Toy Storage Organizers 2023
Does your home feel like a toy disaster zone? The best toy storage organizers can help parents regain control of the mess thanks to clever features like handy cubbies and stylish baskets. As a bonus, they offer kids an opportunity to learn how to be more autonomous when it comes to keeping their play spaces tidy.
The best toy storage organizers make cleanup easy for both kids and parents. Pottery Barn Kids' ... [+] Cubby Drawer Tower Set lets you mix and match pieces depending on your needs.
When choosing toy storage organizers, “the first [step] is to narrow down what the kids actually want and need,” says Brandie Larsen—who, along with her sister Ryan Eiesland, is one of the professional organizers behind the Sacramento-based business Home Sort. Eisland says the duo likes to work with kids and their parents to decide if each toy or game is something they still want and actively play with. (“Kids love a chance to make the decisions and be in the driver’s seat,” she adds.) The toys that don’t get put into the toss or donate piles get organized into a system that makes sense and that the child can maintain.
To find the best toy storage organizers on the market, we tapped professional organizers, interior designers, a toy research and development professional, and a child therapist for their favorite options, as well as their top organizational tips for nurseries, kids’ rooms, playrooms and wherever else there’s toy clutter.
Jessica Davis, owner and principal designer of JL Design in Nashville, says this Mack & Milo toy storage organizer as a must-have for every playroom. (Note: Only the grey/white model is currently available, but you can sign up to be notified once the white is back in stock.) The piece features a dozen open storage baskets that are set on an angle, which makes it easier for kids to see and grab toys, as well as toss them back in when it’s time for cleanup. It’s affordable enough that some families might be able to stack two of these side by side and call it a day in terms of creating toy storage for a larger space, such as the living room.
The Container Store
When it comes to storage options for toddlers and little kids, New York-based professional organizer Andrew Mellen is a firm believer in open-top clear storage bins. “We do not put lids on anything we want children to interact with because if they have a physical barrier between them and the home for something, you might as well put a brick wall there. They will not go through the lid to put stuff away,” he says. Instead he recommends using uniform plastic tubs that are clear so kids can easily see what’s inside them.
These Linus Cube Bins stand up to all sorts of rough kid handling and won’t be scratched or stained by messy art supplies or Hot Wheels. The large size (which measures 12 x 12 x 12 inches) fits perfectly on most bookshelves, too.
“When it comes to kids’ storage, the most important thing is to keep it simple and at eye level,” says Hudson, New York-based interior designer Nicole Fisher of BNR Interiors. We think the sleek, Montessori-style play shelf by Lovevery, crafted from sustainable birchwood, is a great example of this kind of toy storage. Fisher suggests keeping toy baskets and children’s books on low shelves so kids can easily access them, and this solution comes with two wooden trays and two storage bins to help with that added organization. Plus, the ample hidden storage in the back allows for easy toy rotation.
“We love open shelving alongside cabinets to show off signature toys and books for a fun and playful vibe, as well as to stash the rest so it doesn’t get too busy,” says Kelsey Fisher, Havenly lead designer based in Denver, Colorado. One cabinet she particularly loves is this Pottery Barn Kids Cameron Wall System. “It allows you to mix and match pieces to best serve your space and storage needs,” she says. Also, it holds a lot of stuff!
Crate & Barrel
The only thing better than teaching your child to embrace being tidy and organized with their things is giving them storage options that don’t make your home look like a child’s classroom. These decorative baskets fit in with an array of décor styles and look like something we might pick up for ourselves to store throw blankets or magazines. You can show your kids that this stylish bin is where they can keep tubs of Play-Doh, video game controllers and other small toys and accessories for better toy storage anywhere in your home. Plus, they have convenient cut-out handles and are lightweight enough that a toddler can easily pick them up.
