No matter how hard you try, your kids accumulate a lot of toys and you’re probably struggling to find a place to store them all.
Even if you keep your kid’s toys in your garage, you need to keep them organized.
To organize your kids’ toys in the garage, you should try to reduce the number of toys they own, gather the remainder in labeled bins, baskets, and boxes, and store the remaining toys in organized groups (perhaps on shelves or stacked against the wall) where they are easy to reach.
Toy storage takes a lot of work and requires plenty of trial and error while you find a perfect system that keeps the clutter at bay. However, it all becomes worth it when you can walk around at night without stepping on a Lego. Read on for a detailed guide to storing toys in a garage.
Get Rid Of Excess Toys
The first step to decluttering your garage is to get rid of everything you don’t need. In this case, that can be really tough.
Your kids form strong bonds with their toys, but so do the parents. I still have a few toys in storage from when I was a kid. I’ve got a lot more that I bought as an adult, but that’s a different therapy session.
It might be a rocking horse, collecting dust for years, but you’ve kept it because it’s their very first toy.
Your child might not have played with it in years, but it means a lot to you.
The way I look at it, toys aren’t just toys. They’re reminders of the happy times that we shared with our kids as they grew up.
It can be really hard to part with them.
The key here is to realize memories won’t go away just because we get rid of the toys.
Once you’re OK with that, then it’s time to get started.
Knowing What Toys To Get Rid Of
Let’s start with the easy stuff first.
Look for any old party favors, Happy Meal toys, or anything tiny and cheap, that your kids forgot about five minutes after you gave it to them.
Then, start looking for broken toys, especially if you have been keeping them around for a while. If they can’t be fixed, toss them. If they can, but your kid hasn’t been playing with them, you can try to fix them and then donate them.
It’s a good idea to enlist your children’s help here, if they’re old enough. I remember a few times growing up that she threw out toys that she thought were broken, that weren’t.
Now comes the harder part: toys that are still good, but your kids have outgrown them.
Parents who’ve been successful at organizing their kid’s toys recommend donating toys when:
- Your child hasn’t played with it for over a year
- It’s not appropriate for their age
- If your kids won’t even notice it’s gone
Even if it was given to them by their favorite grandparent, it’s better to give it to someone who’ll use it than to let it sit in your garage, collecting dust.
Another Option: The other way to go about this situation is to look at this from the opposite perspective. If you only keep the toys that your kids are playing with, you’ll end up with less toys to store.
Keep, Donate or Throw Out?
No matter what method you use, group your toys into three piles: one to keep, one to donate and one to throw out.
Finally, once your “keep” pile is ready and everything else is gone, decide which of the kept toys you’ll keep in the house and which can be stored in the garage. Naturally, anything your kids are really into at the moment would move to the house. However, you may be surprised at how much you can store in the garage instead of in their room.
One tip is to remove all of the toys, except for the most important ones. Then you can rotate them in and out every week or so to find the toys that your kids can’t live without.
More on that later.
Congratulations! That was the hardest step. Now you just have to find a good spot for the toys that are left.
Choose the Right Place to Store Toys
Space is hard to come by in your garage already. It might be hard to carve out a slice of that specifically for your children’s toys.
But once you’ve got the toys organized, you should be able to easily find the toys you’re looking for.
Usually the best location would be somewhere near the door but far away from any power tools, or anything else that’s dangerous. That way, if your children are old enough, they should be able to go get the toys themselves.
Try to keep large or heavy toys on the ground. This could include bikes, Power Wheels or any outdoor toys. Alternately, you could hang them on the wall to help save space.
Of course, you’ll want to keep some of the toys well out of reach. Put anything that’s not used very often or anything that requires adult supervision as high up as possible. Here’s where overhead storage could come in handy.
Garage Organization for Toys
Now that you have a space for the toys, you need something to put them in. There are several really good options, ranging from basic to stylish. Fortunately, most of them are very budget-friendly.
