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How To Get Your Playroom Organized and Toy Clutter Under Control

These simple tips and ideas will help you to organize and declutter all the toys, games and other bits and pieces in your kids playroom, making it easier to find everything and put everything back in its place – and finally be able to keep the clutter under control for good!

How to finally get your playroom organized and ditch toy clutter forever - a collage of organization ideas such as a shelf and storage cubes in the background

Toy Organization

This post is sponsored by The Container Store but all thoughts & opinions are my own!

The purge and organize bug is strong this year. And boy, did our kids’ playroom badly need to be tackled. Not only was it overflowing with toy clutter but we had run out of storage and nothing was getting put back into its right place. When that happens, toys get thrown aside, broken and forgotten about.

Messy playroom in need of toy organization

The first step to organizing a playroom is to evaluate the toys you have. Before Christmas, we did a massive toy purge. It took an entire weekend. Thanks to very generous grandparents and four years of birthday parties, we’ve built quite toy collection. But did we still need all of them? Absolutely not.

The first thing I did was find all the bits of broken toys and games with missing pieces. Those went in the trash. Second, I pulled out all the baby toys that Conor no longer plays with and put those into a storage tote that went up into the attic in case we have another baby down the road. And finally, we made a donate pile of gently-loved (or barely used) toys that could get a new home.

These are the steps to get your playroom organized once and for all

That considerably paired down the amount of toys that were in the playroom to an amount that I knew we could handle. We also made a new rule going forward – we are doing “fiver” birthday parties.

This is basically where a five dollar bill is placed inside the birthday card in lieu of a physical gift. That way our birthday boy can chose a gift or two of his liking at the store and it helps contain the amount of unused toys that come into the house.

We were also very conscious about what Santa brought this year and limited the boys’ “asks” to one big gift and a small gift (or a surprise). We will never limit books or craft supplies but you can only have some many toy garbage trucks in one house (Cian may or may not already own 7 of them!).

What To Put In The Playroom

  • Storage Cubes and Toy Bins: In my opinion, the best storage for a playroom is cube storage units. I love the fact that you can put totes, baskets or crates into them and the toys are instantly hidden. It’s a really easy solution for keeping a playroom looking decluttered and organized. Whether your playroom is small or big, you’ll be able find a storage cube that works for you.
  • Book Ledges: These are perfect for displaying books for younger kids who can’t yet read. Being able to see the front cover means they quickly know what they want and are more likely to grab a book than when they can only see the spine.
  • Floor cushions: Floor cushions encourage kids to get comfy with their books!
  • Shelves: Whether floating or with brackets, shelves are an easy solution for displaying artwork or objects and even if you just need to keep certain things out of reach (markers, etc.).
  • Kid-sized table & chairs: These are perfect for drawing, doing puzzles or having a tea-party!
  • Adult-sized seating: Even if it’s just a single armchair, it’s a good idea to have some adult seating too. Grandparents who find it difficult to sit on the floor for long periods of time will thank you for it!

How I Finally Organized Our Toys and Playroom

Unfortunately, my old cube storage unit was not hacking it any more. Despite being 9 years old,  it was still in decent shape but the bins that went into it were so deep that the kids would end up pulling out every single toy to get to one little thing. So, I decided that a cube storage unit that held smaller little totes would be better since they could more easily see what’s inside.

Toy organization using cubbies and small fabric totes with labels

Interested in more home organization posts?


If you’ve been following this entire process on Instagram, you’ll already know that I ended up getting the Clybourn units from The Container Store. I got two of the short ones and one tall one. That made 12 cubes in all just along that wall which should be plenty of storage for their toys for the foreseeable future. The furniture was simple to put together and the striped rugby totes that I got match the decor in my playroom perfectly!

Playroom organization ideas for toddlers

I whole-heartedly believe in the importance of teaching kids to clean up after themselves early on in life. It’s a great life lesson that will stand to them as they grow older. In order to make this as easy as possible for little kids, I suggest adding picture labels to their toy bins. Dare I say that this may be my favorite hack ever as it doesn’t require me to lift a finger!

Organizing toys on a budget

I’ve created this set of toy bin labels that you are welcome to download and edit as you please. They are index-card sized so they will fit perfectly on the Bin Clip Labels from The Container Store. While neither of my kids can read (they are 4 and almost 2), the picture labels are enough for my 4 year old to be able to put away all his toys in the correct spot AND for him to be easily able to find whatever toy he wants. I made sure to also add words because they will eventually become sight words for him as he begins to read over the next few years. Who knew putting toys away could also be educational!

