Organizing kid’s toys with cubby storage + free printable

We have a playroom downstairs for the kids. I have tried so many different systems for containing all the toys to no avail. I’m not a fan of the toybox – except for dress up clothes – because toys seem to get buried at the bottom and it’s impossible to keep all like items together. And then I discovered the cubby system!

I just wish you could know how exciting it is for me to experience the wonderfulness of a new shelf and the possibilities that come with it. This my friends has me dancing the JIG OF JOY! Yes, like the happy dance only better. I kid you not.

This particular cubby shelving unit features nine cubbies, but you can also get it in eight. The fabric baskets are purchased separately so you can use as many as you’d like and they come in a variety of colors. I purchased this at Home Hardware here in Canada, but they are available in most large department stores like Walmart, Home Depot, Target or even Amazon.

I then printed off labels on the computer and laminated them quickly and easily using self-sealing laminating cards.

Download free toy label printable here.

It turned out really nicely. Now everything has a home and it makes cleanup such a snap even my two year can do it… that makes me very very happy!

Updated: Kelly from Gohn Crazy gave me her link to a similar post she did about using cubbies. I love her idea for attaching the labels with velcro…check it out!

Filed under: Containerizing, Kid Stuff, Organizing Solutions


40 Responses to Organizing kid’s toys with cubby storage + free printable

  1. 1
    Erin says

    That is just too cute! I love the little tags you made. I’ve been eyeballing one of those shelving systems for my youngest, you’ve just convinced to get one.
    I’ve seen them at Target, and I think maybe at Lowe’s and Home Depot here in the US. I even think they are on sale this week at Target for 39.99.

  2. 2
    Susanne says

    I have built in shelves in my playroom but not cubbies. I’ve tried various containers and ways to get the kids to put things in a certain place but never thought of picture tags. How smart is that!

  3. 3
    Jodi says

    We’ve had a couple of these in our playroom for awhile and they work pretty well for my 2 boys. The main problem is things that are larger than the bins, but some can be lined on top.

    I tried to use the labelmaker to categorize my bins, but after awhile they don’t stick anymore. My next attempt will probably be laminated cards like you’ve done!

    Oh, and we got ours at Target, also. They have gotten pretty creative with the cubes at times – different prints as well as colors.

  4. 5
    Gwen says

    I am so jealous that you have a playroom. Our playroom and the living room are one and the same. :)

  5. 6
    Sharon Byrum says

    Love your site, it gives me hope. I am thinking about participating in your Menu Monday thing, but I am new to the blogging world and not sure how I do it. I know how to blog it, have the picture saved, but how do I get a link to my page at the bottom of that list with all those others? Sorry to be a pain.

  6. 7
    Multi-tasking Mommy says

    Beautiful–love it!
    I just bought a new organizing system for my daughter’s room. I’ll be posting about it later on in the week or maybe next week!

  7. 8
    Karen says

    We’ve got the 6 cubbie one from Target, with pink suede “drawers” in three of the cubbies. It works great and we bought it on sale so no regret over what we paid.

  8. 9
    Sarah Kimmel says

    I totally bought that SAME shelf at Target a few weeks ago! Good idea using it in the kids room! I have it in our closet and it is housing my winter sweaters currently!

  9. 10
    Susan says

    I have the same baskets. Each child at my house has a color. I bought these because they had one in everyone’s color! We use them for traveling. Whatever fits inside is what they can take with them. They fit nicely on the floor of the van. When we’re not traveling, they are in their closets to put “stuff” in.

  10. 11
    Fawn says

    That looks so nice!! I, too, once organized all the goodies in the playroom complete with labels on the storage bins (I had bright primary colored bins) and shelves do put them on.
    Sadly, it didn’t last long…. the kids always dumped the goodies because they found so many other wonderful things to do with the bins (ex… the barbie bin ended up outside one day being used as a ‘sled’ through the grass. hehe
    I hope you have better luck with keeping it all together than I did!!!

  11. 12
    Surviving says

    I have some wire stacking cubes that I have plastic bins for. I couldn’t get the kids to pick things up and put them away. I should try putting labels on them. Thank you for the idea!

  12. 13
    Naomi (Urban Mummy) says

    Ikea has a nice system – Trofast. We have it, and have various coloured bins that are labelled. I like it because you can rearrange the bins, and even put new ones in.

    Oh, and the walls are painted to match!

  13. 14
    Katie says

    That looks great! I was just eyeing the self laminating stuff today to make labels for my bins!(I have the same ones in the green and got them at Target!) I just have mine in bookshelves though.

  14. 16
    Amy says

    Looks great! We have some of the same bins (bought grey on clearance at Target for 1/2 price sometime earlier this year). However, I haven’t labeled them. I really should because the toys seem to migrate from one bin to another.

