Best toy storage solutions: Boxes, baskets and more

Covering every square inch of the house with toys seems to be a child’s superpower. How they manage to spread the mess so far and wide is a mystery, but if you’ve stepped on one Lego piece too many or can’t face fishing toy cars out of your bed every night, decent toy storage is a must.

Having a dedicated box, basket or trunk for your child’s toys is a great way of encouraging them to take responsibility for their own things – which is why accessible, kid-friendly options are essential if you really want them to clear up after themselves.

Toy storage needs to be practical – easy to access and robust enough to put up with whatever your kids throw at it (literally) – but you want it to look good too. Chances are, unless you’re lucky enough to have a playroom to shut the mess away in, they are going to be on display somewhere in the house, so style must be a consideration.

How we tested

We searched for some of the best-looking, hardest-working toy storage options on the market, and put them to the test with our three-year-old and six-year-old reviewers, and a mountain of toys and books.

Taking into consideration how easy our little testers could help themselves to – and pack away – their toys, overall appearance and quality, we have rounded up the best of the best. Things like portability  got the thumbs up – after all, these may need to move from room to room or outside on a sunny day – as did durable designs that are built to last.

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The best toy storage ideas for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Not a Boring Box mess/stuff basket set: £39, Notaboringbox.com
  • Best nursery storage – Mamas & Papas Harwell nursery storage: £349, Mamasandpapas.com
  • Best stackable storage – Aykasa maxi crate: £25, Kidly.co.uk
  • Best multi-use storage option – Rock & Pebble house no 2 large storage bag: £59, Sorenshouse.co.uk
  • Best for easy clean up – Play & Go Miffy storage bag cand playmat: £34.99, Miffyshop.co.uk
  • Best cute storage – Sass & Belle woodland fox basket: £39, Notaboringbox.com
  • Best large storage option – Jojo Maman Bebe white toy sorter: £99, Jojomamanbebe.co.uk
  • Best for portability – Lego storage brick: £24.99, Redcandy.co.uk
  • Best storage box on wheels – Bloomingville kesa kids storage box: £135, Naken.co.uk

Not a Boring Box mess/stuff basket set

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

This braided seagrass basket set was an instant hit with our little testers (one basket each, hooray!) as well as the grown-ups. With “mess” and “stuff” embroidered on the pair – we love the ochre yellow shade, but you can also pick from red or black – they measure D 27 x H 21cm and D 35cm x H 30cm respectively and we were amazed at how much each could fit in.

The handles are a very welcome touch, and both our testers enjoyed lugging around their baskets stuffed with soft toys and plastic farm animals independently – without any concerns from us that they would snap at any time.

Open storage like this is excellent for toy rotation, so if your child has more toys than they know what to do with, it’s handy to swap them around every couple of weeks so they can really make the most of what they have. It’s also a good way of spotting which toys are no longer in favour and deserve to be passed on to someone who will play with them.

Sturdy, stylish enough to warrant a place in any living room and with a deceptively large space for storing anything from toy cars to Duplo bricks, these tick all the boxes for us.

Mamas & Papas Harwell nursery storage

Best: Nursery storage

Rating: 9/10

If you’re looking for a high-quality, beautiful-looking piece of furniture that offers plenty of toy storage as well as the opportunity to grow with your child, we think the Harwell storage unit is worth every penny. You’ll need to allow a couple of hours for assembly – and do note this is definitely a two-person job, as is trying to carry the two very heavy boxes up the stairs, believe us! – but it is straightforward with plenty of clear, illustrated steps to guide you through.

Measuring H 144.7cm x L 86.8cm x W 49cm, we think the quirky house design makes the cutest addition to a baby’s nursery (where it can be used for clothes, nappies and general baby paraphernalia) but packs plenty of kid appeal to ensure it becomes a much-loved part of your child’s room as they grow.

There’s a drawer which is perfect for clothes or board games, then four cubbyholes with four easily removable boxes which can be filled with books and toys. Our six-year-old tester had no problem reaching both levels, while our three-year-old found it easier to pull out the lower boxes. Just make sure you don’t overfill these, as the heavier they get the trickier they are for little ones to manage.

We really loved the fun “roof” for the top of the unit; this can easily be removed if you want to make the most of the flat surface for extra storage. Just be aware that with a piece of furniture this size and weight, you really will need to attach the wall straps to make it secure, so that your children can safely make the most of the storage options.

Aykasa maxi crate

Best: Stackable storage

Rating: 8.5/10

These retro-looking crates have been popping up all over the coolest parenting Instagram accounts, and it’s not hard to see the appeal. Available in an impressive range of colours and a choice of maxi, midi or mini sizes, these crates fold down flat, so can easily be stored under a bed when you’re not using them.

We opted for the maxi crate (L 60cm x W 40cm x D 22cm) for peak storage and our little testers quickly worked out how to fold and unfold it themselves (it’s very simple and no risk of trapped fingers), then set to work filling it with their most treasured possessions (a cuddly Pikachu, plastic whale shark and a wooden banana).

While there are handles at each end, due to the length of the crate and their mini arm span, our testers found it tricky to carry on their own – they did a good job dragging it from room to room regardless.

We felt this really came into its own for book storage and the fact the crates are easily stackable scored major bonus points for offering extra storage space without taking over the room.

Rock & Pebble house no 2 large storage bag

Best: Multi-use storage option

Rating: 9.5/10

Made from organic, heavy-weight cotton canvas, complete with a screen-printed house design, drawstring “roof” and wooden key, this bag won both of our little testers over thanks to the imaginary play potential it offered, and we were impressed with the quality and cool, contemporary look.

