Thrifty Thursday - Thrifty Toy Storage - Guest Post from Under the Big Oak Tree

Today we have Alison from Under the Big Oak Tree sharing an idea for toy storage that uses what you already have. If you have kids, you probably have more toys than you know what to do with. Alison has a great solution. Alison blogs about life as a mom and frugal and healthy meals that she shares with her family. Please check her out and get some yummy meal ideas.

I've probably mentioned more than once that Grace's toys have taken over the house.  Grace likes to dump all her toys out onto the floor.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that's what she thinks is the purpose of toys. 

Just the other night, I heard her singing "clean up, clean up" and was thrilled to see that watching me clean up has finally caught on.  That thrill was short-lived.  As soon as she cleaned up the last piece, she dumped it all back out!


I realized that all of Grace's toys, books and stuffed animals are stored in toy boxes, bins and baskets in which she has full access.  No lids.  A year and a half ago, I was convinced that this 12-bin storage unit would be the perfect solution to our toy problem.

As soon as nap time is over, this:

Turns to this: 

It's beyond frustrating.  Some days, I don't even see the point in picking it all up. 

Since the time that these photos were taken, the amount of toys in our home has more than tripled; and so has my frustration. 

Over the summer, I decided to put some of Grace's favorite mess making toys into recycled containers with lids.  These clear tubs, that once held bulk sized portions of cheese balls or pretzel rods, now hold Grace's pretend food and dishes for her toy kitchen.

These tubs fit nicely on the top shelf of the closet in Grace's room.  Even if they weren't stored so high in her closet, Grace would still need help with removing the lids.  She can play with them when she asks, not just every time she feels like dumping them on the floor.

Since then, I've started adding other small toys to similar snack tubs.  We've asked family and friends to save their tubs for us, so we've had a pretty regular supply of them coming in over the months.

Usually, I peel off the labels, but sometimes, when I'm really desperate, I don't even bother removing them! 

Smaller plastic containers work well, too.  For Christmas, Santa put a cute little set of plastic bugs in Grace's stocking.  I wanted to get her a plastic bug box from the dollar store for her new little buggie friends to live in, but they are more of a seasonal (spring/summer) item.  As I was about to throw away an empty mayonnaise jar, I remembered catching fireflies and putting them into empty jars! 

I washed out the jar and peeled off the label and gave her buggies a new home!  Perfect!

Some labels are easier to remove than others.  After picking and peeling and scraping for a while, I asked Joe to pick up a bottle of Goo Gone.  I won't deny that it worked, but I wasn't thrilled with the smell.  I had a headache and sore throat from breathing in the fumes. 

I knew there had to be a better way to remove the sticky labels, so I looked online and found that a hair dryer is a great, chemical-free solution for removing the labels!  So easy and no chemical odors!

Now, don't get me wrong.  We still have issues with toy storage and we're still trying to teach Grace that she should treat her toys nicely and put them away when she's finished playing with them, but for now, we've gained a little control of the smaller and sometimes more annoying items. 

Now wasn't that a great solution to something that plagues all us moms? Oh course this means I will have to start consuming large quantities of snack food.  What won't I do for the kids? Thank you Alison! Please visit Alison at Under the Big Oak Tree. I know you will enjoy her blog as much as I do.  Here are some of my favorite posts from Alison's blog:

Zesty Chicken Salsa Muffins
Angel's Fantastic Frosting
Make the Most Out of Limited Cabinet Space



  1. Just found your blog!! this is an Awesome idea!!

  2. What a great idea. I really could have used this idea a couple years ago.

  3. Hi Vicky!! Great idea to recycle containers....They are perfect for all those little toys. I'm a new follower. Thanks for visiting my blog!


  4. I have a tub of little toys that I keep for wee ones who visit - or the little grandkids. I've collected them from Happy Meals back when they had decent toys to collect - and also some from Goodwill (which I thoroughly wash and bleach before adding to the bin.) BTW, I know it's frustrating when the toys are all over, but playing truly is a little one's work. It helps to remember that...usually. LOL

  5. Skin so soft from Avon works really well to remove the stickky glue from labels too. (and smells much better)

  6. i love reusing containers for toy and craft storage, too! inexpensive and recycled- right up my alley!

  7. Hi there! I tagged you in a little game over on my blog. Go check it out! :]

  8. Thanks everyone! I know I will be trying Alison's idea.

  9. I end up with everything jumbled up in a toy bag. This is so much better.

  10. I've been telling myself I'm going to do something like this for a while now. I really need to just get off my butt and make it happen. My oldest son's room has toy tubs too and his room looks just the same. Turned over tubs and toys everywhere. *sigh*