If you are on a budget but want to get the biggest bang for your buck when decluttering and organizing your playroom, definitely invest in cube storage and some labels. I promise they will save your sanity! 

Playroom ideas that will work for both boys and girls

You can see that I also chose to add a floating shelf above the the cube units. This was mostly for decor as we don’t actually do any art down here (carpet!!) but it gets the markers and pencils out of my kitchen and reminds my kids that it’s another activity that we can do. The “glass” canisters are in fact acrylic so they are perfect for a kids’ playroom. This is the medium sized but they come in a larger size, too, that would be perfect for storing blocks, little toys or loose lego pieces.

Inexpensive playroom ideas

Finally, I can’t forget to mention the little drawers along the top of the cube units. These are full of Lego, Lincoln Logs and magnetic wooden blocks. Since the drawers are clear I didn’t bother labelling them – Cian can see exactly what’s inside and just grabs the whole drawer and brings it to the floor or the table when it wants to play with them. Similarly, it’s easy for him to put everything away when he’s done.

How to set up a playroom for toddlers

Moving on to my favorite part of the entire playroom – our little reading nook. Isn’t it adorable?

Small space toddler reading nook DIY

It’s not really a “nook” per say but I created a little area that really makes the boys want to sit down and read a book. I used these 2 foot ledges as well as this pretty removable wallpaper that I got on Etsy.

How to make a simple toddler reading nook
Reading corner ideas for a toddler

The whole thing took me an hour to do from start to finish and I just love how it turned out! I’m going to rotate the books every few weeks and add in seasonal ones, too. I’ve already noticed a huge difference in how often they want to read during the day, which I’m so happy about!

These baskets make great toy storage whether they are in a playroom or living room

I love these belly baskets for storing soft animals and other toys that won’t fit into bins (like my boys’ golf clubs, guitars and larger “tools”). They flatten down into a small basket when you don’t need the full large size and would be a great option for other parts of the house for a place to quickly put away toys.

Learn how to control toy clutter with these clever ideas

I  also want to share what we did with our old storage cube. Originally I thought I was going to have to sell or donate it, but luckily it perfectly in the back corner of the playroom.

Playroom toy organization hacks

It’s the perfect spot for the HUGE trucks that Cian and Conor have that will never fit into a cute little storage tote. It’s also the perfect spot for storing all their jigsaws and puzzles. I found these large zipped pouches that their puzzles fit nicely into and now I don’t need to worry about broken boxes and missing pieces! Possibly my favorite discovery from the Container Store! They match my color scheme to boot, how awesome is that! I just popped them right into these toy bins that I already had since they are deeper than the new ones and a better fit for large puzzle boxes.

Playroom toy organization hacks and storage ideas
Wooden cube inserts holding zippered bags of puzzle pieces, with a label on the outside \"Puzzles\"

Do you see those white boxes up there? Well that’s where I’m storing the kids’ artwork.

DIY playroom storage ideas

Conor doesn’t have much right now but Cian comes home with something from pre-school every single day. And while I’m not keeping ALL of it, the special pieces get stored in there. These art boxes are really large so even his biggest masterpieces fit!

A beige and blue striped sofa, with beige throw pillows and a thick blue blanket

Finally, this wouldn’t be a Jenna space without a little DIY. I’ve wanted somewhere to display my kids’ artwork for some time so I came up with this quick and simple display for it.

A child\'s playroom with a small table and two chairs, a wooden train table and various artwork hanging on a wooden display
A wooden artwork hanger with the words \"Look what we made\", and a clothes line and pegs holding colorful artwork

I’ll share the tutorial for it next week (it’s already saved to my Instagram highlights if you can’t wait!) but it’s basically just a scrap piece of wood with some letters stuck on and string attached. The artwork hangs on the string with mini pegs. So simple but so cute!

A trio paintings of construction vehicles on the wall, with a toy work bench nearby

Thats’s it! Our fully organized and decluttered kids playroom thanks to The Container Store.  I’m so happy that the kids are playing more with their toys as a result of our efforts and now are able to clean up after themselves, too. That makes for a less-stressed and very happy mama!

How to set up a playroom for toddlers that's organized and free of clutter

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