Toy storage I’m NOT a fan of……

My son had this toy storage container in his room. I actually didn’t mind it when he was a baby because well his toys were smaller then. Now that he is a toddler you can maybe fit one of his trucks, trains or balls into one of those teeny tiny buckets. It just doesn’t justify the space it takes up for the amount of storage it will contain. So I’ve got it sitting in my basement right now just sitting there empty. I don’t want to get rid of it yet because my son is still using the matching bookcase and eventually when I sell them I’d like to sell them as a set.

So here are my questions of the day for you:

1. What is your opinion on these type of toy storage bins?

2. Do you use them for anything other than toys?

3. Do you think I should just get rid of it now and forget selling the pair as a set?

Filed under: Containerizing, Kid Stuff, Organizing Solutions


72 Responses to Toy storage I’m NOT a fan of……

  1. 1
    Dana D says

    Keep it! I ran into the same problem with one in my son’s room, but now am glad I kept it! His has 9 bins, 6 that are shoebox size and 3 that are double shoesbox size.

    When he wasn’t using it, I put it at our back door entry and it worked great to hold shoes. (It wasn’t “pretty”, but it did the job and was free!)

    Now that he’s 9, and adores Legos, it’s back in his room. The 6 smaller bins hold random Legos pieces sorted by him in catagories for building (like wheels, moveable/bendable, base pieces, and some by color- he has his own method of sorting). The large bins hold Legos that he has built and doesn’t want to take apart.

    I helped him do a little of the organizing and bought 4 plastic pencil boxes when school-items were on clearance. I paid about 0.15/each. Those 4 boxes fit vertically in one of the small bins. They hold the tiny lego pieces like men, discs, and other tiny bits.

    Hope this helps! Dana D

  2. 2
    Anonymous says

    Legos! These bins are wonderful for those and the assembly paperwork that comes with the sets. Also good for collections such as seashells or rocks.

  3. 3
    Charlotte says

    We have a 12 bin set in 4 colors, each color holds a different kind of materials, one houses our library books so they dont disappear.
    One holds All of my daughters art supplies (playdough, pencils, crayons, and the tools for the playdough)
    One holds her pieces for her Lincoln Logs (so she can see what sizes she is after)
    The last color has smaller toys that she loves to play with, she has pull back cars, happy meal toys and small stuffed animals in the larger cubbie

  4. 4
    MotoMom says

    Keep it at least for a few months you might find a way to repurpose it. If the color is an issue they do sell spray paint for plastic so you could change the bin colors to match.

  5. 5
    Anonymous says

    I was going to say “get rid of it!” because I also have a similar one that seems worthless for my toddler’s toys and I’ve been thinking of getting rid of it. But reading the comments above, now I want to keep mine and find a better use for it! I love “free” stuff!

  6. 6
    Tammy says

    I had one of these when I taught one year in a small Christian school. It was really nice for my classroom. I think as your son gets older, his toys will get smaller, and it will probably work for his toy storage again!

  7. 7
    Tsoniki says

    I have one and my kids are 6 and 4 so their toys are starting to not fit. I also have a toy box and I need to find a better fit – it’s either the buckets are too small or the toy box is too big.

    I like the idea of repurposing. I could spray paint it and put it in my craft room for something…

  8. 8
    Susanne says

    I’d keep it. I’ve always wanted one to hold all the little things that will come along after the toddler stage such as tiny lego (he can store loose pieces and ones he’s started building in the various bins, magnet builders, action characters, etc. etc.

  9. 9
    Angela says

    When we moved into our house there was one of these mounted on the wall. They’d put those L-brackets up on the wall adn stacked this on top of it. I think there was something else securing the top but it seemed like a good idea. I was too short to use it for anything so we sold it. But if you did it at the right height I’m sure it could be good. But otherwise I’m not a fan of this because the kids can easily dump everything out. I prefer those small lid’d sterilite containers at wal-mart.

  10. 10
    Dayna says

    We weren’t using it very well as toy storage so I moved the shelves into the garage and use it as a ball rack and I use the tubs to weed out unused/broken toys.

