Monday, March 5, 2012

American Girl Doll and Toy Storage Solution

Every so often I walk in to my girls' room and realize that it resembles a nuclear fallout zone. Lately, their American Girl dolls (and Target knock-off dolls) and toys have been the culprits. I knew I needed a better system for all those little toy pieces and accessories...surely there is a better way that leaving everything on the floor, right? I'll show you a little Before and After magic today!
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Here is the very unfortunate "Before" shot of one side of their room:























It looks like something out of an episode of Hoarders, I'm sure. 

Of course, the AG store (and Target) have lovely little doll armoires, and I've seen some storage ideas online, but those all require extra space. Space we just don't have. It occurred to me that with the exception of a plastic bin that holds extra sheets and blankets, the girls were really just using the area under the bottom bunk for stuffing used tissues. If you don't have kids yet, I bet that sentence made you really want some.

I found the most adorable soft-sided, purple and white, under-the-bed shoe storage bin at Marshalls. Sadly, they only had one in purple, so I picked up another in khaki. 

I started by placing empty shoe boxes in a few of the slots to give the storage piece some stability...this is important when little kids will be dragging it out and shoving it back in all day.























I kept like items together (grocery store, spa, tea party, sleeping bags, dance bags, etc) and used gallon ziploc bags to hold shoes and purses before placing them in the bins. This makes it so much easier for the girls to keep things organized, and when they are done playing, the bins go back under the bed!























Michaela Byrd has a hard time keeping all the clothes and shoes together for her Bitty Twin dolls, so they got their own section. All the clothes for the larger dolls were organized and placed back in the girls' doll trunk.























With a little straightening up, the rest of that play area was back together and ready for play time!























The best part is that the storage bins really aren't visible when the comforter is pulled up, and when I finally hunt down a white bed skirt, it won't be a problem at all! It's certainly a lot better than looking at scattered toys and used tissues.























Under the bed storage for toys really is a great idea if you're not using the space for a trundle bed, out of season clothes, or something else. Plastic liners in a shoe container like ours could easily house Legos, Playmobil toys, or superhero characters if you have boys. If our Barbies migrate upstairs, we might see about squeezing another unit under that bed!

I still wish we had space for a dedicated play room, filled with coordinating built-ins and bins, and plenty of space for the girls to play. But we work with what we have, and for now, I have two happy little girls who have sworn that they will keep up with the organizing for fear of losing their stuff to the donate bin.

Do you get creative with organizing solutions for your home?


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30 comments:

  1. Using the space under the girls' bed is such a smart idea. I love how the bin you found has all of those divided sections - perfect for all of their doll accessories.

    I can only imagine the fun your two have with all of their cute doll things. I love the barber chair!

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  2. What a great idea! We have the same issue around here. I just built a doll closet for my daughter's birthday and can't wait to give it to her to corral the mess!

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  3. Great solution! It almost looks fun to organize everything in there :-)

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  4. I agree that under the bed gives you great storage space! We put the kids' beds on "bed elevators" found at Wal-Mart or BB&B for about $10. That way we can also stack containers under there. We use clear lidded plastic bins for Legos, action figures, beanie babies, Barbie's...and it makes for great long term storage, too!

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  5. The purple bin almost matches the comforter perfectly. I think it looks great and manageable for the girls to keep up with. I didn't know they had knock of AG dolls at Target. I will have to keep that in mind for our little girl.

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  6. Love your idea! It looks nice and is functional. Double score!

    BTW, I've found some great large storage bags at Dollar Tree. They are larger than a gallon ziploc bag and they have a handle. They are great for storage too. They are smaller than the largest size Ziploc storage bags. They come two in a box. They would be great for awkward things like puzzles or other toys too big for gallon bags. Just thought I'd mention it in case you have anything else you were looking to store.

