Toy storage – bags, boxes and baskets

Our house is never ever super tidy, but I do like everything to have a home. Whether everything is ever in it’s home at the same time is another matter, but at least there’s potential – that’s what I tell myself anyway. The older I get, the more I don’t like clutter and I enjoy having regular clear outs. I like to know exactly where things are and it makes it so much easier when the kids are trying to look for something. I’m fine with embracing (just about) any amount of mess and chaos during the day, but come evening – I like toys to be away and out of sight.

den buliding

The area dedicated to toys in our home is rather small, but I don’t ever feel like the boys get bored if we end up staying in for a couple of days. I’ve noticed that too much choice can be a bad thing, as children can get overwhelmed. I feel that playgroup, nursery, visits to grandparents and play dates provides lots of opportunity for variety, so having a small space for toys at home isn’t a problem. I’m interested to see how this changes as they get older though, or if we have a daughter one day.

toy chest

Like most parents, I suspect, I had a clear out after Christmas and assessed what they play with and what they don’t. I sent lots of bits to the charity shop and then rearranged everything. The inside of the toy box is kept relatively tidy and I love using baskets to separate types of toys. Baskets also means that it is really easy for them to get toys out by themselves, rather than me having to get everything out for them each time.

toy baskets kapla

The boys have a few toys in their room – mainly jigsaws and puzzles, as they don’t tend to play in their room unless I’m upstairs. I find that they like to play close to wherever I am, which took me a long time to get used to. Similar to when I’m on the toilet, and one (or both) of them always seems to find an excuse to come upstairs and tell me something. I’m sure (and hope) this will change as they get older, but for now, I try and embrace it!


Win was never interested in soft toys as a baby, but I hung on to most of them because I thought they would come in useful for tea parties and creative play. I’m really glad I did, because Ru is a huge soft toy lover. He loves putting them to bed, feeding them, reading to them and carrying around the house. I made some little bags in the spare bedroom to keep them in, so they have a home but are always accessible. It was an idea I got from Pinterest. It’s nothing fancy, but it does the job.

toy bags

The bookcase I upcycled with Laura Ashley has evolved into a little café. At the moment it is in the spare bedroom and they love playing with it in the morning before we head downstairs. This will just become a bookcase once the boys are older and have lost interest.

laura ashley

With regards to art and crafts – I never want it to be a huge operation (or heart sinking moment) when the boys want to paint, draw or stamp, so everything is kept on a few shelves in the kitchen. Win can get the pens down whenever he likes and he knows where to find the roll of paper. I really didn’t plan on putting up lots of artwork in the kitchen, but it quickly became apparent that I couldn’t have my way. I’ve allotted the fridge to Winston for his artwork and he knows that if it won’t fit on there, then he can’t have it up. I’ll often find him stood on a chair rearranging the pieces he wants on show.

For Christmas I bought Win a watercolour paint tin and has been so brilliant. I wish I had bought one before – they are so much more convenient than the big tubes of washable paint and he loves that he has so many colours instantly. It is far less messy which is a huge plus for parents.


Before I had children I didn’t think that keeping on top of a home would be such a continuous task, or that toys could take over your whole house if you let them – they get everywhere!

Win is going to receive some Lego from Jared and I for his fourth birthday – I feel like we’re entering a whole new stage of parenting…almost like a milestone that needs celebrating.

E xx



  1. 21st January 2016 / 9:38 pm

    You have such great ideas for storage. I hadn’t thought of putting train track into a basket and that up cycled bookcase is just so cute! x

    • Esther
      22nd January 2016 / 10:35 pm

      Thanks Donna! You are so kind xx

  2. 27th January 2016 / 2:51 pm

    Your last comment about Lego made me smile… our house has got a LOT more chaotic since the advent of Lego a few years ago. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s a complete nightmare and gets EVERYWHERE! Gone are my stylish baskets and now we have millions of plastic crates of Lego. Argh. Anyway, enough about me… I love how you’ve got things arranged. I’m a big fan of blanket boxes (in fact I was just planning a post about them!) – they’re so versatile and look great. x #HomeEtc

    • Esther
      29th January 2016 / 9:34 pm

      Oh no! I don’t think I’m ready for the nightmare that is Lego. Maybe the opposite of a celebration is in order on my side? My husband is so excited though. I love blanket boxes too – so handy! xx

  3. Nancy Straughan
    27th January 2016 / 4:06 pm

    I really love baskets as storage in the home, especially the sewn rope baskets you see all over pinterest! Can’t beat a vintage trunk either šŸ™‚ Discovered your post via the Home Etc link up this week.

