Trying to figure out how to organize toys in the backyard and garage? Check out these genius outdoor toy storage ideas that are realistic and have been successful for years. These ideas may not be “Pinterest-perfect” but they’re effective ways to keep outdoor toys tidy.
How do you organize outdoor toys?
There’s about a million articles out there on how to organize toys inside the home.
(I even have one of those toy storage articles).
The hashtag for #toystorage on Instagram has 100k photos and I didn’t see one (in my quick scroll) that showed outdoor toy storage ideas. It’s always indoor toy storage.
Why is that? Why does no one talk about how to store toys for outdoor play?
Well, good news. I love the way that I organize toys outside and I love talking about it. The fact that I haven’t turned this into a blog post until today is actually what’s most shocking.
RELATED: But what are the best outdoor toys for kids? Oh, I’ve got the best list.
Six outdoor toy storage ideas that work
My backyard and garage are a hub of play.
I have the center and corner lot in a big street of families. My yard is more like a community park and I love that. I love 15 kids running through my grass, into my backyard, and back around to the garage.
It’s a flurry of energy year-round, even though I live in rainy Seattle.
Because of all the kids (and parents) that access our toys, I have to find functional storage that’s easy to maintain by a lot of people.
It’s taken me years of trial and error to develop these outdoor toy storage ideas, but I’ve finally got things dialed in.
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Storage Idea 1: Milk Crates on the Fence
On our fence, we store toys for digging and “mud kitchen-esque” play.
This was a perfect storage solution that was simple to create (says the person who didn’t build it but my husband did say it was easy).
I loosely organize the bins by pipes, tools, and buckets/containers. We’ve had this set up since 2021 and it’s still going well. This keeps the tools and toys in this section of the yard off the ground and easier to see.
Storage Idea 2: Rolling Cart
Rolling carts are where it’s at.
We keep a rolling cart in our garage with some of the absolute favorite outdoor toys right on it.
It wheels out of the garage and down to where kids/parents are playing.
We also use small plastic containers (you can see them in the photo) to hold some of the smaller or looser items, like the reusable water balloons and chalk.
This is a MUCH better solution than having tubs of equipment or storage boxes. Everything is visible and accessible which means it’s usable for kids.
This rolling cart is a fantastic size, it was easy to build (my 9 year old and I put it together), and it holds so much. It has extra hooks and spaces for things like bats – it’s really well thought out.
I am obsessed with this set of 5 bins. It’s the perfect size (and price) for outdoor toy storage. I use these bins on the rolling cart and also in my backyard on a shelf.
Storage Idea 3: Large Bins for One Item
Let’s talk big bins.
These are probably the most traditionally used item for outdoor toy storage.
Here’s why they usually don’t work and make more problems:
They’re big. They’re deep. Kids can’t see the items inside, especially after layers of toys build up overtime. This is the same concept behind indoor toy boxes (I caution against those too). Kids need to see things to remember they exist. Stuff cannot be hidden, out of eye sight, or buried.
Here’s how to make these bins work:
Use them for one single style of item. And make sure they’re taller than the lip of the bin (so kids can see the toy).
In our backyard, I have two of these bins. One holds shovels and rakes. One holds water blasters. That’s it. There aren’t 57 balls, a few Happy Meal toys, 3 gloves, 2 rackets, and a random jump rope mashed on top of each other.
There’s some amount of order.
Kids can see the toys.
The bin is predictable: we know (always) what’s in it.
I have two 10 gallon rope tubs from Target. Right not, it looks like those are sold out so I found this equivalent at Walmart.
Storage Idea 4: Outdoor Shelves
This was one of the best purchases I made back in 2018.
It gives a home for things in the backyard but without hiding items like a large bin or storage box would.
On the shelf, I use plastic bin (again) to hold items and give an easy ways for kids (and parents) to clean up backyard toys quickly. It’s amazing how much faster cleaning goes when you know exactly where each item goes.
One of the best buys I’ve ever made on a random weekday because I was frustrated with a lack of organization. This shelf started me in the right outdoor toy storage direction.
Storage Idea 5: Laundry Baskets
They’re easy to find. They’re inexpensive. They’re perfect for toy storage.
What I love about these is that kids can see in them AND everything is contained behind the “cage” like sides.
In our backyard, I keep mud kitchen/sensory bin type supplies in one laundry basket: bowls, funnels, cups, peri bottles, etc.
In the other bin, I have a bunch of should-have-been-an-indoor-toy-but-they-ended-up-outside tools. These have batteries and definitely were meant for inside play. Six years ago, they ended up outside and they’re a major hit with the under 5 crowd on my block.
They’re $2. It’s one of the most affordable “hacks” for outdoor toys. Even without a shelf, five of these with toys divided in categories would be a dynamite way to organize outdoor toys.
Storage Idea 6: Bike Rack
Not sure why I didn’t get this years ago.
Just the simple act of having kids know exactly where to park their bike… *chef’s kiss.*
My youngest child’s bike fits in the center space (I removed it for this photo so you could see the set up better).
I will say, of all the outdoor toy storage items I have, this one gets the biggest wow-factor. We just forget that those handy-dandy bike racks at public spaces can be replicated and used in the home space.
This bike rack comes ready to hold up to 5 bikes. The sections are removable so I paired this down to the right size for our three bikes. We kept the other two spaces just in case we ever need them.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have an awesome list of outdoor toys. It spans ages 1-12 and it’s all field tested toys by more than 15 kids in my neighborhood over that past 8 years. These toys have the longevity and the stamina to handle this crew.
I have a lot of tips for that. You can see my full list in this toy storage post.
I know this looks like a lot of stuff. I have three kids and this is also a largely communal set for 10-15 kids. We have duplicates and triplicates of a lot of items and more of a selection than a traditional yard would because this is a combined collection of seven families.