boys room with star decals and cozy sheepskin rug

Anyone else in the organizing mood? If you’re like me, getting my kids’ rooms and play area organized is top of my priority list this month (that’s January for you!). It’s a case of new toys and old ones, clothes that are too small and books that seem to seep into every area of our home. That, and Marie Kondo, who’s motto of ‘tidy your space, transform your life’ seems to resonate loud and clear! Please tell me I’m not the only one!

children’s storage bench with toys


So, while we’re all thinking about getting things sorted, I thought it would be helpful to share some of my go-to places to shop for baskets and bins, and even the tiniest of containers which keep my client’s rooms and my own rooms neat and tidy.

I like to think about storage starting from large to small, with the obvious largest items being stored in closets and under bed drawers, which I’ve talked about how to conquer in a previous post. Once those areas are exhausted or the rooms don’t have those options, I use baskets, bins and all the way down to little containers for treasures that kids seem to love to have in sweet little bowls on their dressers and side tables. My kids collect rocks and a plethora of other weird and wonderful items, which I’m sure yours do too. Books are another story and I’ll address those in a later post, although board books are a great item for mid size baskets on the floor!


blue and rattan baskets with lids

Without a doubt, these baskets pull double duty on holding all the things, from blankets to diapers to large plastic toys while looking pretty on the outside. You can use them ANYWHERE and that is their beauty; they are covered and so a living room, playroom, nursery, even dining room corner is a perfectly acceptable (and great!) place to keep these. If you want to be the host that has everything cleaned up when guests come over (trust me, this is NOT me!), I’m sure these work well for papers, cords and laptops too ;)


Girls room dresser with storage basket

These are typically open baskets but still a large enough size for items such as blankets, diapers (next to change table for easy access), stuffed animals, and generally items you want to be able to reach easily. They are super versatile and easier to move around than the really large ones. Some clients prefer all open baskets and these ones are a few of my faves.


storage shelf with toys in kids room
kids playroom storage

The most popular size for a reason!!! From belly baskets to the 12” ones to fit all cube storage, everyday baskets house things your kids play with the most regularly. The baskets on the top shelf in the left photo are holding musical instruments that my client didn’t want her son to have access to at bedtime, but wanted a basket she could easily pull down for the times she was ready for her son to play music ;) In the photo on the right (our newest basement playroom), those baskets hold blocks, Magnatiles, large Legos, stacking cups, etc. The kids can choose whichever they like and also put them back (fingers crossed!).


wooden zebra toy
finger puppets in wood bowl

Like it or not, SO many kids seem to collect little treasures of the strangest sort. If you can dream it, I’ve seen it! As all parents know, kids will keep things wherever they want (no matter how hard we try!) but I find it helpful to provide at least a few options for their special things. This is where the little bowls and boxes come into play. If you have a spare drawer in a dresser, nightstand or even under the bed, it’s an ideal spot for these. If your little ones are anything like mine though, they take pride in their treasures being in the open on their shelves or on top of their dresser, and I know one day, I will miss seeing those little messy trinkets. :)

In case you like to PIN things for later, here are some of my favourite baskets and little bins for storage in children’s rooms.

storage baskets, bins and bowls for kids spaces


under stair nook


It doesn’t take long for a mama to realize that kids—and mainly, all their stuff—take up WAY more space than you might expect. Between toys and books, highchairs and art supplies, finding calm in the logistical chaos is no easy feat.

But rather than contain a child’s space to a single room, I’m always so inspired by families who embrace creative solutions with playful nooks and crannies throughout their home. Think cozy built-in benches, innovative toy storage, closets-turned nursery spaces, and more. Not only are these clever crannies fun for kids, but they help maximize every square inch of your home.

So whether you’re a city family tight on space or just looking to infuse some whimsy in your current layout, design a few unexpected hideaways for the kiddos and you’ll have the coolest house on the block—guaranteed.

Built-in Bed
Work around slanted ceilings with an adorable bed build right into the wall. Space dilemmas, solved!

nook bed in kids room


Sneaky Toy Storage
Your home’s nooks and crannies make the perfect hiding spot for toys. I love how this space cleverly disguises storage underneath a window bench.

kids storage bins under a window bench


Nursery Hideaway
This master bedroom doubles as a nursery by converting the closet to a darling nook for baby. Add some wallpaper, shelving, a mini crib, and voila!  

closet nursery nook


Book Reading Bench
Imagine how much fun your little ones would have crawling into a bench just their size. Toss in a few comfy pillows and you’ve got the ultimate reading spot for their imaginations to run wild.

simple reading bench


Kid-Sized Seating
Don’t let dead space go to waste! Include a playful seating nook in your child’s bedroom where they can lounge, read, or dream up their next big idea.

paint defines kids nook


Any specific nooks or crannies pique your interest? I’d love to hear what clever hideaways you have tucked inside your home!


shared baby and toddler boys room

image from rafa + leo's room

Do you find it hard to keep your kids toys tidy? Are they sprawled all over the floor and do you feel overwhelmed by the mess? Storage is SO important in the way our homes function and I thought it might be helpful to walk you through some key ways to keep the crazy stuff kids need (and often don’t need) under control in a way that is both functional and pretty too.

