The Best Toy Shelves All Have One Thing in Common

published Apr 24, 2023
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Ah, toy storage. The bane of my existence as a parent. When my first child was born, I was excited to receive a toy box for her first Christmas. Little did I know that the toy box would not be able to contain the massive amount of toys she would quickly accumulate. Like many other families, we have far too many toys and far too little space to keep them. 

Recently, I made it a mission to reduce the number of toys in our home and to better organize the toys we do have. That is when I discovered the best type of toy shelf: cube shelf storage, or cubby shelves. (Hey, it’s not our site name for nothin’!)

Credit: Christin Haussmann

Storing toys in cube or cubby shelves has so many advantages. 

  • It keeps toys organized by creating a defined space to store each type of toy.
  • It keeps toys and books neat by preventing tipping over and spreading out, like what you’d get if you were dealing with one long shelf.
  • It encourages downsizing the number of toys in your home, because you can only fit so many Polly Pockets in one cube. (I know from experience.)
  • It keeps toys within reach, which encourages kids to actually play with their toys. (Pro tip: Lay the shelf on its side!)
  • It makes it easier for kids to put their toys away because they know exactly where each toy is supposed to go.
  • When paired with fabric boxes, it eliminates visual clutter and is great for storing small toys like LEGOs or toy cars.
Credit: Chloe Berk
Credit: Cathy Pyle

When I started using cubby shelves, I found that my kids played with their toys more, and our space became more organized. My 4-year-old also enjoyed picking out the shelf for her room and personalizing it by choosing which toys to display in each cubby.

Credit: Alicia Betz
One of the cubby shelves we have in our house.
Credit: Alicia Betz
Another cubby shelf we have.

Here are some of our favorite cubby shelves, including the three I have in my home.

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We keep this shelf in our playroom, and it provides plenty of space to store and organize some of our toys. It has eight cubbies: four of which have a backing and four of which do not.

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The Tot

This adorable storage unit is just the right size for toddlers and young kids. It includes handmade wicker baskets, so you can throw anything in there while you’re tidying up and the room will look clean in no time.

3 / 13

The IKEA KALLAX is a popular cube shelf, thanks to its simplicity and versatility. It’s available in five color options, and it pairs well with storage bins.

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was $257.99

You’ll get three wood drawers with this storage shelf. It also has a longer cubby, ideal for bigger and longer toys. You can put a few of these next to each other to create a nice long shelf space on the top as well.

5 / 13

This is the shelf my daughter chose for her room. The pink interior provides a fun pop of color, and it’s nice that some of the cubbies are longer to store some of her bigger toys. Choose from various configurations; we have the 7-cube option with four small cubes and three larger cubes.

6 / 13

Available in six colors, the Better Homes & Gardens 6-Cube Storage Organizer is a good price for what you get. The top panel can support up to 100 pounds, so it would work well as a storage bench, too.

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was $145.99

If you’re short on space, a corner cabinet might be just what you need. This one has nine cubbies, and it’s available in three colors.

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The IKEA TROFAST has a cult following, and for good reason. This take on cube storage includes storage bins you can pull out. Make it unique by mixing and matching colors and using various bin sizes.

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Lovevery makes some of the most high-quality and practical toys, and their Montessori play shelf is an ideal place to store them all. Behind the display shelves, you’ll find additional storage and wooden trays. The hidden storage makes it a piece of cake to set up a toy rotation system.

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was $199.99

I’ve had my eye on this bookshelf/reading nook hybrid for years, and I finally bought it for my son's first birthday. It comes in four colors and is the perfect spot for little kids to curl up with a good book or even play with cars or animal figurines on the top of the shelf while they sit on the cushion.

11 / 13
was $499.95

This storage shelf does it all; it’s a reading nook, cubby storage, and it fits nicely in a corner to optimize space. It has four larger cubbies and three smaller cubbies.

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Pottery Barn Kids

You’ll find five cubbies in the PBK Market Bin; it has three traditional cubbies and two larger market bins. Unlike many other options, this one also sits off the floor a bit with adjustable leveling legs.

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Make use of some extra vertical space with the Kidkraft Wooden Wall Storage Unit. It includes 13 cubes and comes with 8 storage bins to help you organize all the toys.

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