  11. 11
    Melody says

    I had one of those also (that was given to me) and I really didn’t like it. I prefer that the toys be in containers with lids so I can store them under the bed or in the closet. I did use mine for toys and books. However, it just didn’t seem to work out for us because my boys would just dump out all the bins and we had a 12-bin one. So, I gave it away. However, if you think you will get more money if you sold them as a set I would keep it until then.

  12. 12
    HomeSchool Mommy says

    Our church uses them for the kids to put their shoes before jumping in the moonbounce, so I know it’s a good shoe container.

    After my daughter is finished using ours for her toys, I’ve thought I may put them in the floor of our pantry (it’s a walk-in) to add more storage there.

    It would also be good for things I don’t want cluttering up drawers…cookie cutters, bills, blank stationary, receipts, etc.

    I guess they could even be used in the garage for tools and supplies…

  13. 13
    Charity says

    I find that this bin thing works great once the child is into action figures. It is a good way to keep them separate and he can bring out the bin he wants. (I have one for my four-year-old.)

    I think it is good for cars and trains, too. Once he outgrows toddler stage, he will have lots of little things, I bet.

    I think if you are going to sell it, though, you might get more for the set.

  14. 14
    Frankie says

    Future boy toys: Legos and Hot Wheels. Art supplies. Rocks. Action Figures. Bionicles. Weird, small collections.

    I’d keep it, because it will be handy in the future.

  15. 15
    Twisted Cinderella says

    I found this type of storage useless in Princess’s room too. I do love the idea of repurposing though!

  16. 16
    Katy says

    We have one…ours is actuall a bit bigger..and at first…it collected junk (toys) in each bin and just always looked messy. UNTIL..i labeled each bin (thanks to your site…:) ). Once each thing was labeled (ie. doctor stuff, play food utensils, beauty salon stuff for my daughter, etc…) then it worked out great..and everything always gets put back in it’s home!!!! :)

  17. 17
    Lynae says

    My son has two and for the years between 3-7 they really didn’t work well. Now with the thousands of Lego pieces and matchbox cars, they are FAB.

    They get cleared out once a year because I use them as my redemption center for prizes when I run the games at our church street fair!

  18. 18
    Michelle says

    We also have one of those with the combo of small and double-sized bins. My daughter has like a gazillion dinosaurs, so it comes in handy for those. The little ones go in the little bins, the big dinos in the big bins. Also great for all those Fisher Price Little People and their accessories that need homes. We put potato heads in one bin and the potato head body parts in another one. I really like plastic shoebox containers with lids for storage, but I do like this kind of storage for things my daughter plays with regularly.

  19. 19
    Maggie says

    I had one and hated it. Since I got it for $10, I kept the bins ( it was the kind with 2 sizes of bins) and used them fro organizing toys in drawers and underbed toy storage. Since they are flat now, they hold more and I don’t have to look at the mess.

  20. 20
    The Fritz Facts says

    We have one that we used to use in my son’s room. We pulled it out as he got older, and now use it in the garage for tools and smaller things that we need more frequently. We have rags in one tub etc. It works pretty well, and I am glad that I kept it.
    I would get rid of it if you aren’t using it, especially if he is still using the bookcase. That is something he can use much much longer.

  21. 21
    Gina says

    I would hang on to it. Older boy toys are tough to store…Legos, matchbox cars, figurines, etc. I wish I had one of these when my now 14 year old had toys like that.

    Do you have a mudroom? I bet it would work great for holding mittens, hats, dog leash, things that need to be returned to the store, library books, etc.

    My 7 year old daughter has one and I’ve already sized it up for when she outgrows it.

  22. 22
    Thea says

    I’ve always kind of wanted one of these, but now I’m not so sure…

    Another idea is to use it as your container for your containers, which frees up the wire cubes to go into your sons closet…but that was month’s ago so you may have already come up with another solution.

    I would say keep it, you’ll find something for it. You could even take the buckets off and use it for some hanging storage if you needed to.

