Simply Done: Antique Toy Containment

Feb 16

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Hoping you had a nice extended weekend!

A couple weeks ago I helped the sweetest family of 4 tackle a small toy organization issue. It’s funny, but every mom who hires me confesses their situation is “the worst”. Or I hear a lot of “this must be the biggest mess you’ve seen” or “please tell me I’m not alone?!”. First of all, the situations are never really that bad to begin with. Moms are savvy….and hello Pinterest! Inspiration is easy to find…along with an enormous community of mom bloggers who share ideas and love of keeping their homes organized. Especially when it comes to toys!

This particular family has 2 children under the age of 3. A little boy and a little girl. This age range plus the gender difference equates to a variety of toys, many being of the bulky category. These are things we can’t avoid as parents. Each and every time I hear the frustrations I gently remind this time passes all too soon. Before you know it, you’ll be missing those bulky jumpers and saucers. Not that I’m talking from experience or anything – ha!

Mom has a taste for the eclectic and this piece in her living room is stunning…

antique toy containment

But you can see the toys scattered around the floor left her annoyed and frustrated. The piece is beautiful, but not the most functional since only a middle section has a door that opens. Not to worry, we had a plan.

Last year I designed / installed a new closet system (seen here) in her son’s room. This meant some of the bigger boy toys (trucks, etc) were moved and now sit on display in his closet…

With the remaining toys, it was a matter of re-containing or placing in spots that made sense to mom. She wanted crayons and art items up and away, for obvious reasons. Yet we still wanted a few toys within reach for the kids to grab…

antique toy containment

A few simple clear bins were added. We found a basket in the shed that now contains the soft books for her littlest pumpkin, which you see sitting on the floor. As far as the art supplies, these are by far my favorite containment…and I’ve shared them time and again here on the blog…

antique toy containment

You can’t go wrong with Target’s $1 pails. These in particular are finished in chalkboard paint and labeled using my chalk pen.

When mom originally contacted me over a year ago, she was on the fence about whether to keep this beautiful piece. We considered other wall systems like those found at Pottery Barn, Land of Nod and Restoration. But ultimately, I’m glad she decided to keep it just the way it is. And the fact it’s not too large means the collection of toys isn’t likely to get out of control.

antique toy containment

If you’re looking for a great way to contain toys, don’t rule out an antique toy containment options or an eclectic piece. Not everything has to be new. And it adds so much charm to a home.

Happy toy organizing!

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comments +

  1. I absolutely LOVE this! I have a piece I could use to implement this idea! Can’t wait to try it for my kids!

    • Samantha says:

      Awe, thank you – and SO great to hear you already have something to use! I really think this is a great idea…and in her case, she entertains a lot. When the toys are away, you’d never know it. Her dining room is in the area so it makes for a nice hidden storage piece. 🙂


  2. Marilyn says:

    Hi Sam, I’m pretty new to your blog, and I’m loving the organization I’m seeing! That is a beautiful piece. I’m glad she kept it. It would have been nice to see the little boy’s closet after you moved the big toys into it. You know how we love to see those “after” shots. Thanks!

    • Samantha says:


      Thank you so much!! I had a good shot of the after, but her son was in it and I have to be sensitive to those things with with clients. At some point, I’ll get another shot of the after and get it up here for everyone!

      Really appreciate your comment!!


  3. Cate says:

    It’s a beautiful piece! I love incorporating vintage furniture into my décor and repurposing older pieces. You may talk about this with your clients, but it’s such an important reminder to parents (and Grandparents/other caregivers of younger children) to tether armoires, dressers, entertainment centers, etc. with furniture safety straps to the wall. A quick and inexpensive thing to do that can prevent a tragedy.

    Thanks for the wonderful blog. I only found you recently and have been reading through many posts. So many great ideas!

    Meghan’s Hope: Raising awareness about the danger of furniture and TV tip-over
    “Thus far, the numbers of small children injured and killed by furniture and television tip-over is only climbing. 71 children every single day are injured or killed when a piece of furniture, a TV, or an appliance falls on them.  A child dies on average every 2 weeks.  Every 45 minutes a child is seen in the ER because a TV fell on them.  The children that survive these accidents may be left with severe and debilitating lifelong injuries.  ALL of them can be prevented.”

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