh space savers, corner toy hammocks (which make excellent stuffed animal storage), or my personal favorite over-the-door shoe organizers (which can be hung about anywhere – not just on a door.)

Another option that can also be a fun (and almost free) project to complete as a family is to build DIY floating shelves to match the playroom decor. They also can make a nice display for special toys or stuffed animals.

With the proper supplies and directions, they look great, utilize wall area, and offer a unique way to organize toys many don’t think of.

This type of shelf is perfect for keeping games and art supplies organized in the playroom.

Hanging Options for Toys

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Floating Bookshelf

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4. Don’t overflow bins or overcrowd shelves

If you overload the organizing containers, it defeats the purpose of organizing from the get-go.

You want your kids to be able to easily find the toys he/she wants to play with and if the bins or containers are overflowing it will do nothing but cause frustration (labels can help with this.)

When kids get frustrated or can’t find what they are looking for, everything is dumped out on the floor to find what seems to be missing, causing a mom to want to pull out her hair.

This is especially true with small toys that fall to the bottom.

Now another mess has been created!

If the toy containers are overflowing, it is time to divide them into smaller categories, donate or sell some of them, or declutter.

Over-the-door shoe organizers are one of the best toy storage ideas most people don’t think of.

The see-through ones are super for little eyes and they don’t take up any extra living area so you can use it for other stuff (or keep it empty!)

5. Make toys easily accessible for your child’s height

When your child gets past the toddler stage, he/she could likely be ready to start choosing what they want to play with.

This is also a great time to teach the of putting toys away before others come out, and using an organized system is the best way to start this positive habit.

If the toys aren’t easily accessible, kids will usually try to find a way to get to them on their own like climbing on a chair or stool.

A great organizer for shorter storage is the 6-cubby kid’s bookcase.

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6. Organize similar toys together 

I call this categorizing similar or related items.

You can do this in several different ways to save time during cleanup.

  1. Group toys that are noisy, the same color, etc.
  2. Group toys that are the same type of toys such as tractors, hot wheels cars, etc.
  3. Group toys that are educational such as puzzles or crayons and color books
  4. Group toys that do similar things such as building which could be blocks, Legos, etc.

My favorite way to group toys together is #2 because typically if kids are playing with trucks (for example) they want several different ones and this way they can all be found together.

7. Get rid of the toy box

Toy boxes have their place for toy storage in only a few instances.

The best storage ideas for a toy box are balls, and larger outdoor-type toys, and they can be good for stuffed animal storage.

If you use a toybox, it may be causing more of a mess than if you didn’t even have it.

Image courtesy of Amazon

Toy boxes do one thing: They get the toys off the floor and hide them . . . temporarily until your child is looking for a specific toy and they are all unloaded back to the floor to get to the bottom and find the specific one they have in their mind.

If you have a toybox in the playroom (or anywhere in the home actually,) my recommendation is to read up on the latest ideas, revamp your toy storage, and opt for several smaller storage bins, baskets, a DIY storage box, drawers, etc.

8. Use simple & age-appropriate labels

If you have gone into very many elementary school classrooms, you likely noticed several spaces with baskets, a bin or two, boxes or bags, or stacks of containers, and each one with its own label specifying what was in it.


Because using labels is a system that works!

You can organize your kid’s toys, color books, and craft supplies in the same way so they are quick and easy to access.

After you have them categorized and put into containers, an image + writing of what is inside the baskets or containers is simple to complete the process. In the long run, you will love the amount of time this will save.

PRO TIP: Using labels that include both a picture of the items in the storage container plus the word is the beginning of teaching your child letter recognition.

9. Establish an age-appropriate organizational system

The best storage ideas are the ones that can be adopted and consistently followed by the whole family.

Whatever toy storage ideas you use, keep them simple enough for kids to understand and be able to follow.

This is the reason I prefer to categorize similar toys with what they actually are rather than as educational or something similar.

A younger child probably does not understand what an ‘educational’ toy is, making it difficult for them to help clean up when it’s time and you start putting similar toys in the same cube, bins, or baskets.