Back in the day (aka pre-kids), I used to have a tidy house. I remember feeling organized with a tidy kitchen, papers organized, clothes hung up and everything else hidden neatly away. I remember managing with a basket of toys and an orderly house with 6-month-old twins...AND THEN THEY BECAME TODDLERS!!! Even if you are of the more minimalist nature, with kids comes STUFF! If you were organized in the baby stage, wait until you have toddlers! With toddlers comes clothes, toys, books, gear, artwork, more clothes, more toys, more books and more and more stuff. One of the first questions my clients ask is, “how are we going to store all of the stuff that we have accumulated with the kids?" I tell them that there is a way. That we will find a way. So much so, that we will test my five minute rule when the room is done (keep reading). 

In my own home and in the rooms I design, I like to use the five-minute rule: Can the room be cleaned up in five minutes or less? If yes, then storage is doing its job well.

Here are my top 5 ways to store things in kids rooms. 

1. Use shelves:

bookshelves in a kids room

image from xavier's room

Wherever possible, use the vertical space you have on the walls. Think about whether there is space above a window, even under a window, or a wall where a shelf could fit. With so many options for shelving, you can choose simple slim shelves like the ones above for books and toys (from IKEA) or deeper shelves that can be used to store almost anything, like the ones below left. Making use of the vertical space a room has will mean fewer toys to trip over. You can style shelves so many ways too and change what’s stored on them with the changing needs of your little one. I particularly love the vertical shelf below as it has both open and closed storage space meaning that you can still keep a few things hidden while allowing little ones to see and pull out the toys that they want to play with.

Oeuf vertical shelf in vancouver kids room
ubabub shelves in vancouver kids room

images from leo + rafa's room

2. Use baskets, baskets, baskets!

shared children's room
girls room

By now you probably know that I add baskets of some sort to almost all of the rooms I design. They are so incredibly versatile to quickly store larger toys or stuffed animals and if you pop a lid on top, you won’t even see the mess! I love baskets so much that I have an entire board devoted to them over on Pinterest where you can find lots of suggestions for pretty and practical storage, baskets and bins.

3. Make the most of the closet

monika hibbs closet.jpg

image via Monika Hibbs

This may seem obvious but there is so much you can store in a PROPERLY organized and space maximized closet. The key is to have space allocated for folded items, a few drawers, hanging space and space that you can store items you use infrequently up high (ideally all the way to the ceiling). Of course bars for hanging clothes at the right height (if your child dresses themselves) is necessary too. If you don't have a dresser, using baskets for socks, tights, etc works well right in the closet. The main benefit is that you can just close the doors!!! ;)

4. Double (or triple!) task your dresser

Ella dresser and mirror IG.jpg

image from Ella's room

A dresser is a key piece of furniture for more than just clothes! If you are having a baby, I often recommend saving on a change table and buying a dresser that can last through the years. The top drawer is perfect for diapers, wipes, any lotions or wash clothes. The middle drawer can then have lots of folded clothes and I recommend using the bottom drawer for toys that a child can access themselves and which you can simply close the drawer on! It's a simple system that seems to work really well for lots of clients. The hanging items then go neatly in the closet and linens, etc can be stored in their too.

5. Add hooks

bookshelf and hooks in girls room

Hooks are an easy way to encourage children to clean up by themselves (hurray!) and for you to find a place for loose items with a strap. It is handy to have a few at child height for items such as sweaters, morning robes, bags, dress up clothes, toy cameras, backpacks, etc. Any toy with a strap can be hung on them too.

A well organized room should be able to be tidied away in 5 minutes of less. Quickly pop books back on the shelves, bigger toys go in the covered bins, clothes in the dresser and closet, blocks and smaller toys in open baskets on shelves with little accessories hung up. This is a great system for little ones to start when they are young and learn and grow into with guidance. 

I'd love to hear of any other ways that you manage storage in your kids room. Tell me in the comments below.

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