The Best Toy Storage Keeps Kiddos Organized (and Parents Sane)
Baskets, benches, toy chests, and more.
Published Apr 28, 2022 2:22 PM
Reading up on Domino’s shopping guides is like having your own personal product concierge. We do the tedious part—deep-dive research, hands-on testing, and tapping experts for advice—so all you have to do is hit “add to cart.” That’s why we call them Simply the Best.
If you’re constantly tripping over puzzle pieces and action figures, we feel your pain (sometimes literal pain—those little trinkets can hurt!). Toy storage is a must for staying organized, hiding away eyesores in something more aesthetically pleasing, and always being able to locate your little one’s can’t-sleep-without-it stuffed animal.
For guidance on the best toy storage, we tapped Follies founder Chloe Varelidi and designer Mary Jo Major of Rise Interiors. They’re experts on the topic on a personal level, too: They’re both mothers of young children in the thick of the toys-are-everywhere stage. “Between all the different types of toys—dress-up clothes, blocks, action figures, trucks, puzzles, balls, a pretend kitchen, etc.—there can be systematic ways to design and store them in a beautiful manner,” says Major.
Varelidi agrees. “Just like us grown-ups, kiddos get overstimulated when they are faced with multiple choices,” she says. “Having all their toys available to choose from might result in them feeling overwhelmed and—you guessed it—choosing none.”
Sound familiar? That’s why we’ve narrowed down the best toy storage ideas for you. Whether you opt for a toy chest, a soft hamper, or all-purpose bins, make sure it fits your child’s toys and your style. Read on for our top picks for toy storage.
- Best grab-and-go: Icon Play Mat Bag
- Best for costumes and large toys: Hombins Cotton Rope Basket
- Best for art supplies: Crate & Kids Studio Art Cart with Wheels
- Best bins: Open Spaces Medium Storage Bins
- Best cube storage: Franklin & Emily Cube Storage
- Best toy chest: West Elm Kids Mid-Century Toy Chest
- Best storage bench: One Kings Lane Breene Kids’ Storage Bench
- Best soft hamper: Liewood Lia Storage Box
Best Grab-and-Go: Icon Play Mat Bag
Material: 70% cotton, 30% polyester | Size: 47-inch diameter | Portable: Yes, play mat bag
What we like:
- Performs double duty as a play mat and toy storage
- Available in a variety of colors and patterns
- Straps make it super-portable
- While great for babies, toddlers outgrow a play mat quickly
- Clunky to carry if you also have a diaper bag and (of course) your baby
Why we chose it: A two-in-one play mat and toy storage for the littlest of little ones.
A play mat is a must for your growing babe: It provides a soft, somewhat contained space for a little one to learn the fun of blocks, building, and musical instruments. Since this mat fastens closed with a strap, it doubles as toy storage, making it an easy option to grab when you’re on the go. Throw some favorite toys in it, snap it shut, then jet off to play dates.
Best for Costumes and Large Toys: Hombins Cotton Rope Basket
Material: Cotton with leather handles | Size: 20-by-20-by-13 inches | Portable: Yes, basket
What we like:
- Can be folded for easy storage
- Available in 12 colors
- The most budget-friendly on this list
- May not stay perfectly round once it has been folded
Why we chose it: An oversize basket to corral all the oversize toys.
Whether you need a home for a collection of blankies, costumes, or dump trucks, this large cotton basket can do it all. Choose between one of 12 neutral color options and a solid, two-tone, or stripe design. We promise you’ll never have to hear, “Where’s my dinosaur costume?” again.
Best for Art Supplies: Crate & Kids Studio Art Cart with Wheels
Material: Ash-wood veneer and engineered wood bins with iron frame | Size: 14-by-16-by-31 inches | Portable: Yes, rolling cart
What we like:
- Utilitarian design is both practical and pretty
- Top bin is divided, making for easy organization
- Lockable wheels keep it in place
- Easy assembly required
Why we chose it: Contain the glitter and googly eyes once and for all.
Maybe we’re biased since this art cart is part of a collaboration between Domino and Crate & Kids. But don’t take our word for it; Varelidi can vouch for its top-notch craft-containing abilities, too. “Both my art-obsessed 6-year-old and I love it for its sturdy design and smart compartments that make storing various art supplies easy,” she says. “And we love the wheels, which make it easy to move around, from her room to our kitchen and to the yard.”
Best Bins: Open Spaces Medium Storage Bins
Material: Hard plastic | Size: 10.8-by-8.3-by-6.3 inches (the medium size) | Portable: Yes, multipurpose bins
What we like:
- Goes-with-everything design
- Available in multiple sizes and 2 colors
- Optional lids make them stackable
- For small toys only
Why we chose it: A sleek solution that’s easy for kids to pull off shelves.
Name a room—any room—and we’d bet these mod bins with subtle, smart design features would help keep it tidy. Storing blocks in a playroom? Great. The bins are lightweight and pretty enough to display on low shelves, so kids can grab them as they please. Storing skin-care supplies in a bathroom? Also great. Choose between easy-to-stack plastic lids, wood lids for Scandinavian vibes, or no lids at all.
Best Cube Storage: Franklin & Emily Cube Storage
Material: Baltic birch plywood | Size: 13.25-by-38.25-by-13 inches | Portable: No, multipurpose bench/bookcase/toy storage
What we like:
- Offers endless ways to use it
- Neutral design that fits in any space
- Easily cleaned with a damp cloth
- Final sale
Why we chose it: Part bench, part bookcase, and part shelf: This toy storage is multipurpose.