Top Picks

JOYMOR 3-in-1 Kids Toy Storage Organizer with Bins, Children Toy Shelves Bookshelf, Corner Rack, Toddlers Plastic Multi-Layer Shelf for Child's Bedroom Playroom (Green)
  • Organize Your Space★This 3-in-1 toy storage organizer allows for optional storage and for displaying all types of toys, books, dolls, and children's accessories. It fits seamlessly into the baby's...
  • Sturdy and Durable★ Not made of junky wood, the sturdy plastic frame stands up to your teething baby who wants to bite or pull up on everything. Made of HDPE material while rounded edges design for...
  • Large Storage Capacity★ This storage shelves includes a sturdy base plus 6 open-front tote bins. The tray are tilted for easy access and the bars do not bend or drop the bins out easily. Kids can...
  • Easy to Assemble★ This kids’ toy storage can be easily installed and disassembled, no harmful parts, no screws. No need other tools, it can be easily assembled by using the screw or a coin instead...
  • Ideal for All Storage Needs★ This set consists of an organizer, a bookshelf, and a corner rack. You’ll have plenty of organization and storage space for kids' toys, books, and more. The position...

Last update on 2023-05-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

POTBY Kids Toy Storage Organizer, 4 Layer Children Play Collection Shelves, Bookshelf & Corner Rack, with 8 Plastic Drawers Bins, for Girls and Boys in Bedroom Playroom Living Room (Pink)
  • HIGH QUALITY: Kids toy storage organizer is made of HDPE material, safe and environmentally friendly. Rounded corners design to avoid injury, which makes your children more safer....
  • BIG CAPACITY:4 Tier children toy organizer shelf with 8 storage bins, 1 bookshelf and 1 Corner Rack, can store toys, books and other arts in sort, so that your child gradually develops a good habit...
  • OPENING STORAGE DESIGN:Kids toy organizer shelf adopts Opening storage design, makes kids see the toys or books more convenient, and easy to...
  • PERFECT CHOICE : Ergonomic design, children can easily reach the to storage organizer, take an active part in picking and placing, and cultivate good storage habits from an ...
  • EASY to ASSEMBLY & FAST SHIPPING: With only one coin, you can easily assemble the entire kid toy storage organizer cabinet. We ship kid toy organizer from LA and NY to ensure that you can...

Last update on 2023-05-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Mauccau 9-Cube Storage Book Shelf Organizer for Kids Adjustable Bookcase Classroom Organization Storage Cabinet Shelves Unit (Blue)
  • 【ABUNDANT STORAGE SPACE】-----9 shelves in total can store a variety of items. Each Storage Cube Measures 15.8 x 11.7 x 10.9''( L X H X W), provides large storage capacity, Efficiently Satisfying...
  • 【STURDY AND DURABLE】-----This cube storage bookcase is made from high-quality metal, Pipe material is PP and Metal. Constructed Of Durable ABS Connector and High Quality PP Panel Stable, 4 Metal...
  • 【EASY TO ASSEMBLE】-----The bookcase closet can easy installation, Very simple structure, parts are easy to classify, and tool-free assembly, and be repeated disassembly use, eco-friendly PP...
  • 【DIY MODULAR】-----Modular Shape with Simple Structure Allows You to Create Storage Closet in a Variety of Shapes to Fit in Your Personal Taste, This versatile cube organizer apply for rooms from...
  • 【PACKAGE CONTENT】-----1 x Bookcase

Last update on 2023-05-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

MONINXS Hanging Closet Organizer 6-Shelf, Hanging Shelves for Closet with 3 Divisible Drawers & Side Pocket, Linen, 11.4''W x 12''D x 43.3''H, Beige
  • Creates additional large storage space: The MONINXS hanging closet unit measures approximately 11.4” x 12” x 43.3” in size. The hanging storage organizer has 6 compartments, 3 removable...
  • Foldable Closet Hanging Organizer: The fabric hanging closet organizer can be collapsed flat for space-saving when not in use or taken to travel. Easy to carry and install, very practical in car,...
  • High-quality material: The Hanging Closet Organizer is made of durable and thick non-woven, built to last. Each organizer includes 3 removable drawers that can fit inside the unit or can be used...
  • Durable hanging shelf closet : Our hanging closet storage comes with 2 triangle shaped durable steel hooks, and hangs from any closet rod holds up to 58bls in weight. The closet organizer and storages...
  • Easy Installation:The MONINXS closet storage organizer uses the vertical space in your closet to maximize capacity and increase convenience. This hanging shelf is simple and easy to assemble, no...

