8 Ways to Corral Your Kids’ Collections

8 Ways to Corral Your Kids’ Collections

Prevent their favorite toys and trinkets from turning into clutter with these clever ideas.

By Debbie Koenig

Kids collect things with remarkable dedication. Any item that comes in more than one type can be hoarded, sorted, and counted—we’ve seen pint-sized collectors with impressive quantities of everything from pinecones to chunks of concrete to unsettling robotic hatchlings and Japanese pocket monsters. What starts out as a fun pastime can soon take over vast swaths of your home, if you’re not careful. Encourage your children to take care of their collections, using options like these to organize them:

1. Egg Carton or Small Glass Jars: These versatile (and free!) packages offer a dozen compartments for small items like rocks, shells, buttons, figurines, tiny toys, marbles, or bottle caps. Buy your eggs in a paper container, and your kid will be able to decorate and label it with paint, markers, or crayons. They can do the same to blank adhesive mailing labels for jars.

2. Thread Organizer: Segmented cases built to hold spools of thread, these are generally made of clear plastic, and click shut to protect their contents. Some larger boxes have adjustable compartments, so you can accommodate small items like toy cars, miniature dolls and their accessories, beads, and crafting sets, as well as bulkier items like video game characters, vinyl figures, and play sets.

3. Binders: Your school-days classic provides organization and protection to flat items. Plastic sleeves come in sizes that can hold trading cards, stamps, artwork, and postcards—and hole-punched accessories like pencil cases and zippered pouches can handle slender, itty-bitty things like puzzle pieces.

4. Picture Ledge: These long, slim, wall-mounted shelves have a lip on the edge to keep items from falling off. We’ve seen them used for board or picture books, of course, but also video games, toy cars, plastic menageries, and figurines.

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5. Shoe Organizer: Hang one on the back of a door, but skip the shoes! Fill the pockets with action figures, art supplies, fashion dolls, stuffed animals, mid-sized vehicles, play sets, and video game characters.


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6. Peg Board: Sold in hardware stores and often used in garages and over workbenches, these sturdy panels are a great option when you have more walls available than floor space. Attach hooks, bins, shelves, and baskets to hold action figures, toy weapons, craft supplies, toy tools, toy kitchen gear, dress-up supplies—anything you’d rather not step on.

7. Tackle Box or Tool Box: Perfect for the kid who prefers a portable collection, these sturdy containers come in different sizes, sometimes with removable tray inserts. Use for toy cars, plastic building blocks, play sets, plastic animals, action figures, video game characters, and craft supplies.

8. Kitchen Cabinet Organizers: Got a kid who likes to keep a collection on display? Place a tiered kitchen cabinet organizer on top of the dresser or desk. It’ll provide plenty of room for an array of cherished toy cars, plastic animals, small video game characters, or vinyl figures.

How do you display your kids’ treasured items?

Debbie Koenig writes about family and food, and is the author of the cookbook Parents Need to Eat Too. Find her at debbiekoenig.com.

Image ©iStock.com/ParkerDeen

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