Kids' Storage Ideas - 12 Cheap DIY Solutions for Toys & Clothes

Updated: January 5, 2023

Toddler in a living room with a mess of toys

Kids come with a lot of baggage. Whether it’s toys, books, craft supplies, sports equipment, clothes, or school papers, keeping all their stuff organized and controlling the clutter may seem impossible. Photo: Lisa Fotios

Toy storage and kids’ clothing organization is challenging — and while there’s no shortage of ideas (we’re looking at you Pinterest), many of them seem best fit for people with a big budget and lots of square footage to work with. We’re here to tell you that it’s possible to declutter with kids without having a designated playroom, massive closets, or spending a fortune on storage solutions.

We've put together this list of easy and affordable DIY storage ideas to help corral your kids’ clutter and our top tips for donating and recycling items your kids no longer need.

How do you start organizing and decluttering your kids’ stuff?

Decluttering your home when there’s kids’ stuff all over the place is a matter of being creative and intentional. A former teacher, mom of 3, and creator of the Busy Toddler blog, Susie, offers tried and true advice to follow as you start organizing your kids’ stuff.

Here are her top tips to keep in mind as you start decluttering your kids' toys or clothes:

  • Keep the toys visible — otherwise, out of sight, out of your kids’ minds.
  • Get rid of boxes that take up space and hide toys.
  • Keep visible toys to a minimum — too many toys can be overwhelming. Store some toys away, rotate them periodically, and donate items that they’ve outgrown or don’t play with.
  • Every toy or item must have a home.

12 DIY toy storage and kids' clothing organization ideas

We’re big fans of using items you may already have in your home to organize toys, craft supplies, artwork, dress-up clothes, or other kids' stuff. Here are some of our favorite DIY kids’ storage, organization, and decluttering ideas.

1. Use mason jars for hair accessories, craft supplies, tiny toys, and more

Craft supplies in mason jars

Get organized and make the most of your mason jars!

These cute little jars can be used for much more than storing food. They are perfect for holding toothbrushes and toothpaste, hairbrushes, ponytail holders, markers, pencils, and more. Use a sharpie to label or personalize them with each child’s name.

If you have young kids and are worried about using glass jars, these plastic craft jars are a perfect non-glass alternative.

2. Use over-the-door shoe organizers for small toys, stuffed animals, craft supplies, and shoes

Over-the-door shoe organizers make the perfect place to store little toys. Keep Legos organized and away from your feet (ouch!), and keep Barbie dolls or action figures organized and easy to find by placing them inside the shoe pockets.

3. Use bungee cords to wrangle stuffed animals

A few stuffed animals can quickly turn into a whole zoo. Keep your kids’ bedroom or playroom from getting too wild with a fun DIY stuffed animal storage solution. Start by building a frame from scrap wood or PVC pipes, and then attach bungee cords to hold your kids’ plush pals.

4. Repurpose shoeboxes

Instead of throwing out your empty shoeboxes, repurpose them. They are perfect for creating a memory box or storing crayons, craft supplies, matchbox cars or other small toys. Let your kids decorate the boxes with fun wrapping paper or stickers.

Don’t forget to label the boxes, so you know exactly what's in them without opening them up! Use a picture to show what's inside the box for toddlers or kids who can't read.

5. Save artwork with a digital storage app

Instead of keeping all those pictures and paintings, preserve them for eternity using your smartphone. If you have multiple kids over multiple years, you’ll quickly acquire many papers and clutter. But if you store their items in the Cloud, your room is limitless! There are many apps to store your kids' artwork, but some popular picks include Keepy, ArtKive, Canvsly, Artsonia, and Artbook.

If you want to be able to flip through your kids’ artwork or share it with friends and family, take photos of their drawings or crafts and make an album for each school year; this will keep papers organized, prevent fading, and keep them safe from being crushed or torn.

6. Use mesh bags to hold tiny toys, puzzles, or game pieces

You can store pretty much anything in a mesh bag. An entire collection of Army men? No problem, they fit into a mesh bag. Mr. Potato Head and all his facial features? They fit in there, too! Mesh storage bags are affordable and come in lots of colors and designs.

7. Turn old cardboard boxes into fun storage

You can create fun and functional storage for stuffed animals or dress-up clothes with recycled cardboard boxes, glue, scissors, and a little paint. We love this cardboard car storage from Handmade Charlotte.

If you have a kiddo who likes to dress up, take a large cardboard box, paint it, add a curtain rod, and your child will have a closet to store and find their favorite costumes easily.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can use cardboard boxes to create a cube storage shelf and add bins to store toys in a bedroom or playroom.

8. Put school papers in filing bins or baskets

Papers, papers, everywhere. Bins and boxes filled with collections of artwork and paperwork begin in preschool and don’t end until they leave for college. While some of the papers you’ll want to save and others are needed for studying, you’ll need to recycle or toss many more. If you decide to save, store them in filing bins or baskets designated for each child.

9. Create a neat workspace or craft corner with simple wall storage

To keep your kids’ desk surface clear or art supplies within reach, hang a small rod on the wall and use hooks to hang cups to store pens, pencils, scissors, and other supplies.

10. Utilize the space under your kids’ beds

Unused space underneath beds is a great place to store items that aren’t used often or are bulky. There are varying sizes of bins that fit perfectly beneath beds. It’s a perfect place to put clothing and toys, especially in smaller living spaces lacking storage.

For older children and teens who use electronic devices, designated charging stations reduce the clutter because it keeps all their devices in one place. Keep their video games and board games in bins underneath their beds.

11. Add baskets or cubbies near the front door for coats and backpacks

What about all those shoes, jackets, and backpacks that get tossed by the front door the minute your kids walk into the house? One way to declutter the front entry (or back room) from school stuff is, if there’s room, to add a coat hook to the wall and a bench with shoe storage. It’s a perfect solution to contain the things used daily.

12. Donate toys or clothes that your kids have outgrown

The Junkluggers removing boxes from home

The Junkuggers' local pros make it easy to declutter your home!

One of the best ways to keep the kids' clutter to a minimum is by occasionally sorting through toys and clothes and donating, recycling, or throwing away things that are broken, stained, outgrown, or no longer loved. Mom to Mom sales and charitable organizations, including Goodwill, will take your children’s gently used toys and make another family happy.

If you want to save time and labor, The Junkluggers can pick up old toys, furniture, or other junk items and either donate them to a local charity or recycle them.

The bottom line: Get creative, and don't wait to declutter!

There are simple and budget-friendly ways to control your kids' clutter. Get creative when organizing and storing your kids' toys or clothing. Before you run to the store or Amazon to buy storage furniture or accessories, look around your home for items you can repurpose. Sort through toys and clothing and get rid of some things to help you decide your kids' storage needs.

And this mess is so big, and so deep and so tall, we cannot pick it up. There is no way at all!

- Dr. Seuss

Feeling overwhelmed? Get help from The Junkluggers!

The good news is, there is a way! The Junkluggers make it easy to eliminate your kids' junk or other unwanted items in your home with same-day junk removal and a range of junk removal services — and your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed! Contact the Junkluggers near you to book your service.

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