As a time-poor parent, the last thing you want to deal with at the end of a long day is an hour of tidying a chaotic and toy-strewn living space once the kiddies are all tucked up. These time-busting storage solutions will enable you to clear away your children's toys in a flash so you can spend your evening in peace.
1. Choose multi-purpose furniture
When you're sharing your living space with children and their toys, consider how essential pieces of furniture, such as the coffee table, can work harder and have a dual purpose. Because it's in the centre of the room, the coffee table often becomes the focus of the space, doubling as an activity and crafts table, as well as everything else. Firstly, ensure you choose a style of table that is hardwearing and practical.
The magic of multi-tasking furniture
Secondly, look for a table that has plenty of storage beneath, so you can sweep away crayons into hidden tubs and drawings into box files in mere seconds. A simple trunk-style table is an easy option, and if you have the space to sit two of them side by side, this offers the opportunity for separating messy craft items from other toys.
2. Take control of cubbies
The orderly lines of cubby holes are often appealing to those of us that like methodical storage, and their easy access is a bonus for adults and kids alike. Add some natural woven basketssuch as those pictured here, and the cubby holes become a well-ordered wall of beautiful textures, concealing the garish colours within.
See more toy storage ideas
Try adding a baggage tag to each basket, labelling the contents so you can find items at a glance. You could also keep some toys out on display in the top cubby holes, for a touch of fun and a pop of colour.
3. Build bespoke storage
It might be a more costly option than flat-pack furniture, but designing your own bespoke units enables you to customise them to suit your specific needs, particularly if you have tonnes of pink plastic to conceal. There are many areas of a room that can be utilised to make useful storage zones, such as awkward alcoves or the space under a window.
A simple bench seat built in an alcove or below a window is a super-easy way to create immediate concealed storage, with hidden toy boxes inside. Plus, you'll create a reading nook where you can enjoy a well-earned drink once you've tidied up.
Include individual drawers in your bench seat and you'll have instant toy 'boxes' that can be dedicated to separate activities – particularly important if the Lego needs to be kept apart from the Barbies.
12 ways to combine storage with seating
4. Sacrifice some space
If you have a dedicated linen drawer or a 'special occasion' cabinet for your good glassware, it might be time to reprioritise. When space is limited and you have to share your home with toys, some beautiful items have to be sacrificed and packed away until you really need them, especially if that's only once a year at Christmas!
Re-evaluate all your available storage so that you can use what you have for your needs right now. Deep drawers can become pull-out toy boxes into which everything is bundled in one quick sweep. And don't fret, it won't be forever. One day you will be able lay claim to your 'best china' cupboard again.
5. Swallow up technology
There's nothing worse than trying to concentrate on a movie when the TV is surrounded by messy cables and unsightly game consoles. A TV unit, such as this one, is ideal for hiding away ugly Wii games or Xbox controls, as they can all be slipped into the top drawer with ease. Keep on top of remote controls as well by storing them in a dedicated basket, so there's no more rummaging around at the back of the sofa.
How do you streamline the toy clean-up at your house? Share your ideas in the Comments section.
By Louise O'Bryan