  23. 23
    Anonymous says

    I never liked these. All the toys in them are shown and it always looks messy.

  24. 24
    Liberty says

    I like it for the toys that have lots of pieces like legos and lincoln logs.

  25. 25
    Jen says

    I agree with you – those bins are great for a baby room – not so great for older kids. Except maybe for Polly Pockets!

    It was great to meet you today! I hope you had a safe trip home. Here is that WordPress blog that I told youi about:

    She just changed her layout, so I’m a little lost, but “WordPress Wednesdays” is on the top right hand side. Enjoy!!

  26. 26
    Faerylandmom says

    I do not like them, Sam I Am. Seriously…the ones I bought ended up being pieces of junk. I’m hoping to make the one I have last until I can figure out what to do instead… Might be worth keeping to sell as a set, though.

  27. 27
    Kim N says

    Like Dana, I use mine as a shoe bin and we put it by the garage door so that we can slip shoes on or off as we leave and come home. I don’t like them as toy bins as I prefer things with lids. I was just looking at it again thinking it might be a nice way to organize stuff for my new baby since we don’t have a dresser or changing table for him. It would be a good place to stack blankets, burpees, wipes, diapers, onesies…the staples!

  28. 28
    Cheryl (Copper's Wife) says

    We actually have two of these in our homeschool room, but they are larger with two different sizes of bins and more of them. We use ours quite happily to keep all of our art supplies and various types of paper (construction, writing, tracing, etc.) organized. The smaller bins hold crayons, colored pencils, markers, glue, etc. Our were made by Battat and are very sturdy and have held up quite well.

  29. 29
    Jenny says

    Not a fan of these myself. Like you said they are great for a baby’s room(look kind of cute) or even a child’s room,but function wise they don’t hold any real boy toys. Although they might be good for the pirate/megablocks stuff.
    Heard you were awesome today. So wanted to come,but promised Gav I’d do his field trip with him.
    Let me know when you’re next one is!
    Take care!

  30. 30
    Christie says

    We have two of these in our playroom. One has all the Thomas Trains, track, etc., and the other has small hotwheel type cars, doctor kit, musical toys, tractors, etc. All are labeled with words and photos so my 4 year old knows where to put everything and is very particular about it. As he gets older, I can see it moving to the garage and each bin holding different sports equipment, ie one for soccer shinguards, one for baseballs and gloves, etc.

  31. 31
    Anonymous says

    I use this thing to store shoes!

  32. 32
    Kelli in the Mirror says

    I don’t have a rack, but bought all those bins separately at a toy store. We use them for leapfrog fridge phonics, playdoh tools, little people, polly pocket-type tiny little clothes and shoes, matchbox cars, potato head…. all kinds of stuff.

  33. 33
    Mrs. Pear says

    We use this to sort some of our daughters toys (28 months). But not all. It is in her closet with a short book shelf. It still serves a good purpose there.

    Once her toys are too big I am thinking her crafting/home schooling supplies or my sewing/quilting/knitting supplies.

    Just athough

  34. 34
    Stephanie says

    I have a 2.5 & a 4 year old sons. I’d use it for Thomas stuff, blocks, Duplos, cars, farm animals. All the stuff you want to keep grouped separately.

    I’m sure you can find lots of ways to repurpose it.

  35. 35
    maudie-mae says

    As an organizing junkie, it would be outside of your pervue to leave it lying around without a function. If you truly do not like it and cannot find a use for it that will fit your lifestyle, then you need to ditch it. It will drive you buggy to leave it around without a purpose.

  36. 36
    Jerri says

    I would wait and sell the 2 items together as a set, unless it is taking up valuable space that you would like to have for something else. I would say that surely you could think of something to use it for. I think it would be great for small pieces like blocks or Hot Wheels. Or you could put books/magazines in the bins or organize art supplies or scrapbooking stuff.


