Before & After: The Toy Closet

I don’t know about y’all, but my toys mate and multiply almost as quickly as people in my house!  With five kids, the toy closet in our gameroom had spun completely out of control.

We were constantly reminding the kids where all the toys went, even though most bins were labeled.  Inevitably, toys ended up crammed in random spaces or piled on the floor.  A lot of good all those shelves did.  With the start of school looming around the corner, I knew I needed to take action and get a better system.  This closet was stressing me out and the kids were complaining way too much about how they couldn’t find anything.

First, I took everything out of the closet and did one of the following:

1) Found lost toy souls and reunited them with their original owner.
2) Trashed it.
3) Donated it.
4) Kept it.

A clean slate makes it so much easier to really reevaluate just what you want to put back in the space.

After we trashed, donated and reunited, then I started sorting the “keep” toys by category (blocks, educational, dress-up clothes, cars/trucks, Barbie, etc.)  Then, I measured each shelf (length, width and height).  My oldest and I grabbed the tape measure and headed out the door to Target. But, not before ever-so-kindly asking my husband to paint the closet.  Aqua.  He shook his head and said, “Ok.”  But I knew he thought I was off my rocker.  We had half a gallon left over from our laundry room paint job and I just thought it would be a way fun color for such a way fun closet.  Plus, it was FREE.

When we returned, this is what I saw.  Feast your eyes!!  Hi fun closet.  I wish I could say the whole “paint your closet a fun color” was my idea, but I was really inspired by House of Smiths and iHeartOrganizing.

Will and I scored some great colorful crates on SALE at Target.  Note to self:  shopping for storage containers in August brings great sales as kids head back to school and college.

So, at $3.49/crate, I only spent $52.35 on new bins.  They did have small holes in them, but we only had one bin of toys where that was a problem.  I just used two clear plastic shoeboxes I already had from The Container Store to stow them and they fit perfectly in the bins.  The two polkadot boxes up top were $9.99/each and store our one billion legos.  Yes, we really have that many.  I reorganized the toy bins based on kid height and age appropriateness.  Also, my handy Dymo labeler saved the day as usual.  The kids can read the labels and visually see what goes in the bins.  I got all the kids involved in the sorting and they were only too happy to help.  It’s made keeping it organized, yet functional, easier because they have some ownership.  It wasn’t just “Mom’s project.”

We love it – $75 well spent!


  1. Anonymous on August 11, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    It looks great, but I was wondering if you have a dedicated play space where you can keep the toys? We have tons of organized bins and a large storage piece of furniture in our playroom. I find it is easier to keep the toys out in the open where the kids can get to them as opposed to in a closet. I know Moms today don't want to look at the toys, but my kids are able to put them away and take them out without any assistance.

  2. Kathryn on August 11, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Our gameroom is a large area, but it seemed silly to buy a storage unit for the toys, when we had a perfectly good closet to use! We do have a train table in the room that houses all those toys and we have a media center with baskets that store Wii games, remotes, etc. The bins in the closet are arranged in height by age, so they can reach the toys they can play with, with the exception of board games and legos. With littles in the house, the legos don't stay out all the time. Too dangerous. The same goes for board games. Those are usually a family event anyway. This system works great for us!

  3. Anonymous on August 11, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Great idea on the height arrangement. Glad you have a dedicated play space. There are so many families these days who keep the toys to a minimum, and I find them essential for learning. Kids just need to be kids a little longer!

  4. Mandi on August 15, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Wow, looks great! There is nothing I love more than getting something really well organized.

  5. Before & After: The Boys’ Bathroom on November 9, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    […] it just sound cool? You may recall my love affair with that color in our laundry room and toy closet. This time, I opted for a softer shade, inspired by a unique place. The inside of the trash can!I […]

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.