  15. 17
    Rhen (yestheyareallm says

    That is a great idea. We have toy boxes as well and I cannot stand them. In order for the kids to get toys out they must dump everything on the floor. It takes a lot to get them to pick it all up. I am going to show Mr. Muscles (dh) the cubbies so he can make me some.

  16. 18
    Kristina says

    I hope you will update us in a month or so to let us know how well the cubbie holes are working out. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to organize my two year old’s toys. Her playroom is our living room. I was considering the shelves with bins in them, but I saw in the archives that you hated them for toddler toys. And you’re right, the bins are too small. I think the cubbie holes might be, too…But again, I’m curious to see how this works out for you!

  17. 20
    Kelli@GohnCrazy says

    Thanks for the linky love. :)

    And isn’t it funny. I think the idea of tying the tags on the handles is rather ingenious. You don’t need anything other than some string and a hole punch for that. That didn’t even cross my mind.

  18. 21
    GiBee says

    Laura, I have been racking my brain on what to do for Hunter’s toys, and this is the PERFECT solution. I saw your old post about the bins you used to use. That’s what I was GOING to get, but now that Hunter is 2, and into trucks, tractors and bigger toys, it really wouldn’t work out well! Although, it would make a GREAT craft organizer for me!! Thanks for the idea!

  19. 22
    Jenn says

    We have this in our boy’s room and it is fabulous! Since we don’t have a separate playroom, all the toys have to stay in the bedroom. I alwasy dreaded walking in because there really was not a place for toys. Then we got this (at Target, too) and it is great. The ‘baskets’ are large enough to hold their things and then we use the top cubes as a bookshelf for their books. The top of the unit is great for display of their larger toys, too.

  20. 23
    Sandra says

    Love it Laura, it looks wonderful and what a neat idea to keep toys organized :)

  21. 24
    Jen says

    Wow, what a great system! We use drawers – the big plastic ones. I like the cubbies though, because those drawer things come out – I may have to look in to that.

    Thanks for all your help this weekend!!!

  22. 25
    Tricia says

    I will have to try this we have one in the kids rooms but it does not seem to work near as well.

  23. 26
    Jess says

    I have the same one . . . and I have a bunch of the bins for when I get others. This has been the best way to purge . . . each bin gets a category and the kids can keep what fits in. The cubby is in our playroom with the babysafe toys in in, and the kids legos and things stay up in their room in bins until the babies old enough that he won’t get into them. I have two different colors . . . eventually I’ll get a third so each kid has her/his own color. I’m surprised at how much the bins hold. I have photos here (have since added three more bins to the shelf and will at some point add labels):

  24. 27
    Just Beachy says

    I use these same baskets in my son’s room. We chose to use book cases and two of the baskets fit nicely into each shelve, so the bottom shelve of each bookcase has two. We love them. They are portable and easy to go through when they become mixed up (which they will.) You can purchase the baskets, in a variety of colors, at Target for about 6 dollars.

  25. 28
    Billie says

    Great idea…i did a similar thing with sticky labels, but they either fell off or the little monsters tore them off;) My problem is I just have too many toys for too many categories. I’m seriously getting ready to purge them! I have done a lot with carry along containers. That way the kids can bring the whole box somewhere else to play.

  26. 29
    Kerri says

    I use this shelf in my closet to keep my folded clothes in. I’m not a fan of things hidden in drawers -I always forget what I have. =) I think it works great and It keeps the clothes in place so the stacks don’t fall over.

  27. 30
    Laura says

    A month or two ago I too invested in that same cubbie shelving for the play room. I bought different color cubes and each one has assigned something. Such as RED – Trains, BLUE – cars, GREEN – kitchen stuff, PINK – doll dress up etc.

  28. 31
    mary kathryn says

    I have two of these in our playroom (one for each child) and I love, love, love them! Picking up toys is so much easier when everything has a place. I love the card label idea, though. I will definitely be using that one. Thanks for posting.

  29. 32
    Angelle says

    This is the same system I have used for about 2 years now. I love it. I’ve tried labeling them other ways and it didn’t work. This is a fabulous idea. Thanks so much for sharing your tags. I may actually get it done now.

  30. 33
    Jen says

    This is great way to attach the labels to the bins Laura! I have several of these bins and even made and printed my own labels, but I could not get them to stick to the fabric… Thanks!!!

  31. 34
    Vikki says

    As a retired Pre-school teacher my best trick was to snap a quick picture of each type of toy, using one of my graphic programs I added the names. Then printed, cut out and attached to clear tubbies with wide clear packing tape. The tape is strong it so it holds well even with tons of chidren handling it and it protects the labels so they last.
    I also saved all my clear plastic containers like old peanut butter jars to hold all those small things, like game pieces, marbles and magnetic letters. I also made sure all the tubbies were clear so they could see what was inside each tubbie. Worked like a charm. I repurposed everything I got my hands on, so I didn’t have to be out of pocket for everything.
    Love your blog, just thought I’d share.
    Have a wonderful week,


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