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A Storage Solution for Big Toys (and an IKEA hack!)

by Contributing Author

Use this storage idea to keep your big toys neat and tidy. This storage solution for large toys can be modified to work in almost any room.

Organize large toys in a child's playroom

If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time you know we don’t live in the biggest house on earth. Maybe, but it’s ours and we love it.

It doesn’t have a dedicated toy room, but it does have a large living room area, so one side has a sofa, coffee table, and TV, and the other half is toy heaven. When our boy started collecting lots of toys, we purchased EXPEDIT (since then Kallax), labeled some bins and called it a day.

old toy storage system

But then something started happening. As the boys grew, so did the toys. Anything that didn’t fit in the cube unit was placed in the “toy corner”, and it ended up looking like this.

big toy sitting next to the cabinet

What was driving me crazy was the huge mess of toy clutter. And this was a good day. Sometimes it was all just piled up.

So when Christmas came and Connor’s birthday followed shortly after, it was moreover A big toy has arrived in our house and it’s time to do something about the toy situation. (I got rid of a lot of toys, I promise! They just really like big toys! 😉)

pegboard with art

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The easiest way to store big toys

I went looking for some sort of storage that would tame this madness and came across the perfect one at the very trusty IKEA. I should have known they had a solution!

I ended up taking two home with me. HEJNE shelving unittechnically it was from the pantry section, but it was also the perfect size for the toys we had.

Two unpainted IKEA storage shelves side by side

Donnie put them together for me. Except… Baraki really wasn’t doing it for me. Here, anything that can be painted will usually be painted at some point. These little babies were no exception.

They’re in the main living area that we use all the time, so even though we intended to put toys in them, we didn’t want them in crazy colors or kid-themed designs.

I also knew that I would want to change something if necessary. In the end, I decided to whitewash them (spoiler alert!) I really like how they came out!

How to whitewash unfinished wood

I’ve done a little whitewashing before and wanted to make sure I was doing it the right way. So I checked several different tutorials before starting, and each recommended something different!

Someone said to use a ratio of 1 part water to 1 part paint. Another said to use a ratio of 2 parts paint to 1 part water. A third person said it needs to be stained before applying the plaster. And another recommended glaze. I think I finished my research more confused than when I started!

Luckily, I found the process to be fairly forgiving, and what worked for me after trying a few different methods was: A mixture of approximately 60% paint and 40% water. I applied it to the surface with a brush and used a rag to wipe off the excess.

Close up of shelves painted with white fabric

The result was the look I was aiming for. It’s softer and lighter than plain wood, but you can still see some of the grain through it. He of the unit took this photo when one was painted and the other was not so you can see the difference.

Painted and unpainted storage shelves for storing large toys

(Ignore the fact that there are toys everywhere and some of my Christmas ornaments are still in the background, hmm? 😉)

Finished painting the second storage unit and now have two beautiful whitewashed toy shelves. yuppie!

Large toy storage shelves after painting them white

Big Toy Storage Solutions: Final Thoughts

These have become the perfect pieces to store all those big, bulky toys. Everything is so easy to find and no more toys exploding in the corners of the house, so that’s a plus.

Finished shelf for storing large toys

Before you start brainstorming how to store your toys, get organized first. Over the years, children accumulate a lot of things. Getting rid of broken, lost, and infrequently played toys makes organizing much easier.

Side view of large toys on the new IKEA shelf

3 storage ideas for large toys

If these storage units don’t work for your space, or you prefer something else, here are some ways to hide and store large toys.

Ottoman and coffee table storage

It’s your chance to add a new piece to your living room that not only hides your toys, but is both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

Buy a coffee table and ottoman with storage


If you have room for additional cupboards, this is genius. It takes a little effort to rearrange the internal shelves to accommodate larger toys.

see storage cabinets


You may have closets in your home that need to be reorganized to accommodate larger toys perfectly. Without giving up completely for toys, it’s also possible to install shelving to maximize that space.

Toy Storage: Frequently Asked Questions

Do you want to save this post to revisit later? Pin the image below so you can easily find it.

how to organize big toys

[Psssttt… You can find ideas for organizing every single room of the house in this post!]

What is the system for storing large toys?

abby sign off

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