Kids outgrow just about everything—shoes, toys, you name it—too fast. (Everything other than the temper-tantrum stage, that is.) That’s why we love this multiuse cube design, which can take on different functions as your child grows. “This cube storage is perfect to hold bins and larger items like trucks and books,” says Major. She adds that it’s great with any kind of decor, especially for those who want a Montessori-style playroom, where a few carefully chosen toys are stored at kid height that can be played with and then put away.
Best Toy Chest: West Elm Kids Mid-Century Toy Chest
Material: Kiln-dried solid and engineered wood | Size: 30-by-17-by-21 inches | Portable: No, chest
What we like:
- Keeps toys out of sight but within reach
- Includes a soft-close lid—no pinched fingers!
- Classic, timeless design
- Assembly required
- The most expensive option on this list
Why we chose it: A mid-century piece that both parents and kiddos will appreciate.
We can picture our best toy chest pick in a Frank Lloyd Wright–designed masterpiece, and we can picture it in any playroom, too. “This chest is great for stuffed animals, puzzles, or arts and crafts materials that need to be contained,” says Major. “Its mid-century design means it can be put in a living area without screaming, ‘This is for the kids!’”
Best Storage Bench: One Kings Lane Breene Kids’ Storage Bench
Material: Pine frame with linen-cotton upholstery | Size: 38.5-by-18.5-by-19.5 inches | Portable: No, storage bench
What we like:
- Whimsical design is elegant but still kid-friendly
- Available in 3 colorways
- Made in the U.S.
- Since each bench is made to order, expect a longer lead time
- Some assembly required
- Spot-clean only
Why we chose it: A storage bench that’s both practical and fanciful.
Any piece of furniture that can double in purpose is a win in our book. This bench provides a soft spot for kiddos to practice tying their shoes, and it’s a sophisticated spot to store toys, games, and stuffed animals come cleanup time. Plus its playful yet upscale design makes it a hit with all ages.
Best Soft Hamper: Liewood Lia Storage Box
Material: 100% organic cotton, with 100% polyester fill | Size: 16-by-18 inches | Portable: Yes, soft storage basket
What we like:
- An elevated design that’s appealing to all ages
- Available in 2 colorways
- Sturdy handles make it easy to move
- Cannot be washed
Why we chose it: A cute catchall for toys, blankets, stuffies, and more.
“Soft storage solutions with handles that are easy for a toddler to pull off of a shelf themselves work really great,” says Varelidi. Like this cushy cotton hamper, which is a sophisticated solution for storing toys of all types. Consider mixing and matching a few in different sizes, so there’s always a home for every last race car.
How We Chose These Products
We shopped for a mix of toy storage solutions with varying needs in mind: different types of toys in different types of spaces. Whether you’re looking for the best toy organizer ideas for your little Picasso’s art supplies or a way to close the lid on a toy chest when you simply can’t look at another L.O.L. doll, there’s a stylish option for you. Practicality was at the top of our shopping list, but as always, good design was not far behind.
Our Shopping Checklist
Material and Design
High-quality materials and smart design are always at the tippy-top of our shopping checklist. Opt for wood that’ll last a lifetime, canvas that’s easy to clean, and a design you can not only live with but love. Whether you’re looking for shelves for books and knickknacks; carts for easy and movable access; a chest or storage bench to hide away items neat and tidy; or bins and baskets to toss and carry, there’s something for every style (and parental or child preference). Toys can sometimes be an eyesore, but the storage for them doesn’t have to be.
Toy storage has to work for specific toys in specific spaces. That’s why we selected a variety of options in varying sizes. Take a mental inventory of the toys you’re hoping to organize before shopping for a storage solution. What good is a toy chest if you can’t close it once your little one’s stuffies are, well, stuffed into it?
Parents are experts at sussing out potential safety hazards, like sharp corners or potential suffocation risks. We kept the same things in mind for our picks. For instance, portable carts need to have lockable wheels, and toy chests should be easy to open from the inside and have a lid that stays open in any position. (No pinched fingers, please.)
Q: How do I store small toys, like Legos or cars? Please—save my ankles.
Major suggests storing tiny tripping hazards in bins. “If you have a large collection of something or even too many toys, you can store some of them in rubber bins that you can rotate out,” she says. That way, if your kids get bored of things easily, you can switch up which toys are getting play time so they’ll always find something (somewhat) new and exciting. For little ones, Varelidi recommends a play table with a compartment in the middle of a Lego surface table.
Q: Help, they’re everywhere! How do I organize and store stuffed animals?
“I often joke that plush animals are my personal nemesis,” says Varelidi. “They always mysteriously accumulate in our house, and there is never a bin or basket large enough to store them.” Sound familiar? That’s why she was delighted to see children using her design, the Follies play set, as a house to display their plush animals.
“A little house that they live in is a great way for children to be able to choose what plush toys they want to play with while also keeping them contained in one part of their room,” Varelidi says. “It’s a lesson in letting our children come up with ideas to store their toys. It’s their property, after all, and they will be much more engaged in keeping a system in place if they are involved in the design of it.”
Q: How do I store toys with several components? They wind up in the weirdest places.
We’ve all been there: desperately searching for one tiny piece of a toy for one tiny person on the verge of a meltdown. No more. Opt for a storage solution with several compartments so that each component of the toy has a dedicated home. “It might be worth taking a page from the Marie Kondos of the world and printing a small image of what goes in each compartment to help your child remember how to organize the toys, too,” says Varelidi.
She also recommends getting ahead of the problem and taking a good, long look at the packaging before bringing a toy into your home. “Ideally a well-designed toy with multiple components offers some easy way to store the components in the box it came with,” says Varelidi.
The Last Word
Save your sanity—and save your feet from stepping on tiny toys—with proper toy storage. The best toy storage solution depends on the type of toys your child plays with and the space it will live in, so consider both factors carefully to find an option that works best for you and your kiddo.
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