Last update on 2023-05-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

5 Tier Storage Organizer - 12" X 59" - Hang in Your Children’s Room or Closet for a Fun Way to Organize Kids Toys or Store Gloves, Shawls, Hats and Mittens. Attaches Easily to Any Rod. (Navy Blue)
  • KEEP ORGANIZED: A great way to keep any assortment of items organized and in easy reach.
  • FUN FOR KIDS: Children will enjoy using the organizer to make clean up time fast and easy.
  • NO ASSEMBLY REQUIRED: Attaches to any rod using a strong fastener, no need for any special assembly.
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  • PRODUCT DIMENSIONS: The organizer measures 12 inches X 59 inches; perfect to hang in closets.

Last update on 2023-05-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

mDesign Long Soft Fabric Over Closet Rod Hanging Storage Organizer with 12 Divided Shelves, Side Pockets for Child/Kids Room or Nursery, Store Diapers, Wipes, Lotions, Toys - Cream/White
  • INSTANT ORGANIZATION: It is easy to add convenient custom storage to any closet with this over rod accessory organizer; 12 open compartments, 4 side pockets, and 1 elastic band store and organize...
  • STYLISH STORAGE: This soft storage organizer keeps closet and nursery room clutter under control by storing all of your little one's essentials in one convenient place; Great for bedrooms, play rooms...
  • FUNCTIONAL & VERSATILE: Maximize unused space and create extra storage in any closet; Great for children, tweens, teens and adults; Use these anywhere you want to add a little organization to your...
  • QUALITY CONSTRUCTION: Made of breathable non-woven synthetic fabric; Easy Care - wipe clean with a damp cloth and allow to air dry
  • THOUGHTFULLY SIZED: Each Measures 11.75" x 11.75" x 50" high

Last update on 2023-05-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Costzon 6-Cubby Kids Bookcase w/Cushioned Reading Nook, Multi Purpose Storage Organizer Cabinet Shelf with Soft Cushion and Thick Wood Board for Children Girls & Boys Bedroom Decor Room (Modern White)
  • Abundant Storage Space:6 Cubes in total for a variety of items, with whole size of 40.5" x 12" x 25" can hold items range from pantry items, folding clothes and shoes to books, toys, artworks and...
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  • Upgrade Larger Size: Comparable to the former kids bookcase, this bookcase with reading nook has a larger size, which is available for kids, teenagers or adults. The upgrade larger size bookcase is...
  • Durable Construction& Modern Style: Frame is made of pine wood, it makes the cube sturdy for maximum durability, robust for years of use. And its modern and simple style will be perfect for using in...
  • Super Easily to Assemble: Very simple structure, parts are easy to classify. It is easy to assemble with included screws and the tool, no need any special installing experience.

Last update on 2023-05-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Wallniture Philly Nursery Bookshelf - Floating Book Shelves for Kids Room - 31 Inch Picture Ledge Book Tray Toy Storage Display White Set of 2
  • Fits the Bill: Decorate your kid’s room with these attractive and affordable floating tray shelves, don’t break the bank to utilize your walls efficiently. With this bundle offer, you can...
  • Even Better: The best part is you don’t have to hire a professional to install these picture shelves with ledge , they come fully assembled and ready to use. The installation is a breeze with the...
  • Floating Books: These wall mounted picture ledge shelf is great for many purposes, storing books is one of them. The tray does a lot more than just organizing, the elegant design is perfect for...
  • Easy Decoration: Colorful books, plush toys and collectibles will create an artsy wall decoration. You don’t have to spend hours searching for things. Anything displayed on these shelves will...
  • Charming Design: These tray nursery bookshelves are ingeniously designed to help you decorate your kid’s room with ease. You can beautifully display mini characters and figurines or other...

Last update on 2023-05-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Quick Guide Comparison

Last update on 2023-05-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Final Words

Toy organization doesn’t have to be a continual challenge.

Have fun creating an inviting place for the littles to play and spend their time so that when it is time to clean up they are on your side and know exactly where everything belongs.