Easy game piece and puzzle storage

February 21, 2011

One of my favorite little tricks of late is a bit of a decluttering/organizing combo. I’ve discovered a new love when it comes to organizing, and it’s not rocket science.

It’s the good old Ziploc bag:

This certainly isn’t anything new – I’ve seen folks all over blogland use them often. But it was just recently that it clicked how AWESOME they are for the kid stuff.

I have a love/hate relationship with the boxes that the Bub’s toys and puzzles come in. I love that they are so easily stacked and put away, but hate that they fall apart so easily and take up SO MUCH space:

Especially those memory games – the actual pieces take up so little space in that big box.

So, I started using bags instead, and I LOVE IT:

It’s such a simple thing! They’ve made a difference though. It must be something about seeing the pieces, or just the ease of getting to them -- but the Bub seems to want to play with his games even more now, and is so helpful when it comes to putting everything away.

Now, we just toss the baggies in big bin, which helps the clean up too:

I now have 14 different games in that one bin – there’s no way 14 boxes would have fit.

This makes Momma HAPPY. And you know when Momma’s happy, everyone’s happy. :) Ha!

But really…it’s the truth. For reals. YouknowwhatI’msayin’.

I also used the baggies to organize the pretty white dresser in our living room

I pulled the former changing table/former office storage dresser into the room last week and LOVE it.

Like I mentioned, even though this is our “formal” living room, we use the space pretty much every day. I thought the dresser would be a great spot for all of our puzzles.

Oh, the puzzles. And…puzzles. Big ones, little ones, so many puzzles:


But you can see that I could barely fit four large boxes in one drawer, and that wasn’t going to work at all.

Baggies to the rescue again:

puzzle pieces in bags instead of boxes

Four boxes took up almost the whole drawer, and now six big puzzles take up just over half of the space:

game pieces in bags for storage

Do you hear the singing? I. love. it. It’s just such a satisfying mix of decluttering and organizing – getting rid of the bulky, torn up boxes, but still having everything separated and easy to get to.

I’ve got the little puzzle pieces in bins, but am planning on putting them each in their own bags as well:

organizing kid's puzzle pieces in bags

For the floor puzzles, I cut out a picture off the box so we have something to refer to when putting it together. :)

Someday when we’re done with these, I’ll just donate them in the bag – I doubt the box will matter that much to the next family. It’s working out GREAT for us!

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  1. As a professional organizer, I can't tell how much my clients and I use the good ol' baggie. I also love the large XL and XXL ones for larger items. Great post as usual!

  2. I love organizing...I'm on a purging-deleting-organizing-getting stuff out of my newly remodeled house - RAMPAGE!

    My kids are really liking less clutter and finding old toys. My hubs likes the "clean" look.

    Can't wait to read more tips!

    Lana @ ilovemy5kids

  3. Baggies are fantastic! I love to use them in "junk drawers" to keep them more organized and like things together! :)

  4. I love this post! But I was thinking, would'nt it be just great if Tupperware or a similar company would come out with gameboard size containers? You know long and flat with little compartments with small peaces, Maybe a spot to slip a label? I think that would be awesome!
    Ok enough rambling! Great post :)

  5. I love this post! But I was thinking, would'nt it be just great if Tupperware or a similar company would come out with gameboard size containers? You know long and flat with little compartments with small peaces, Maybe a spot to slip a label? I think that would be awesome!
    Ok enough rambling! Great post :)

  6. Thats a great idea, and so true, the boxes to childrens games and puzzles are always so big, with very little items in them.

    -Much Love, Kim and Mr. Gnome

  7. sarah, it's been so long since i could participate in one of your link parties, but i'm glad i could this time :)

    your organized drawers are inspiring. baggies come to the rescue here often, with keeping all my yarn and knitting (and sewing, and crafting, and kids stuff lol) organized.

    thanks for a great link party.


    p.s. i'm still trying to convince my dh that putting dvd's in an album thingie like you did ages ago is the way to go. he's still not convinced. :P one day...

  8. HI Sarah!

    Great organizing!!! I LOVE using bags too! :) Thanks for hosting!!! Have a great night.


  9. Such a fun party Sarah! I am excited to see everyone's ideas. I need help getting organized!


  10. I'm a total bagaholic!!! With all the tiny Lego Star Wars and Indiana Jones pieces, I would have lost my mind were it not for my Ziploc bags! Great post!!!