This is like the Tardis of toy storage options – from the outside, you’d imagine the H 70cm x W 40cm X D 30cm bag would squeeze in a decent amount of stash, but even with bucket loads of toy cars inside there was still a huge amount of space to spare.

Our testers happily put this to the test, stuffing their (vast) fancy dress collection into the bag, then filling it up with cuddly toys and finally seeing how many toy dinosaurs they could squeeze in. We’re pretty sure the three-year-old ended up in there at some point, too. It’s as multi-purpose as they come (we’re already eyeing it up as the perfect laundry bag for our six-year-old’s room if we can convince our little testers to stop hiding in it) and is really excellent quality. We’d be happy to have this on display in any room of the house.

Play & Go Miffy storage bag cand playmat

Best: For easy clean up

Rating: 8/10

If you have a Lego-mad child on your hands, you’ll know the unequalled pain of stepping on a rogue Lego brick, barefoot. This handy storage bag come playmat is an ingenious way of scooping up all the detritus from an afternoon’s building session in record-breaking time, saving your feet from any discarded bricks.

The playmat measures 140cm in diameter, so there’s plenty of room for siblings to play alongside each other, and the clever bit is that once they’ve finished you pull the drawstring together and everything is bundled up in an easy-to-carry storage bag. Hang it up on a hook behind the door and the toys are neatly out of the way. It’s worth mentioning our child testers struggled with the drawstring, so it’s probably better left to the grown-ups to deal with.

Of course, this isn’t specifically for Lego fans, it’s simply a convenient and speedy way to collect up your child’s toys and keep them together for the next play session. We took it away with us and found it a lifesaver when trying to contain the mess at our rented holiday cottage. Extra marks for the sweet Miffy print, too.

Sass & Belle oodland fox basket

Best: Cute storage

Rating: 9/10

As soon as we unboxed this our littlest tester claimed it for her bedroom – and we don’t blame her. Featuring a sleepy fox design, this lightweight seagrass basket makes a sweet but stylish addition to any child’s bedroom. And, measuring H 30cm x D 38cm, there’s plenty of room inside for decluttering.

We opted to use it to store our three-year-olds mammoth soft toy collection, but we were careful not to overstuff it as the woven basket felt a little more delicate than some of the others we had tested. While we probably wouldn’t recommend this for carting around heavy toys from room to room, we felt it was perfectly suited for storing cuddly toys, fancy dress outfits or dolls in a bedroom, playroom or living room. It’s a great price and if foxes aren’t your thing, Sass & Belle has lots of other cute belly basket designs to pick from.

Jojo Maman Bébé white toy sorter

Best: Large storage option

Rating: 9/10

As you’d expect from parenting favourite Jojo Maman Bébé, this practical toy sorter is designed specifically with kids in mind. With a whopping eight buckets to fill, as well as two shelves, the amount of storage this offers is a dream come true for declutterers. However, what we rated more than anything else was just how easy it was for our little testers to help themselves to their toys as well as to pack away independently.

You will need to assemble this yourself, but we managed to put it together in less than an hour single-handedly. The unit measures H 100cm x W 84cm x D 35cm, so doesn’t take up too much room and would neatly fit into the corner of a child’s bedroom or playroom.

The plastic tubs are all removable – something our six-year-old managed with no problem, and each measure H 13cm x W 20cm x L 29cm, so you can fit an impressive amount of things inside all eight tubs. We love the idea of theming each one, so one has cars, the other wooden jigsaws etc, but our youngest had other ideas and merrily chucked everything in together when ‘helpfully’ packing away. While both our testers were able to reach things on the shelves, we found they were better for storing soft toys on, rather than heavy objects like books.

At under £100 it’s a great choice if you have lots of toys at home, or if you need a decent-sized storage option for siblings.

Lego storage brick

Best: For portability

Rating: 8.5/10

You can imagine how impressed our Lego-crazy, six-year-old tester was with this giant Lego brick storage box. To be honest, the grown-ups thought it was pretty cool too. Measuring L 50cm x H 25cm x D 18cm (although a half-size version is also available), you simply lift off the lid and fill the brick to your heart’s content.

The fun, playful design really appealed to us, but despite appearances these are not a great choice for storing Lego. Our tester discovered this when they emptied some of their prized Lego into the brick only to realise the ridges inside the bottom of the box are the perfect size for small Lego pieces to get stuck in. We still haven’t managed to prise them out, so if you don’t want to end up with the same problem, we suggest sticking to storing larger toys inside.

Instead, we filled the brick with toy cars and plastic animals – and were very pleased with how much you could squeeze inside while still getting the lid on. Our testers really enjoyed carrying this from room to room themselves, and we also felt the sturdy yet lightweight nature of the brick made it a clever storage option for taking toys on holiday with you, too.

Bloomingville kesa kids storage box

Best: Storage box on wheels

Rating: 9/10

Made from solid wood, this classic toy box perfectly blends practicality with style. Featuring a charming bear design, the words “this is where the fun stuff happens” and a cute polka dot interior, it was a firm favourite with our little testers from the get-go.

Thankfully the box arrives almost fully assembled, we just had to screw the wheels on, so we were able to get testing its storage capabilities straight away. The open-top nature meant our little testers could fill the box (which measures H 40cm x W 45cm x D 60cm) with all their books and toys easily and they loved rummaging around inside for their favourite things. The wheels were a very welcome addition, and both our six-year-old and three-year-old loved taking turns pushing it from room to room to collect their toys at the end of the day. See, cleaning up is fun kids!

The verdict: Toy storage ideas

The mess and stuff basket set from Not a Boring Box is a stylish, fun and practical toy storage solution which we felt delivered great value for money. It’s something the kids will love now and won’t feel it’s too “babyish” as they get older. The versatile nature and gorgeous design of the Rock & Pebble house storage bag deserves a special mention, too.

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