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5 Fantastic Tips for Organizing Toys without a Playroom


When you have kids, toys have a tendency to take over the house. This is especially true if you don’t have the luxury of a dedicated playroom! After living in 7 small rentals in 10 years, and recently welcoming another child to our family, I understand that the struggle is real. If you’re organizing toys without a playroom, here are 5 tips to keep the toys from taking over your house! 

1| Choose attractive toy storage.

There are so many versatile home decor options that offer great storage for kids, yet are aesthetically pleasing to adults!

We are using IKEA’s Eket cubbies in our current place (seen in the picture below). We’ve used the IKEA Kallax at our previous rentals as adaptable cubby storage. However, one thing I like about the Eket is the cubbies are much smaller than the Kallax, so toys don’t get lost or ignored at the bottom of a huge bin.

organizing toys without a playroom - organizing toys in living room

The best part is that the Eket unit is about a quarter of the weight of the Kallax unit – it’s incredibly lightweight! The weight was a major selling point for us since we bought the unit when we lived in a 1-bedroom apartment on the third floor while I was pregnant with our second child. If you move often, you’ll like that they’re lightweight yet very sturdy. 

2| Utilize multi-functional pieces.

Multi-functional pieces like ottomans, benches, and baskets with lids are fantastic for organizing toys without a playroom.

organizing toys without a playroom

Here are the links to the products pictured above:
1. Ottoman – Poppin
2. Lidded Baskets – Walmart
3. Wicker Trunk – Overstock
4. Upholstered Bench – The Container Store

You can find similar items at Walmart, Target, Amazon, TJMaxx Home Goods, and The Container Store. They’re a game-changer at effectively keeping toys out of sight, yet within reach.

The line of ottomans and benches by Poppin can double as seating. These bad boy benches are made to support up to 275 pounds as seating and they offer plenty of room inside to store anything you wish! They’re high quality and I recommend them. We’ve enjoyed using them in previous rentals. By the way, this post is not sponsored – I’m simply sharing my experience. 

As always, IKEA doesn’t disappoint when it comes to versatility, affordability, and functionality. At one of our prior rentals, we turned what the floor plan would designate as the “dining room area” into a playroom with a simple IKEA HACK:


But this post is about organizing toys without a playroom, isn’t it? Well, I share this with you as an idea. That IKEA Kallax hack could be modified to be 1 bench in a living room or family room. Bam – seating space and storage space! During a birthday party, we had up to 3 adults sitting on one of these benches, so they are certainly sturdy.

Another multi-functional piece is a rolling cart. We use a rolling cart in our current living room as an “art cart.” My daughter’s favorite thing to do on a daily basis is arts and crafts! The art cart is a convenient way to keep supplies on hand for her to create at any time to her heart’s content.

3| Use hidden space.

Related to the aforementioned items, you can also utilize hidden space! This is especially useful if you’re organizing toys without a playroom in a small space.

Store toys under the couch using under-the-bed storage containers or a simple wooden tray on wheels. Clean up will surely be a breeze! 

Store toys under a coffee table or end table using baskets. This is great for things like blocks, small toy sets, games, puzzles, or even board books. 

organizing toys without a playroom

Here are the links to the products pictured above:
1. White Underbed Wood Storage with Chalkboard Label & Casters
2. Modern Weave Underbed Storage Basket
3. Solid Wood Underbed Storage
4. Mainstays Underbed Plastic Storage Boxes

Don’t want to buy anything new? Use cardboard boxes instead. Cover them with contact paper to match your decor. Then use smaller boxes under coffee tables and end tables and the larger ones under your sofa.

4| Store toys in alternate places.

Instead of storing toys in various baskets, bins, and ottomans in the living room, consider some alternate places to keep the kids toys. A linen storage closet, hallway cabinet, and built-in bookshelves can all be options for organizing toys without a playroom. 

Implement a toy rotation using lidded storage totes that are kept in the garage. Include a variety of toys in each tote and label them according to how you want to rotate them.

The toy rotation could be every day or every 2-3 days. Simply switch out the storage totes of toys as often as you’d like in order to keep your kids occupied. The great thing about a toy rotation is that the toys will be “new” since they aren’t available to play with all the time. 

Create extra space for toys in the kids rooms. Keep toys in the kids rooms in the following ways:

  • kids closet
  • small bookshelf 
  • small cubby unit
  • toy chest 
  • storage totes
  • under-the-bed storage 

5| Consistently clear the clutter.

Clutter can easily creep into your home, even if you aren’t buying any new toys! 

New clutter can appear in the form of crafts, artwork, special rocks or pinecones, and of course goodie bags from birthday parties. 

Keeping the clutter at bay is key if you’re organizing toys without a playroom and want the living spaces not to be overrun with toys. 

So, every once in a while dedicate some time to declutter the toys. Throw out any trash or unwanted items. Discard toys that are broken or outgrown. Then immediately put them in your car trunk to take them to a friend, or the donation center, next time you’re out. This will keep the toys out of sight. Otherwise, if the kids see them they’ll want to play with them and before you know it, nothing’s made its way out of the house! 

For arts and crafts, we keep a bin in our hallway cabinet where finished projects can go. Then every few months I’ll go through it at night once the kids are in bed, decide which ones are worth keeping, and throw away the rest. Depending on the age of the child, including them in the decluttering could make the process more difficult if they aren’t able to discern what is truly a keepsake since everything is important to them. Interestingly enough, she doesn’t recall the items that were thrown away. Art is more about the process than the end result anyways.

We put up an artwork display wall in my daughter’s room using jute twine and painted clothespins so she has a way to display artwork in her room.

For things like special rocks or pinecones, we like to designate a place outside our front door where there can be a small pile of them for “keeps.” This way we don’t unintentionally bring bugs into our house and the “special” outside objects have their own special place. 

How are you organizing toys without a playroom?

Hopefully this post has given you some strategies for organizing toys without a playroom. What do you think is the easiest way to seamlessly include toy storage in your home?


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