  37. 37
    Jenny says

    I just came back to say (as I was thinking about scrapbooking) that maybe you could use them for your scrapbooking supplies. Do the bins pull out? Might be handy to pull out the bins and bring them to your workspace and then set them back when you’re done.
    Hmmm…how much are you selling it for?LOL

  38. 38
    SnapHappyInkyMomma says

    My kids are 8 and 5.5 — we have it in our playroom. I don’t love it, but I do still use it. You’ll find that there are still toys that are small enough to fit as they get older that it can be used. For example, we have hot wheels cars in one of the bins, and other vehicles in another.

    And make sure that you label each bin — I laminated each label so that it will last longer — so that clean up is a breeze for you and for your child! (Of course, I really don’t need to give YOU that hint!!!)

  39. 39
    Jen says

    We dont have these. I wish we did though. I like them. I think you should keep them.If you dont use them for toys I’m sure you will find something to do with them even if they are in the Utility room or garage.

  40. 40
    Rebecca says

    I actually have been wanting to get similar storage bins/shelves for my kids. But they have 9 bins, 3 that are twice the size as the other six. When I get them I want to print labels with pictures & words of what goes in each bin (train set, small cars, puzzles, etc) to help him learn how to keep his room clean. I also want one for my daughter eventually.

    I’d say if you don’t have any other purpose for it now sell it. You can always sell a bookcase on it’s own, no one would know that it had a coordinating piece. If you were to sell them as a set I wouldn’t be surprised if someone asked to buy just one piece. Some other uses? Organizing gardening supplies, shoes or other odds & ends in the garage maybe.

  41. 41
    odat_kim says

    Does your older son have little figures that he can store in them (like army figures)? Crayons? colouring pencils? Hot wheels toy cars? Beads? Makeup? Scrap booking pieces? Crafting supplies of some kind (like quilting fat quarters)? Thread, buttons zippers etc for sewing?

  42. 42
    momrn2 says

    I know they use that style at the preschool at our church. Personally, I’ve never personally used that style.

    I would tend to be like you thought and want to sell the set in one. However, I guess if you sold them seperately the buyer of each piece would never know there was another piece with it.

    Guess I wasn’t much help was I??

  43. 43
    Musical Mommy says

    His toys may be big now, but you’ll find that as he gets older the toys get smaller and harder to contain…I would keep it. We have little baskets we use for cars, action figures, trains, tracks, etc. I have two boys (5 and 4) and organization like this is a NECESSITY for us! ;D

  44. 44
    Melinda says

    I have the girly version of that. Except we have canvas bags, so I can’t use them seperate from the rack. I had it in my child’s closet, and it didn’t get used. So then I pulled it out, and told my oldest that she could only have that many toys. We have Barbies, fairies, dress up clothes, Strawberry shortcake, and My Little Ponies in our bins. So I say hang on to it.


  45. 45
    Beth says

    We have one and I like it. Now that my boys are older (7, 10 and 12) it houses Star Wars figures, magnetix knights, Xevoz, lego exo force, etc.

    Also, Ikea makes things that look sort of like bookcases with bins that slide in and out. They are prettier than this style. Here is a link to them. I found they work very well for my kids’ millions of lego Bionicle pieces.

  46. 46
    Angela says

    I liked this post-it made me think about how our toy storage has drastically changed over time. We used to have toy boxes, then we got a thing similar to this that I thought would fix the toybox nightmare, but I hated seeing the jumble. We did use it mainly for things like legos and building toys, but it still looked too cluttery and too multicolored for my taste. So we switched to plain old bookshelves and clear bins for things that need storing. Cars and other bulky toys sit on the bottom shelf. :) Puzzles are on another. And that has made me smile. I now can’t believe we ever used toy boxes. I’m like you and can’t stand visual clutter. The only thing better would be if I take the time to make pretty curtains to go over the shelves or if they had doors as you’ve mentioned you’d like.

    If I were you, I’d go ahead and sell BOTH the toy bins and bookshelf together! Then use the money to get whatever bookshelf you want him to grow into. (Bracketed to the wall of course!). Look at the bookshelf/toyshelf in the book GOODNIGHT MOON. He could put his books on half of it and toys on half. :) I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  47. 47
    Anonymous says

    I also have a similar storage solution and did use it for toys etc.One day I was cleaning out the entry closet and a light went on…, it now works for storing in the summer, flip flops,baseballs,sunblock,bug sprays, bike gloves etc..,.As winter approaches it will hold mitts,hats,scarves,goggles etc, move it around the house and see what works for you.