  11. What a fun party idea! I'm so sad that I can't participate... there's just nothing "organized" about temporary living while building a house! lol I do look forward to using MANY of your organization ideas when we FINALLY get in our new home! :) Thanks for sharing!

  12. Love this! So inspiring. I didn't do a post about this but we recently got rid of all of our DVD cases for kids movies and put them in a binder. Wow! This has saved SO much room. I was hesitant, but I've never missed them. Now to do the same with our movies. (started to say "adult" movies but realized it would sound like "adult movies". Ha! You know what I mean!!)

    If you have a sec (because I'm sure you're not busy at all...) stop by my blog and let me know what you think of my master bedroom redo. Painted horizontal stripes! Need I say more?


  13. This might be a better link to my bedroom redo post.


  14. I did this too when my "bub" was a little guy (he's nine now)....BUT....I made a copy of the picture of the toy or game or puzzlw from online...Amazon has lots of the toys with a small picture...that way I could use it as a label on the baggie or fold it up and put it in the puzzle bag!.....love me some baggies!

  15. I just started using the zip top bags for my daughter's toys. I didn't even think about using them for her games. Thanks for the tip!

  16. Great post and fabulous party idea! I am working my way through the house a room at a time so this is perfect! So many great ideas in one place!

  17. Such great timing...I'm finally starting to organize my craft area! Thanks for hosting, and enjoy your newly organized space as well!

  18. I should buy stock in baggies...I used them for everything! Fun seeing how you get organized, Sarah...great tips!

  19. And I thought I am the only one! These sure are great to store all the little toys.

  20. I adore organizing and cleaning. This is such an amazing post! We started cleaning and organizing our room last night (our room is like our (my husband, son and I) apartment). It was just TOO cluttered!
    I'll see if I have anything to add and I'll be back! :)
    Thanks so much for this amazing post!!!

  21. Ziplocs are a must when moving (and we do so often)!

  22. I am not a rep for this company, let me say that up front! But I have fallen madly in love with THESE for games (and a ton of other stuff!!) Just a bit more sturdy and easy for little ones to CLOSE. :www.clearlyorganizedbags.com.

  23. omg, but now you have to build puzzles without using the picture on the box!! you are a brave woman :)

  24. All linked up! Thanks for hosting this awesome party =)

    Have a fabulous week dear!

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  25. I have been on a ziploc-rampage lately, too! I wanted to get containers for my paints, brushes, odds and ends and craft supplies but can only buy so much at once. The space I have for them right now is just a big drawer - so sorting them in ziplocs has given me some real peace of mind! So easy to find everything.

  26. Hi Sarah,
    Ok, so since I don't have an official organizing area today, I just want you to know you have inspired me to get my groove on and get some action on this awfu-god-forsaken topic! LOL
    Pantry, closet, crafts????Where to begin!!!
    I've got my work cut out for me. Thanks for the inspiration, these ladies have got it goin' on!!
    xoxo, cami

  27. Ditto on the ziploc bags. Tupperware is another "secret" I have. I organize everything in little plastic containers and then shove it all in a pretty box. Nobody has to know!

  28. Sarah, I take the puzzle organizing another step. . . I put the same alphabet letter on the back of every puzzle piece and the picture and the container. Each puzzle has a different alphabet letter. This prompted when two children on an excitement high dumped all puzzles in a pile in the den. It took me FOREVERRRR to sort.

    For small games etc, I sometimes put them in the little plastic totes that toys often come in. The clear totes with zippers and a handle. Then we hang them on a peg hook in the toy room. The kids can see them so remember to play with them AND they are sorted and out of my way. Love your site. MKW

  29. Just found your blog. I am sitting on a delay at the airport and trying to go through as many of the links as I can! lol But this internet is so slow.
    I will will be back though. I'd love for you to link up some of your posts on my Organizing Mission Link party!
    Thanks so much!

  30. LOVE ziplocs! I use them for puzzles, too. I hadn't thought about games yet, though. Thanks for the inspiration!

  31. What a space saver!...Wonder if I can try that for our adult games. Just keep the board and the pieces/cards in a bag.

  32. Freezer bags are great for storage! You can even select your young child's shirt, pants, matching socks and accessories and put them in a freezer bag. Then you put them in a drawer and the child can be perfectly matched!

    Here is something I did with the puzzles, so that it wouldn't be a problem if they got dropped or mixed up on the floor.

