5.5 min Read Time

Toy organizers are not all created equal! There are so many options out there and most of them are useless. Marketers play off of our desire to create a cute place to play so they focus on aesthetics and not function. I also see poorly designed toy organizers that have been around for years and keep getting replicated by other companies. I call that lazy product management. It is clear to me, as a former product manager, that the PM has never interacted with the product nor watched children use the product. They just don’t work.

Generally, when I show up at a client’s home to organize toys, I see lots of containers, things are all mixed together, and nothing is labeled. The toys are not stored in a way that gives the kids a chance to pick them up on their own because there is too much chaos and little structure. So let’s get to the meat of the toy organizer product comparisons!

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Product Comparison

The BAD Toy Organizers

Slanted Bin Toy Storage toy organizers
Ikea Toy Box toy organizers

Reason NOT to buy this one:

  1. Toy bins are usually on an angle increasing the chance of toys falling out
  2. Toy bins are on an angle reducing the amount of usable space
  3. If you place the bins flat, you get more usable space but the shelves are rails. This may be challenging for kids to manage without dumping the toys. Picture shown is a unit I organized and labeled. You would be better off simply using a bookshelf and containers of your choice

Reason NOT to buy this one:

  1. This is one big cavern so anything on the bottom will likely never be seen again
  2. Many toy boxes don’t have quality hinges so safety of fingers can be an issue. (This example is actually a big drawer so there are no finger concerns with this one)
cavernous toy organizers

Reason NOT to buy this one:

  1. These bins tend to be deep and sometimes dark. Stuff gets lost at the bottom
  2. Because almost the entire front is open, there is little usable space, unless you use it for stuffed animals or dolls
Flimsy Storage Unit toy organizers

Reason NOT to buy this one:

  1. These are flimsy and kids will destroy them quickly
Lego Brick Storage toy organizers
Matchbox Case toy organizers
Bookshelf Kids toy organizers

Reason NOT to buy this one:

  1. Cute but not any more functional than any bin with a lid
  2. This one is $68.99!
  3. Parents want to over organize Legos by color, etc., and kids don’t care. (Read my post on how to organize toys for thoughts on Legos.)

Reason NOT to buy this one:

  1. Kids are not likely to take the time to place each car in a cubby
  2. They tend to get broken quickly
  3. This one is $25 and the value is not there

Reason NOT to buy this one:

  1. These are cute but they hold so few books
  2. I see these jammed up with way too many books so the kids can’t see what is there
  3. In order for this one to be useful, I think the parents would need to keep the book count down and then rotate weekly. I’m guessing most people won’t do that

The GOOD Toy Organizers

Ikea Trofast Toy Storage toy organizers
Ikea Storage Crate Casters toy organizers
Pencil boxes

Reasons to LOVE this one:

  1. Very sturdy, especially the ones made of real wood
  2. Flexible and can be reconfigured
  3. Customizable

Buy Trofast storage at IKEA.

Reason to LOVE this one:

  1. Portable, which is handy for the littles if the toys are heavy
  2. You can purchase a lid for it also
  3. Sturdy and good for larger toys like blocks

Buy this rolling bin at IKEA

Reason to LOVE this one:

  1. Perfect for craft supplies and other small toys
  2. Easy for kids to open
  3. Little items won’t get lost in a large bin

Buy the colorful pencil boxes at IKEA or stock up on standard pencil boxes during back-to-school season.

Craft Lazy Susan toy organizers
Storage Book Bins toy organizers

Reason to LOVE this one:

  1. Provides easy access to frequently used craft or school supplies
  2. Perfect if you have a dedicated crafting or homework station

Buy this craft Lazy Susan on Amazon.com

Reason to LOVE this one:

  1. Stores coloring books, educational workbooks, and activity books upright so you can easily access the one you want
  2. Sturdier than cardboard magazine files
  3. Bins link together to provide stability
  4. Also works well for construction paper because it keeps the paper in better shape

Buy this magazine file at The Container Store.

Sword Storage toy organizers
Ball Storage toy organizing
Open Canvas Bins toy organizers

Reason to LOVE this one:

  1. Holds swords and light sabres upright so they take up less room

Buy this umbrella stand at The Container Store.

Reason to LOVE this one:

  1. Big enough to hold all the larger balls little kids play with
  2. Holds them upright so they take up less floor space

Buy this storage barrel at The Container Store.

Reason to LOVE this one:

  1. Comes in three sizes so small toys can have a smaller container
  2. Easy to label on two sides
  3. Frame is metal with a reinforced base so it is more sturdy than the standard “popup” containers
  4. Comes in neutral colors that won’t be an eyesore in your family room

Buy this storage bin at The Container Store.

If toys are out of control in your home, read my toy organizing blog posts for more ideas.

I have two quick top tips:

  1. LABEL everything! It’s the only way the system can be maintained. If your kids aren’t reading yet, create picture labels and secure them on the container with clear shelf paper or laminate them and hang them from the handle
  2. Place toys in positions that kids can reach and can manage the weight of the container. (i.e. Magnatiles go on the bottom shelf or in a rolling bin for easy access without lifting.)

Which products are your favorites? Please share in the comments!

Toys with photo labels toy organizers