  48. 48
    Ladybug says

    We have one of these too. I used it in my kindergarten classroom for all sorts of blocks, craft supplies, etc. Now it is in our playroom and I have all the bins labeled. They are great for holding smaller books, matchbox cars, toy figures, kitchen stuff, small blocks, legos, and all sorts of things. I had thought about getting rid of it at one point but I am so glad I didn’t. Their toys get smaller as they get older and these make for easy clean up.

  49. 49
    Barb @ A Chelsea Morning says

    You know, Laura, when my girls were little, it wasn’t their big toys that drove me nuts. It was all the billion little things. I think this system would be perfect for all the teenie tiny “things” that kids leave all over the house. And besides, it’s cute!

  50. 50
    Samantha says

    Keep holding on to it, in another couple of years, his toys will be the perfect size for those bins. those bins hold my son’s matchbox cars, his power ranger men, his army men, his farm animals and farm people, his dinosaurs and then we have one “miscellaneous” bin for the odd and ends that gets sorted through pretty regularly. it is easy for them to see what is in there so in turn makes it easier for them to pick up their toys.

    i store all his legos and blocks in clear lidded totes that are much larger because he has so many, but they are easily stackable so it is okay space-wise.

  51. 51
    tAnYeTTa says

    i’ve never used these types of bins before.

  52. 52
    Jennifer, Snapshot says

    A friend just gave me hers! It’s somewhat helpful in my little guy’s room, but I agree that it’s not as great as I thought it would be. I’m glad I never bought one, but for free it will work for a while.

    I loved reading everyone’s comments–we current have building blocks, cars, the pieces to his Little People sets, and a few other things in there. I use the top shelf (with the boxes flat, not angled) to hold his board books.

    Let us know if you figure out a good use for it. I do agree with what someone said–go ahead and get rid of it if you don’t like it. Maybe you could go ahead and replace his bookshelf, and sell both of them??

  53. 53
    Org Junkie says

    Wow, thanks for all the great suggestions everyone.

    What I neglected to show you was the side of this unit has A B C in bright colors on it which is why my middle son no longer wants it in his room :) So I think I am leaning towards selling them both now and just purchasing a new bookcase for my youngest that he can grow into.
    I loved the idea of using it for shoes but these bins are way too small for even a pair of shoes unfortunately. It’s also very low to the ground.
    I’m going to give it some more thought and re-read the suggestions before I do anything though.
    Just wanted to let you know I appreciate your input!!!


  54. 54
    Sandra says

    I would keep it, but if he doesn’t want it then sell them.

    As for the ABC, you could try and cover them up with something, maybe even some fabric to match his bedroom decor????

  55. 55
    Tiffany says

    I think they’re ugly! hehe I would like to find one with bins in really cute soft colours.

  56. 56
    Multi-tasking Mommy says

    Gosh, I don’t know how old your son is, so I cannot answer with a full opinion…however….

    I do know what you mean. We have a similar type structure from Ikea for my daughter’s toys and it is getting harder and harder to fit things into the bins (though I believe they are slightly larger than what you have). However, I do wonder if little lego pieces, linking logs, tinkertoys, etc. would fit into those bins down the road????

  57. 57
    Le Anne says

    Sorry that I missed this on the day you posted. I have this bin as well and I really do not like it for toys. I was always an eye sore no matter where I put it. I finally found great transparent totes at Walmart to store the toys in. I used this bin to store all of the kids’ craft items and workbooks. That way when we color, craft or work I just take the bin with us to the table and then we throw it all back it and put it away. I was able to fit this bin and rack in the closet under our staircase.

  58. 58
    palmtreefanatic says

    I think these are great!
    Art stuff can be used in them or even scrapping supplies!