    • Esther
      29th January 2016 / 9:34 pm

      I know the ones you mean – they’re lovely! Thanks for your comment xx

  4. Lisa@intotheglade
    27th January 2016 / 7:33 pm

    It is a continual task that never seems to stop, even as they get older the mess seems to be the same just different things ha! I love your Pinterest bags, they look fab. Good luck with the Lego, I remember stepping on many small pieces lurking in rugs ha! X

    • Esther
      29th January 2016 / 9:36 pm

      Thank you! Oh the mess…and stepping on Lego does not sound fun! Starting to doubt if I’m ready for it. Haha xx

  5. 27th January 2016 / 8:48 pm

    I love storage baskets, I find that my twin girls find tidying up their toys if they have baskets for things. I just need something to put all the teddies in! I love the cute little bookcase.

    • Esther
      29th January 2016 / 9:37 pm

      Exactly! It does make it so much easier for kids if they know where things are supposed to go xx

  6. 27th January 2016 / 9:55 pm

    Not at all what the post is about Esther but I’ve just noticed the wildilfe folder you have at the bottom of the bookshelf I had as a child! I think my Nana still has it at her house along with the dinosaur version my brother collected šŸ™‚ I love that you have one too! Your bookcases are lovely. I love these little corners of your home, most of our toys are downstairs but I have started to put a few more things in Lucas’ room, he has underbed storage tubs filled with Lego and Playmobil and likes to have some quiet time without his brothers pestering playing with them. I’m going to look out for a watercolour paint tin, what a great idea! xx #HomeEtc

    • Esther
      29th January 2016 / 9:38 pm

      It was my husband’s from when he was little Hayley. His mum was clearing out and he couldn’t part with it. I’m going to have to find a place to keep the Lego before we buy it…otherwise it will be EVERYWHERE!!! x

  7. 28th January 2016 / 12:14 pm

    Those baskets are a good idea, aren’t you clever! I still need to have a huge clear out. we have far too many toys in the house and I couldn’t agree more about the problem of them having too much choice. I think the volume of toys we have in our house at the moment is overwhelming for them. Not to mention stressful for me!!

    I expect you are feeling much more pregnant now, time is flying by, wont be long until your newest addition is here! I hope you are feeling well and full of energy, although I realise full of energy may be a little optimistic in pregnancy!! xxx

    • Esther
      29th January 2016 / 9:41 pm

      Clear outs are amazing!…just not when the kids are around! My son got so upset about a horrendous tacky bus that I was dying to get rid of. We still have it…but one day it will mysteriously disappear (!)
      Yes! I’m feeling very pregnant and I’m getting really excited for the baby to be here. Sometimes I get panicky that I’ll have three with such different demands…but too late for that. Energy is ok actually – most of the time. Thanks Kerry xxx

  8. 28th January 2016 / 1:11 pm

    Storage really is key when you have kids, we have so much Ikea storage but I hate how lifeless it feels, I love your home and your storage.
    We to have our crafts in the Kitchen so it can be reached at all times as it is my daughters favourite thing to do x

    • Esther
      29th January 2016 / 9:42 pm

      Thank you Kara. Ikea is brill for storage! It does make crafts so much easier if it’s all there doesn’t it? xx

  9. 29th January 2016 / 10:56 pm

    Such great ideas, we don’t have kids but I swear our dog creates so much mess with all her toys we could do with some of these ideas! Well done on coming up with some creative ideas for keeping it tidy X #HomeEtc

    • Esther
      6th February 2016 / 7:01 pm

      Thanks Lins! xx

  10. Jemma@listoflovelythings
    30th January 2016 / 2:36 pm

    Lego is the very definition of chaos! Love your beautiful cupboards though. Will be trying out some of your clever ideas.

    • Esther
      6th February 2016 / 7:01 pm

      Thanks Jemma xx

  11. 2nd February 2016 / 8:06 pm

    Hello Esther! Thanks so much for linking up with us! My house was hit with the dreaded winter sick bug last week so Iā€™m so behind with my comments. Just catching up now! I absolutely LOVE your storage ideas!! We seem to have lots of storage in the home but the twins have yet to understand what it’s for!! They think it’s fun to empty it all out, rather than put it al away!! šŸ˜‰

    PS #HomeEtc is live tomorrow from 6.30am xx

  12. Esther
    6th February 2016 / 7:04 pm

    Thank you Caro! xx

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