The Toy Closet

Rooms with Kids

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An unexpected surprise when I had kids was realizing how much I love kids toys. Not the loud, plastic ones, but the cute ones. The ones that encourage imaginative play and the ones that my kids get excited about and make up stories with. But something I don’t love is the lack of a playroom to store {and attempt to contain} the toys. If I’m not careful, many toys will end up all over our main living/dining/entry area.

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I was thinking about converting our long closet under the stairs into a play closet, but when I saw this Young House Love article about taking a closet and making it into a toy library, I was sold. I put all the toys the kids don’t play with on a daily basis in there with a rule only one toy removed at a time. So far, the closet has been a huge success in keeping the toys contained and organized. Plus, the kids seem to play with a variety of toys since everything is so organized.

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First, I gathered all the toys I knew would go into the space and grouped them by type. Puzzles, dress-up, art supplies, etc. all had their own pile. This was especially important to figure out what I could get rid of and also what type of storage I would need.

I took two half bookcases from another part of our house and placed them in an L at the back of the closet. Things that stacked easily, like board games and puzzles, went on these shelves.

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I also made a trip to my local liquor store and asked if I could purchase the milk crates they had sitting along the side of their building. To my surprise, they gave them to me for free! Check out local liquor stores for some great storage options!

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The milk crates store a toy bowling set, musical instruments, and a hodgepodge of toys that don’t have a good home.

A wire basket from The Land of Nod holds balls perfectly.

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The left wall of the closet I dedicated completely to dress-up and art supplies.

My husband built a long shelf to hold the paper dispenser and a few other crafting items.

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He also included hooks under the shelf and I hung tin buckets filled with crayons, stickers, paints, and markers.

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The shelf is actually hung higher than my kids’ current height, so I could monitor the art supplies closely. We’re at that lovely stage where painting doors is so much fun!

Below the shelf, I installed small coat hooks and hung the favorite dress-up costumes and accessories.

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Above the art supplies, my husband hung a wall mount of hooks for all the purses, glasses, fairy wings, and other dress-up items that accumulate over time. The reason we didn’t do a wall mount for the actual costumes was because I wanted to position the hooks further apart.

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Small nails in the wall above the costumes and beside them are for hats

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I still needed the closet to actually be a coat closet, so on the wall opposite the dress-up/art station, we have rows of hooks and nails for our coats, hats, backpacks, and bags.

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Having the closet do double duty works surprisingly well. The dress-up wall is especially fun for young visitors, as almost everyone can find some combination of costumes for play.

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