  59. 59
    Ornery's Wife says

    I haven’t read all your comments, but it seems pretty unanimous you should keep them. I know that as my son got older he began collecting Playmobil, Hot Wheels cars and Legos. Both things, at first, were stored in small bins like the ones you have. His Hot Wheels cars eventually had to move into cases with dividers to protect them from each other, and the Legos now occupy two HUGE Rubbermaid totes in the garage, awaiting the day he has his own home.

    There are many other smallish toys boys acquire, like yo-yo’s tennis sized balls, small instruments, etc. that will make it handy for a few years.

  60. 60
    Megan says

    When I worked with preschoolers, we used these in the classroom to hold art supplies. They worked really well! We had crayons, markers, glue, scissors, paper scraps, stickers, stencils…you get the point…everything had a box. We also cut out ‘cartoon’ like images of each item (ie a bottle of ‘smiling’ glue’) and tape it to the bottom so preschoolers could associate with the picture and put the items away. It worked really well!

  61. 61
    Sasha says

    I use mine for books. The kids are older so their paperback books fit nicely in the bins without taking up shelf space.

    They can be seperated by genre, author, etc…

  62. 63
    Courtney says

    I couldn’t swallow the price for those (out here, I’ve yet to see one under $50), and instead bought some metal/wire shelves, different sized Rubbermaid containers, and went to town that way.

  63. 64
    Melissa says

    Oh my never throw a perfectly good storage unit away. You could use it for Art or Craft Supplies, Scrapbooking stuff. Maybe a bathroom storage unit for different stuff like poytail holders burshes, curling iron blow dryer. Shoes?? belts, purses? I’m sure if you think long enough you’ll come up with someting.

  64. 65
    Connie says

    I do not have the shelving however I have collected a few of the bins randomly at thrift stores…they are super sturdy and slide easily under my son’s bed…

  65. 66
    Terra says

    These are great for sorting legos. My 8 year old is a lego junkie and the small bins are good for sorting and storing his creations.

  66. 67
    Terra says

    Also,this is good for match box cars and action figures.

  67. 68
    Wendy says

    I just discovered this website… NEAT!! Love it!!

    I have the same thing you have, except in pastel colors for my 4 yr old girl. It is pretty useful. I think we have a 12 bin shelf. One big box used to have all the Little People stuff in it but she has outgrown them. I now have them organized in crayons/markers/paint (art stuff), another with Mr Potato Head stuff, another with misc toys won from Chuck E Cheese, those toys from McDonalds etc. Another bin holds the viewmaster and its slides; Another will hold all her barbie dolls which is easy to do since they are ‘flat’. That is until her collection of Barbies grow. One bin has baby doll stuff (bottles, bibs, diapers, and stuff like that). One bin holds all her flashcards. I can’t remember the rest of them, but I hope this helps.

  68. 69
    Troy S. says


    They are only good for toys that don’t have smaller parts to them. If you do have toys such as Playmobil, LEGO, and other related which have extra pieces; I would suggest that you store them in separate “bags” which don’t rip, tear. I saw this website online which are mesh (fabric) and they are great for storing items which would rip ziplock bags. The bags are very inexpensive too. They are way too “open” for things like blocks and LEGO bricks. You may want to use that bin sorter for groups of similar toys. Puzzles are best stored in bags as well too. You can use the bins for smaller play sets as long as you put pictures on the front to help him organize his toy collection. Have you done a purging on what he doesn’t want anymore or rotated his toy stock as well?

    Troy S. in Downey, CA

  69. 70
    Janis Suydam says

    Has anyone ever repurposed one of these for scrapbooking storage and if so do you have suggestions where to start?
    Thanks. I have the one with 4 larger bins and 8 smaller ones.

  70. 71
    Queenb1974 says

    I use one of these in my son’s closet. One bin has socks, another underwear, another baseball socks, belts, wristbands. I use one of the bottom bins for those miscellaneous happy meal toys and such. It’s his junk drawer. The other bins hold his DS, cars, chapter books, etc…. We got it when he was 1 and now that he is 7, I have just adapted the use for it.


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