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  7. What a great idea! I never think of under the bed storage. We don't have an extra playroom either, sooooo wish we did, but we don't. I like this idea and will now be on the lookout for storage. American girl doll stuff is overtaking us. Now....what ideas do you have for stuffed animals!! lol

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  8. Excellent use of space!
    I love, love AG dolls, I wish my house was littered with them...well maybe not really. We'll stick to Legos around here :)

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  9. I love that storage container! The purple matches their room perfectly! It is so pretty and the khaki blends in well too. I love the idea of using shoe boxes to keep it upright. Great post! Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Great solution Amanda! I remember those days...shoes, clothes, everywehre!! We used a lot of plastic storage boxes to keep ours in back then.

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  11. oh boy, my girls' room looks worse than that!! great idea on the under bed storage-my girls have drawers under their bunks but this idea would be great for my son and all his cars, blocks, legos, etc. thanks for sharing and for letting me know i'm not the only one whose kids room looks like that!

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  12. oh boy, my girls' room looks worse than that!! great idea on the under bed storage-my girls have drawers under their bunks but this idea would be great for my son and all his cars, blocks, legos, etc. thanks for sharing and for letting me know i'm not the only one whose kids room looks like that!

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  13. Wow, my youngest daughter has the same bedding!!

    We also use under the bed for storage, I use those plastic shoe boxes... around 1.00 each.

    Great post :) Your girls are beautiful :)

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  14. I love this Amanda! So cute. My stepdaughters are out of the AG stuff :( I loved that phase.

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  15. Great storage ideas for your kids' place. Blends well, i'm sure your kids love it.

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  16. What a wonderful idea! My girls' American Girl clothing, accessories, etc. are over-taking our entire upstairs! We need some organization fast! But then, all of their Barbies are under one bed. Hmmmmmm. Maybe time to clean out! :)

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  17. Their room looks like so much fun! I want to come play dolls...all we have are Hot Wheels and Legos:) Right now my boys have some big stuff {an air hockey table & small pinball machine} under their bed. Don't you love the great stuff grandparents give your kids....maybe not!

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  18. Amanda - You KNOW I think this is a fabulous idea! Seriously SO organized and such a "duh?' kind of thing to do. I'm thinking that I could do something like this in my Rachel's room, too! Great organizing!

    Becky B
    www.organizingmadefun.com
    Organizing Made Fun

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  19. How smart are you to utilize that space under the bed!!

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  20. I've featured your idea in my Saturday 7 Spotlight this week. Too clever not to share! :) http://www.positivelysplendid.com/2012/03/saturday-seven-spotlight_17.html

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  21. amy @ www.brooksboutique.comMarch 18, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    Awesome idea! I think I might steal it! My girls' rooms are a mess with all their AG clothes everywhere! Thanks! :) Amy @brooksboutique.com

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  22. Great idea! Love the cute purple polka dots and how you used the boxes to add stability.
    KCoake
    www.realcoake.blogspot.com

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  23. Found your blog on pinterest! Im loving this idea! I am currently trying to find ideas for turning my 2 year olds room into a big girl room- and we'll also be adding bunk beds to make room for my 8 year old stepdaughter and I'm loving ideas like this to organize and also 'hide' the big girl toys from the toddler stuff so my stepdaughter knows her things are kept 'safe'!

    Do you mind telling me where you got that bedding!? It is gorgeous! Also, do you like having the bunk beds or if you could do it all over would you go with separate twins or even just a trundle? I'm exploring options and thought I'd ask opinions while I haven't locked myself into anything yet!
    Thanks so much! Hope to hear back,
    Amanda

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  24. Oooh, thanks for sharing this idea! We're just starting to get doll things and I was wondering how to store them without making them inaccessible or taking up space we really don't have.

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  25. Love the tip! So easy , where did you get the little house?

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  26. This is relay cool! Where can I get one of these?

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  27. Where did you get that doll house/tent? I've tried googleing and I can't find anything :( Please someone help!

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  28. this is an AWESOME idea! thank you so much for sharing. I will definitely be doing this for my 3 girls room that is also looking like a bomb went off in there!

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