    I took the pieces out of the box and assigned each puzzle a letter and number. At the time, my son had lots of Mickey Mouse puzzles, so they were M-1 ("M" for Mickey), M-2, M-3, etc.

    I took out the puzzle and assigned it a name, for example "M-1." Then on the back of each puzzle piece I wrote "M-1" on it in black marker.

    This is so that, if you ever find a puzzle piece on the floor, you immediately know which puzzle it goes to.

    I cut out the front of the puzzle box that showed the picture and wrote "M-1" on it. Then I placed the picture of it in a plastic sleeve (with 3-hole punches on it) and put all the sleeves in a puzzle notebook.

    I put the puzzle pieces in their own freezer bag and marked "M-1," "M-2," etc. on each one. Then I put the puzzle notebook and all the marked puzzle piece freezer bags in a dish pan.

    Anytime my son wanted to do a puzzle he just opened the notebook and selected a picture, then he looked through the puzzle piece bags until he came to the one with the correct number on it. The notebook and puzzle bags were altogether in one pan.

  33. Ziplocks for puzzles is a trick I used when my kids were little too. Another tip I used was to number the puzzles and put that number on the back of each piece in the puzzle- Makes it a snap to put the puzzles away if the kids ever pull out more than one puzzle and they happen to get mixed up. (I'm sure that never happens at your house but it sure did at mine! LOL)

  34. Ziplocs to the rescue, also great for packing up misc toys before friends come over. I have gradually "hidden" most of the toys, leaving a few out for the kids to enjoy when their friends are over. Less clean up for all of us:-) and as you say... happy Mum means happy family.
    Great post, nice to have found your blog.
    Bale & Twine

  35. A sturdy alternative to ziplocs is the 99 cent pencil bags at Walmart. I use them for all card and small games, first aid kits, computer and charger cords, child pokemon card collections etc. You can set them up vertically in a shoe box sized container and store a ton!

  36. Good ole' ziplocs to the rescue! Love them!! and, off-brands will not do. The real Ziplocs just hold up the best!

  37. Hi Sarah. I love this linky party. Do you do this every week? I just did a post where I listed all the linky parties I knew about (& will update the list as I hear of more), organizing them by day of the week, & then there were a few that are once per month. I'd be happy to add this one if you let me know how often you do them.

    I'm a scrapbooker & use the zip bags to create page kits. I put everything into a bag -- the paper, photos & accessories. Then I put a sticky note on the bag & place them in a designated area in my craft room.

  38. Gorgeous! An organized room makes me smile. Enjoy the beautiful day, Kellie xx

  39. Great idea with puzzles...I have stacks of puzzle boxes that are a pain to get at...will definately switch over! Thanks...
    think the only thing I might do is cut off picture from front of box with the puzzles that have lots of pictures to referance what the puzzle looks like completed!

  40. I shared my link on "drawerganization" - and just wanted to comment that I love how dressers serve so many functions. They're SO not just for bedrooms anymore! :)

    I also love using Chinese take-out containers (the plastic ones)for corralling all sorts of stuff. I even used them to hang my hats.

  41. We use the ziplocs too ... LOVE THEM. I cut the box (usually the name)and slide a piece of it into the bag - makes it easier to identify. I started doing this to keep the directions if they were on the lid, and realized how I liked it.

  42. For the benefit of Anonymous (way up at the top) and for you at some point in the future as your son gets into bigger board games, I thought you might be interested in Game Savers from OBH Enterprises.



  43. I absolutely LOVE your blog. You remind me a lot of myself... Even how you call your son, The Bub. We do too.. You're house is beautiful. Love all your ideas !

  44. Ha! I have the same arrangement with having a dresser in the family room to store movies, games & coloring books. And yes, baggies are a necessity!

  45. I love using bags for puzzles and games.

    One tip...if you give each puzzle a number...you can put the number on the back of each piece and then it's easy to identify when you find a random piece under your sofa or if you have two puzzles going at once like we often do.

  46. I've found my "long lost twins" - ie all those women who believe like I do that organization makes one's life easier and gives one a chance to decorate at the same time.
    Love all those blogs you linked to.

    I have many Goodwill/Longaberger baskets. I organize my scrapbook-cardmaking papers by either style or size, I store embellishments, and partially finished projects in baskets - labeled, of course
    In the dressing room, I store purses by season, socks by colors, scarves, all in labeled baskets.

    So I combine my love (obession?)of Longaberger baskets with my love of organization.

    Thanks to all of you who shared your hints and photos of your projects.


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