Once you’re packing up and organizing your kid’s toys, be sure to label the bins. That way both you and your children can read what’s inside. That will help you keep your organization plan going long-term.
Here are some other garage storage ideas for toys:
Storage Totes and Bins
Plastic storage bins and totes come in all shapes and sizes. The best ones to store toys are clear plastic ones. You can get a variety of different sizes at Home Depot or Target and they’re fairly inexpensive. I definitely recommend clear plastic bins so you can easily tell what’s in them, even if they’re not labeled.
For storing any stuffed animals, dolls or other toys made primarily of fabric, they have sealed, water-resistant totes. They cost a little more, but they help resist any water or moisture that could get in the tote and ruin your toys.
Cloth baskets are a great way to store plush toys or cute play outfits, but they don’t belong in your garage. Fabric is very susceptible to damage from moisture and an ideal nesting area for mice or other critters.
In my opinion, a wall storage system is by far the best option, not only for your kid’s toys but for organizing your entire garage.
Bikes can quickly be mounted on the wall so they’re out of the way. Sports equipment can be organized on the wall to keep them out of the way while airing them out. You can put basketballs or soccer balls in bins or bags to keep them organized.
These systems require very little planning up front, and let you configure them down the road as you need them. I have two different systems in my garage to help keep me organized. You can see what I feel are the best wall storage systems for your garage in my roundup article here!
Overhead garage storage is a great solution for anything that you want to keep organized and don’t use on a daily basis. Your kid’s toys are no exception.
Power Wheels and other motorized toys can easily be placed up on a rack to keep them out of the way. They can weigh up to 100 lbs, so you’ll want to check how much weight your garage ceiling can hold before you start.
The cheapest way to store your kids toys is your basic garage shelving unit.You can get plastic, three-tier shelving units at Walmart for as little as $25. We used them in our apartment and they held up great to almost constant abuse.
Metal shelves are a bit more expensive and can cost up to $100 or more. However, they’re much more durable and will last you for years.
If you decide to go with shelving, you’ll still need some sort of container system, like totes. Loose toys on a shelf can be almost as bad as having loose toys on your garage floor.
How to Keep Your Kid’s Toys Organized
No matter how you set up your system, the hardest part can be keeping it organized…especially if your kids are able to access it.
The occasional toy will inevitably make it back into your house, so keeping them organized is going to take some work.
One of the most popular toy storing systems is toy rotation. This is when you bring out a new box (or more boxes) of toys every week (or every day, month, etc.) while putting the previous one back on the shelf.
Once you bring out the new box of toys, most children will play with it as if they’ve never seen it before. Kids get bored with the same old, same old. They’ll appreciate something fresh once in a while, even if it is just their old toys.
Obviously if your child has a favorite toy, that one should always stay in rotation.
You can also use a seasonal system, but that can lead to many toys are out at once. Another option is to keep all of the toys in the garage and then only take out a few at a time. This is usually the ones your kids ask for most often. Another option for those creative parents is to base them on a particular theme you come up for them.
By far the most common way to organize your kid’s toys in the garage is simply to group them together. Like with like.
For example, you could have all their Lego’s together (which makes sense), or all of their stuffed animals together.
Another option is to group them by the season, but it could be difficult to find what you need. Is baseball a spring or a summer toy, for example?
Finally, you can also group them in themes. For instance, everything your kids need to recreate a small town in one box or everything they need to play kitchen in another. This is a creative approach, and it can make for many wonderful play opportunities. However it could be very hard to set up and your children might not understand how the system works.
It may take an afternoon to organize all of your kids toys in your garage, but it’s well worth it. Trust us, you’ll feel a lot better afterwards.
Remember that your kids may want to keep some of the stored toys with them, once you start rotating them or using a system.
It’s okay to let them keep one or two, as long as they are playing with them. But as soon as you notice boredom set in, put the toys back.
This way, you’ll have a much easier time keeping everything organized.