5 hidden toy storage ideas – how to make tidy up time quick and easy at the end of a busy day

How to store and organise your children’s playful mess for a neat and tidy family home

A living room with a white metal bookshelf displaying photos and decor, along with wicker storage baskets with a wooden rocking chair next to it
(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

Children have a habit of making their presence known by spreading their toys all across the house, among other things. So before you know it, it can start feeling like you’re living in a nursery. That’s why you need to incorporate some hidden toy storage ideas to be able to easily put away your little ones’ play things so that they are out of sight when they’re not being played with.

These toy storage ideas are the much needed clever solutions to that playful mess all kids tend to leave behind. They will allow you to store their toys in an organised, orderly fashion once your kids go to bed but still have easy access to them when your little ones get up in the morning again. All the while still having a neat, tidy and aesthetically pleasing home that you can enjoy, too.

1. Utilise space behind doors

Transparent floating shelves displaying toy action figures

(Image credit: Future PLC/Brett Charles)

When looking for toy storage ideas for small living rooms, utilising every little nook and cranny is the way to go. And that includes spaces and areas you might usually overlook – like the little gap behind the door.

‘Don’t forget to utilise the space behind doors,’ says Victoria Fearnley, founder of Surrey Decluttering and APDO (Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers) member. ‘Although more often used for shoes, these pockets would be great for dolls or action figures too.’

Some super slim shelves for the wall like these ones from Amazon would be perfect for a spot like this one.

2. Contain toys in one room

A children's room with a white IKEA chest of drawers, floating shelves displaying books, Kartell bedside table and a single turquoise bed

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

While wanting to hide toys out of sight in the majority of the house is more than understandable, it’s also important for your kids to have a space of their own where they and their toys can roam a bit more freely. Your children’s room is the perfect place for that. And centring the majority of their toys in this one spot is a clever and easy way to keep them relatively hidden when guests come over.

‘Sometimes it’s easiest keeping all of the toys in one room or area, still in an organised fashion but contained,’ says Siân Pelleschi, owner of Sorted! and APDO president. ‘It’s important to recognise that, while you may be the adult in the house, it’s also still a child’s home and they need to feel as if they have a space that belongs to them also.’

Portrait of an expert
Siân Pelleschi

Siân Pelleschi is the owner of Sorted!, a Cheshire-based home and office decluttering and organising service, and the current President of APDO - the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers. With Sorted!, she aims to take away the stress and hassle that everyday life can sometimes bring, both in your home and working environment.

3. Use multifunctional pieces of furniture

Dunelm Beatrice Two Tone Woven Stripe Large Storage Footstool

(Image credit: Dunelm)

Much like when it comes to small living room storage ideas, investing in multifunctional pieces of furniture that double as storage will make your life easier in the long run. Whether that’s a storage ottoman that you also use as a coffee table and a footstool or a sofa with built-in storage, all of that extra space is the ideal destination for your children’s toys when they’re not in use.

‘Using furniture that has built-in storage is a great way to save space and utilise what would otherwise be unused,’ Siân says.

Lovevery The Playshelf

(Image credit: Lovevery)

Victoria agrees, ‘By buying and using clever furniture that doubles up as storage you will be able to hide away some of the toys. Think sleek drawers under the bed, seating with lift-up bases and tables with hidden compartments.’

There are even specialised pieces of furniture designed with built-in hidden toy storage like the Lovevery Playshelf. ‘The Playshelf from Lovevery makes for simple organisation in a modern birchwood design,’ says Gabrielle Felman, Lovevery director of child development. ‘The open shelving in the front displays the optimal number of toys at a time while built-in hidden storage allows for easy cleanup (and less clutter), making it the perfect spot for additional toys to live until they’re called upon again.’

4. Dedicate cupboard and drawer space

A storage cupboard next to a dining table with a blackboard on the door and labelled storage baksets on the shelves

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jan Baldwin)

Putting your kids’ toys away in a dedicated cupboard or drawers of a sideboard might not be the most ground-breaking of ideas but it’s effective nonetheless.

‘If you have younger children, toys may migrate to areas close to the kitchen, as that may be where you can keep a better eye on them. In this case, allocate a cupboard or add a storage cube or box for the toys that are to be played with in this area,’ Victoria suggests.

Siân agrees, as long as you label everything, ‘Cupboard spaces are best if you’re going down the route of hidden and out of sight – but always label clearly as not everyone will always know what lives where.’

5. Invest in storage baskets

A living room with a white metal bookshelf displaying photos and decor, along with wicker storage baskets with a wooden rocking chair next to it

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Wicker baskets are without a doubt the most stylish storage solution you could add to your home. And storing your children’s toys in these chic storage units, whether that’s on open shelving or elsewhere, means you can basically hide them in plain sight.

‘Use solutions like wicker baskets,’ says Laura Haddy, founder of Clear the Chaos and APDO member. ‘These can be beautiful yet functional. Or use a large laundry basket for soft toys, adding a natural and cosy look to the room.’

But even if you have a cupboard in which you can store the toys, it’s still useful to add wicker baskets into the equation. ‘If you have a cupboard or chest, then you can store your toys there, bringing out what you need into a basket. But remember, children engage with their toys when they have less to distract them,’ says Mel Carruthers, founder of More Organised and APDO member.

Add to basket

Now you can reclaim your hope from the grasp of your children’s mess while also respecting your kids’ space and play needs.

Content Editor

Sara Hesikova has been a Content Editor at Ideal Home since June 2024, starting at the title as a News Writer in July 2023. Sara brings the Ideal Home’s readership features and news stories from the world of homes and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more, focusing on all things room decor, specialising in living rooms, bedrooms, hallways, home offices and dining rooms. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.