Crate & Barrel
The only way to ensure kids keep up with their newfound cleaning skills is to make it as accessible as possible. This cubby-inspired bookcase does so by being low to the ground. It comes in four modern, neutral tones to match nearly any bedroom or the playroom. You can stack bins on top of it (or sit on it), or store them in the cubbies. The Rue comes in a number of sizes, including six-, eight- and 12-cube configurations, so you can scale up or down depending on your child’s space and number of playthings.
“You do not need a lot of furniture to keep things organized in a kids’ space,” says Idaho-based interior designer Mikayla Keating of Keating Collective and Interiors. Her advice: Keep pieces minimal and the room layout simple to make more room for play. One furniture item she recommends for toy organization is a cubby-style shelf like this bookcase by ClosetMaid. You can add as many soft bins with handles as you want (like the fabric cube or bin options we recommend on this list) and choose to assemble the bookcase either horizontally or vertically to match your child’s needs.
After a round of sorting through your child’s massive toy collection, you might be left with a pile of small odds and ends, like Barbie clothes or tiny eraser heads, that seem impossible to organize. The Home Sort designer sisters recommend clear storage bins, specifically these small mDesign containers, for corralling those pesky, unwieldy toys. The small hinged lid on these boxes allow parents to place these toy storage organizers atop one another, turning an ugly mess into neat stacks.
The Container Store
New York-based interior designer Casey DeBois of DeBois Design follows the Montessori system of everything having its place: “The more systems in place, the easier it is for everyone to follow,” she says, and that’s especially true of children. When it comes to corralling art supplies, DeBois recommends a rolling cart. “It keeps everything contained, you can easily see your supplies and it’s mobile.” This popular rolling cart comes in a number of fun hues so you can easily match the cart with your living room or nursery decor.
It’s one thing to see all of your kids’ toys tucked away in an orderly fashion—and don’t get us wrong, we live for it—but what if you couldn’t see the mess? When you’re all tapped out on storage options that display their books, toys and accessories, a modern toy box is a quick and easy way to keep the less cute things (looking at you, swamp monster doll) out of sight. Plus, the storage capacity here is quite large (26.5 x 20.8 x 16.7 inches), and the child-safe soft-closing hinge means it won’t ever slam shut on tiny fingers.
These incredibly affordable storage cubes are soft and light, making them easily totable for kids of many ages. They’re nearly a foot tall, so they’re deep enough to hold a number of kid things, including books, dolls or stuffed animals, and they fit just right onto a bookcase shelf. They’re pretty enough to place in the nursery or living room and come in a variety of colors. The portability of these toy storage organizers means that neatness—not messes—can follow them from room to room. Plus, they can be folded flat when not in use.
These roomy fabric storage bins are ideal to add to existing shelving or to stack under their beds or in a closet. The handles make them easy to tote around, they fold if needed for storage and they’re framed well enough that they keep their shape even when not full. We love the variety of sizes they come, as well as prints—and the overall affordability. One of our editors uses them to store all those stuffed animals, as well as the kids’ off-season clothing.
Courtesy of LEGO
When it comes to Lego (one of the peskiest toys to organize), Davis goes right to the source. The brand’s Lego Storage Brick Drawer has two spacious compartments for all those little parts or any toy or office supply really. Designed like the iconic Lego brick, the box features eight oversized studs that connect to additional Brick drawers when you run out of space—which will likely happen often if you have a Lego fanatic. The fun design also comes in a variety of bold colors.
This story was researched and written by Lex Goodman, a Forbes Vetted contributor who regularly covers kid gear stories, and overseen by Rose Sala, Vetted’s senior baby and kids gear editor. Both moms themselves, they also have firsthand experience with products in this space. Collectively, the team has also produced Vetted’s library of kids content, from the best nursery gliders and twin mattresses for kids to expert-backed humidifiers for babies.
