The U.S. toy market is a $21 billion industry. That’s a lot of toys! All of those stuffed animals, dolls, and games have to be stored somewhere — and no parent wants them cluttering their floors.
Organizing your kid’s room isn’t an easy task. Classic toy chests are bulky, bookcases can take up a lot of space, and plastic bins lack personality.
To help you organize your children’s favorite toys, we’ve found eight unique DIY toy box ideas that go beyond traditional storage.
1. Rolling Wooden Crate
These wooden crates are the perfect height for small children to see and access all of their toys, and the wheels make it easy and safe for them to take what they need as they move around. Plus, if you have little ones who are prone to getting their fingers trapped by lids, this open-top design can be a much safer option.
Transform a plain crate into this DIY wooden toy box by adding wheels and giving it a fresh coat of paint. Customize the crate with different colors, designs, and stickers to match your kid’s personal style.
2. Toy Storage Swing
Take your organization one step higher with this hanging toy storage swing. Not only does the swing put your children’s favorite stuffed playmates on display, but it keeps clutter off the ground — creating more space in your home. It’s important to note, though, that this solution works best for children who are old enough to understand not to hang from the swing themselves.
With a few basic supplies and a small budget, you can create your own stuffed animal swing in an hour (and even have your kids help with the assembly).
3. Labeled Toy Bins
If you’re beginning to teach your kids the power of organization, you need labeled toy storage. This cubby system allows you to assign each colored cube to a specific toy group, helping your child associate the right toys with the right storage spot.
To add labels to each basket, simply print the letters onto contact paper or cardstock and attach them with Modge Podge. If your kids are still learning how to read, include accompanying images to help them understand where each toy belongs when it’s not being played with.
4. DIY Matchbox Car Storage
If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to step on a Matchbox toy car, you’ll appreciate this toy storage solution. Instead of throwing these miniature cars in a bin, install a wall garage that gives each car its own parking spot away from the floor and unsuspecting feet.
To create the DIY Matchbox car garage, cut PVC pipe, giving each piece a fresh coat of paint. Then, use PVC glue to attach the pipes together to create a diamond shape that can be hung from the wall.
5. Stackable Storage Cubes
For a more rustic take on DIY toy box ideas, consider storing trinkets in these wooden cubes. Their shape makes them a perfect home for books, stuffed animals, sneakers and more, and their size allows them to be stacked side by side or on top of one another. This simplistic design is also a great addition to your nursery storage. If you do use this in a young child’s room, it’s best to stack them horizontally to avoid accidental tipping.
Using pine boards, plywood and basic tools and supplies, you can make DIY stacking storage cubes with ease. Build as many of these as you need, customizing them to match your child’s bedroom decor.
6. Under-Bed Chalkboard Bins
We’ve all been guilty of resorting to Sterilite plastic bins for organized storage, but let’s face it: these bulky containers can be quite the eyesore. Instead of using them as is, give them an upgrade with chalk paint.
These DIY chalkboard toy bins can be completed in no time. After priming the front of the bins, give them a few coats of chalkboard paint. When dry, fill each drawer with belongings and use chalk to label them appropriately and place them under the bed. Since the labels can be changed at any time, this storage system can grow with your kids.
7. DIY Canvas Toy Bags
If you’re looking for simplistic toy box options, hanging drawstring bags work wonders. Since canvas is naturally neutral, these bags will match in any room. Their blank space also gives you the freedom to add a touch of personality. Use stencils and fabric paint to mark each bag with whatever it contains, your child’s initials, or their favorite pattern.
With only canvas drop cloth, some cord, a cord lock and basic sewing supplies, you’ll be able to get your kid’s clutter off the ground and organized on the wall. To hang the bags safely, use drywall anchors with your screws.
8. See-Through Toy Baskets
If you’re trying to store toys with a lot of little pieces, like legos or doll clothes, you know what it feels like to walk into your child’s room and see those pesky items scattered everywhere. Instead of just throwing them in a container, keep them in a see-through toy bucket.
These fabric storage buckets will allow your kids see everything it holds — without needing to dump its contents onto the floor.
By using any of these unique DIY toy box ideas, you’ll be able to keep your home clutter-free while teaching your children the benefits of organization.
What’s your favorite way to store toys? We’d love to hear! Let us know in the comment section below.
Updated: July 6, 2014 2:20AM
When it comes to helping out children in need, Michelle Maxia, director and founder of the Toy Box Connection children’s charity, always thinks big.
Maxia said she’s facing her biggest challenge to date. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis is low on toys. St. Jude specializes in treating childhood leukemia, brain tumors and sickle cell disease. No child is denied treatment because of the family’s inability to pay.
During the late summer and fall, the hospital runs low on toys. That knowledge is all it took to set the wheels in motion for Maxia.
“We can help,” she said. “This is what we do.”
Enter Illinois Elevators Constructors Union Local 2, which is donating a semi truck to the Toy Box Connection, presenting the Orland Park-based charity with the substantial challenge of filling it with toys and books.
The union will escort the truckload of toys via motorcycle brigade all the way to St. Jude. Along the way, they will be joined by other Elevator Constructors Union members who have collected toys as well.
Maxia is calling this special project “Christmas in July,” and donations will be collected through Aug. 8. The Toy Box Connection is looking for toys and books that are appropriate for a child in a hospital such as crafts, Legos, puzzles and dolls.
No sports equipment or outdoor summer toys. For health reasons, the toys must be new. The children range in age from infant to 15.
Toys can be dropped off at any of the four Tinley Park Fire Department stations as well as any of the Orland Fire Protection District stations.
Maxia said trying to collect enough toys and books to fill a semi trailer is a big challenge, but she has faith in the goodness and generosity of people, having seen what can happen when people come together. She’s also no stranger to big projects — her mission to bring joy to as many children as possible has been infectious.
During its first 18 months, Toy Box Connection was able to distribute more than 350,000 toys to nonprofit organizations that in turn gave them to thousands of sick, homeless, disabled and underprivileged children.
Among the organizations that receive toys through Toy Box Connection are the Mooseheart orphanage, Together We Cope, Loyola University Hospitals, Ronald McDonald House and many child advocacy centers and domestic violence shelters.
Toy Box Connection also provides toys and books to soldiers’ families through the Helmets for Hardhats and Operation Homefront organizations.
These toys are not just for Christmas. They are used throughout the year for birthdays, special occasions, incentive programs, hospital visits and counseling situations.
“It takes so little to bring some joy into a child’s life” Maxia said. “I know we can bring some joy to those children in St. Jude. Please help us fill the truck.”
You can learn more about the “Christmas in July” toy drive and Toy Box Connection by visiting www.toyboxconnection.com or calling (708) 691-2715.