Our New Storage System for Games and Puzzles

posted by Andrea | 09/14/2017
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About a month ago, I shared the mini-makeover we gave to the landing area at the top of our stairs. The landing area was one of the areas I was so fascinated with when we first walked through our house before making an offer to buy it. There were so many fun ways I could envision to use that space… and after 7 years, we’ve utilized many of my ideas already!

The OTHER area I was very excited about was the large walk-in closet in our main-floor office.

This closet is a bit awkward because it goes under the stairs and has a really sloped ceiling… but similar to the landing area, it has such great potential for a variety of storage needs and fun kids’ things!

I just knew we’d be able to do something fabulous with this area.

Back when we first moved in, we used this closet as a “catch-all” for all sorts of office supplies, sewing supplies, gift wrap, household tools, extra storage, etc.

Then, when Nora was around 1 year old, we turned it into a teeny-tiny play area for her.

After Simon came along and we created a much larger playroom upstairs, we turned this closet into more of a craft/school/desk area. Both kids LOVED coloring or doing little projects in this closet — and we taped up all their artwork so they could look at it every day.

More recently, after realizing our 3 bigger kids can’t all fit super comfortably in this closet anymore, we transformed it into much-needed storage for our rapidly-growing collection of games, puzzles, DVD’s, CD’s, photo albums, and other things the kids want access to on a regular basis. I also have some of our baby gear tucked away in here (bouncy seat, play mat, etc.)

This space is PERFECT for our current storage needs. It’s tucked away and out of site so I don’t care if it gets messy; however, it’s also RIGHT off the living room — which is where we do the majority of our games and puzzles right now, since the kids always need our help or want to play with us.

Eventually, once the kids are more independent, I can see moving all the games and puzzles upstairs (probably to the landing area) and then using this closet for something different — but right now, this closet fits our game and puzzle storage needs so well!

Here’s a look inside this awkward (but totally awesome) closet!

Looking through the door of the closet — this shelving unit holds all our DVD’s, CD’s, photo books, Nora’s “school supplies” for her pretend school, and a few games.

This stickable white board was a fun addition to the space — I don’t care if the kids make a mess of it in here and they LOVE Β using the whiteboard.

And all the ABC and 123 posters came from my mom’s school — teachers who were apparently purging at the end of last year!

When you turn the corner, you see the shelves we put up in the sloped part of the closet.

The bottom 2 shelves are very deep so we can easily fit 2 “layers” of games and puzzles — one behind the other.

The floor space is great for really long items — oh, and we’re LOVING this puzzle rack for all our chunky board puzzles. It makes it SO much easier for James to get the one puzzle he wants without knocking over the entire stack.

I’m sure we will continue to tweak this storage system as our kids get older and as we amass more games and puzzles — but I just love how out-of-the-way, yet still easily-accessible, this storage solution is right now.

All 3 of our kids can reach anything in this closet — which means a few less things I need to do each day.

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And would you believe this entire makeover was FREE!!

We used leftover paint, trim, and carpet from Nora’s bedroom renovation.

We used an old bookcase I was going to sell on Craigslist.

We used several mismatched and chipped shelves my dad randomly got for free from Menards earlier this summer.

We used a stick-on whiteboard I had originally purchased for a different purpose but ended up changing my mind and never returned. It fits PERFECTLY in this space.

We used freebie school-themed decorations my mom snagged from teachers who were cleaning out their classrooms last spring.

Our only “expense” was paying the carpet guy a little extra to install leftover carpet form Nora’s bedroom in this closet… not too bad!

I love how this space has morphed to meet the changing needs of our family.

It continues to be a super useful and functional space — which is how I like all my spaces to be πŸ™‚

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10 comments

  1. Bonnie'sMama

    09/15/2017

    Andrea, your children are the perfect age to play cooperative games from Peaceable Kingdom. My children especially love Lost Puppies and Hoot Owl Hoot. They’re simple enough for even James to play, but with enough strategy to be interesting to parents. And best of all, no one child gets to gloat over winning.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks — I’ll have to look into these games!

    [Reply]

  2. Debbie

    09/14/2017

    It’s amazing how much storage you have in your house. I like the new carpet in the closet.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I know — it’s great! We have created the majority of the storage space though — either by adding closets, making closets bigger, adding more functional storage to existing closets, etc. It’s nice to have space!

    [Reply]

  3. Michelle

    09/14/2017

    I really love the use of the space. What a great idea.

    I have a closet under my stairs as well, although yours is much roomier. It’s been used for numerous purposes through the years but never in an organized way. I currently store extra blankets, comforters, and pillows in there.

    I love the shelving. I showed my husband your post and asked him to do this for us. Would be a great space to put the few books I have so I can get rid of our giant bookcase I no longer want.

    What I have done with our games (since storing them in the boxes takes up so much space) is I have put all the pieces into separate zippered bags and put the game boards into a sterilite plastic storage box. They not take up very little space on one shelf of my closet. It’s working great for us.

    Thanks for sharing this space with us. I had been wondering what to do with the books so I could get rid of the bookshelf without putting the books in boxes.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Good tip for the game storage! I’m not sure my kids would ever put the games back if they had to go in zip-top bags, but this is a good idea for future once they are are a bit older!

    [Reply]

  4. Roxanne

    09/14/2017

    Our kids are 4 and 1, and I’m seeing a lot of the same puzzles/games/movies that we have πŸ™‚ Must be family favorites all around! We converted an old TV cabinet into a toy/game cabinet, so everything can hide away in there when it’s not in use.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    The TV cabinet is a great idea — but we don’t have the wall space for a cabinet like that in our living area. I love using old hutches and armoires for all sorts of storage needs!

    [Reply]

  5. Kerri

    09/14/2017

    We have one of these same closets. I use it as our emergency supply/ meeting area. It holds all our extra water, emergency supply of food, our go bags and extra blankets and pillows. It is sturdy so great if we have to shelter in place. And big enough to hold all of us.

    [Reply]

    Stephanie Reply:

    Great idea, Kerri! I need to work on emergency supplies and storage underneath our stairs would work. This space has also been a play area and then a storage area (fans, heaters, a light mattress for sleepovers, and an insert for our table).

    [Reply]