To pinpoint best toy storage organizers, we consulted organization and design professionals, as well as child toy experts, to get their insights into the options available and which ones they recommend for various needs and spaces. Our experts include sister duo Brandie Larsen and Ryan Eiesland of the organizational services business Home Sort; Jessica Davis, owner and principal designer at JL Design; professional organizer Andrew Mellen; Nicole Fisher, interior designer at BNR Interiors; Havenly lead designer Kelsey Fisher; interior designer Mikayla Keating of Keating Collective and Interiors; Casey DeBois, interior designer at DeBois Design; Emily Ardeljan, LCSW and child and family therapist; and Alison Glaser, vice president of product strategy in Lakeshore Learning’s research, design and development department. We also asked some of our experts to share their tried-and-true techniques for optimizing toy storage space and getting kids to take ownership of the cleanup process.
We routinely update this article to make sure our selections and prices remain accurate and among the best in the industry. We last updated this story in August 2023.
In our search for the best toy storage organizers, we consulted a handful of experts including professional organizers, interior designers, a family therapist and developmental expert, to help determine which products should make the cut. Several picks, like the Mack & Milo Bratton Kids Storage Toy Organizer, Pottery Barn Kids Cameron Wall 2 Cubby Tower Set and mDesign Stackable Hinged Lid Bin, are expressly recommended our experts. We also relied on the personal experience of the parents on our team to ensure our options have real-world practicality. Further we evaluated size, price range, design features and long-term potential, focusing on items that truly help make parents’ lives easier and their homes a bit more serene. Variety was a factor, too, as we wanted to include options for different needs, spaces and budgets.
Find an organizer that makes it simple to establish a dedicated spot for each item. This makes it easier to find toys when kids are ready to play and less of a struggle when it comes time to put them back. Next, categorize toys in a way that makes sense: markers and watercolors with all other art supplies, stuffed animals with stuffed animals, baby dolls with baby dolls and so on.
Regardless of which cleaning or organizational method you choose, Emily Ardeljan, LCSW and child and family therapist, reminds us, “Organization is likely different for everyone because everyone has a different threshold for the amount of visual stimulation that they feel comfortable with in their homes. Definitely prioritize functionality and experience over aesthetics or anything else.”
Bin storage (and lots of them) can help to organize a large amount of toys, such as those belonging to siblings. “Bins come in many sizes and colors, helping you organize toys so children can easily find them and put them back in the right place,” notes Alison Glaser, vice president of product strategy in Lakeshore Learning’s research, design and development department. “I also find it useful to label bins with a picture and a word. This not only helps children keep their space organized, but it also teaches and reinforces reading skills in early learners.”
If you’re tight on space, Glaser presents a couple options like “using storage bins with lids and stacking them on the floor in a closet. This way, they remain out of sight but easily accessible to children during playtime.” She also recommends that if it suits your budget, you might “invest in furniture units with built-in storage, such as a bookshelf with baskets that effectively conceal toys but are a cinch to pull out for play.”
As always, make sure all heavy items are properly anchored to the wall and teach kids to never climb furniture. Keep an eye out for toy storage furniture designed specifically for families with features like rounded corners and soft-close draws, doors and lids; they should also be free of small pieces (that could pose as choking hazards) and include all the necessary anti-tip supplies. No matter how safe these storage items are, make sure to read the included instruction booklet and look out for warnings that advise parents to be in the same room as their kids when using them.Best Toy Storage Organizer For PlayroomsBest Toy Storage Organizer For Fast CleanupBest Montessori Toy Storage Organizer:Best Toy Storage Organizers With CabinetsBest Basket Toy Storage Organizer:Best Toy Storage Organizer With SeatingBest Toy Storage Organizer With CubbiesBest Toy Storage Organizer For Small ItemsBest Toy Storage Organizer With WheelsBest Storage Toy BoxBest Ottoman Toy Storage OrganizerBest Toy Storage CubeBest Fabric Toy Storage Bin:Best Toy Storage Organizer For LegosWhy Trust Forbes VettedWhat Makes A Good Toy Storage Organizer?