07 January 2009

Puzzle storage? Talk amongst yourselves.

Emmie wonders:

Santa brought us even more puzzles. I looked at the puzzle storage options at Target but they're only made for the small puzzles (we have multiple sizes). Our puzzles are now in a stack that falls regularly and scatters the puzzles pieces everywhere. Any great ideas?

I take it you're talking about wooden board puzzles, Emmie? How about those inexpensive, plastic stacking trays one used to see in offices?

Any other ideas, folks?

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At Target you can buy those wire cube sets; you hammer them together and end up with several 13x13 inch cubes (estimated sizes). Get a couple sets, put together as many cubes as you need, and use zip ties to put shelves in the cubes. Voila! I have a set in my closet to hold sweaters, and they work great for puzzles. Here: http://tinyurl.com/7vxawx Ignore that it says not available in stores; they're available in stores. Hope this works for you!

I use a wicker basket that is about the size of a 12"x12" cube. they lay in there at a little diagonal, but fit in just fine. I think I have about 7-8 in there.

Why don't you just buy the Melissa and Doug deluxe model that holds various sizes?
http://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Doug-Deluxe-Wire-Puzzle/dp/B00146I2WM/ref=pd_sbs_t_1

While this doesn't answer the question most likely intended, I've been meaning to mention that little cardboard puzzles (12-60 pieces) can be stored much more space-efficiently than in their original boxes; put each one in a little Zip-Loc bag.

Scrapbooking carts that you can buy at costco or joann's. These work great for lots of puzzles, of both types.

We have a cleaning caddy from Michael Graves at Target--it has a handle in the middle and two sides. We slot the puzzles on one side, standing up, and we put the puzzle pieces in Ziploc bags and toss them in the other side. Our daughter enjoys finding the right Ziploc to match the puzzle, and I like how it's very portable because of the handle.

I take all the pieces out of the puzzles and put them in a little plastic box. Then I can stack the puzzles easily. The kids have loved trying to figure out which puzzle the pieces go to since they were about 15 months old. Added difficulty!

I put the whole puzzle in a ziplock bag. To make it challenging, put more than one puzzle in a bag so the kids have to do 2 puzzles at a time. But put a mark on the back of the pieces to differentiate the 2 puzzles first so you can separate them out if you want to. ie, a circle on the back of puzzle 1 pieces, a triangle on the back of puzzle 2 pieces.

I use a plastic 5-drawer set that rolls. Puzzles are stored in the top two drawers in zip loc bags.

Right now we're storing puzzles inside a cabinet, but before, what worked really well, was stacking them two or three high on a small bookcase we kept in the playroom. The bottom shelves had books, and the top shelf had puzzles. The kids used the puzzles a lot more when they were stored in plain sight like this.

Every puzzle in our house has a significant mark on the back, to help match them up - should a toddler unpacking disaster occur. Otherwise we took all our puzzles out of their battered boxes and put them into individual ziplock bags with a picture of the completed puzzle. Brilliant takes up a shelf instead of a cupboard!

We just got 2 large but short sided cardboard boxes (I think it was originally for blueberries or something) from Costco and store them under each of our Kids cribs. I would say each holds about 6 puzzles and is easy for our 2 year old to pull out from under her crib (and put back after she is done). Not sure why we have to spend money on a place to store puzzles.

I put the pieces in a ziploc bag and stack the wooden boards (for those with boards). When a piece is lost, I write it on the bag so I am always reminded to look for the A piece.

mesh laundry bags...

We use a wire file hanger...tipped on its side. Its JUST like the fancy Melissa and Doug one, but swiped from an office...so free! We're just moving into real jigsaw puzzles...we'll see if this holds up. Right now, the pieces are in toddler shoe boxes.

I just get really big ziploc bags (gallon or XXL ones) and store the boards and all the pieces 3 - 5 puzzles at a time, and then store the ziplock bags on shelves, in toyboxes, wherever.

These XXL ziplock bags work really really well for all kinds of toys with many parts - I can fit all the bob the builder tools and hardhat in one, fisherprice zoo animals, fence parts, etc. in another, etc. It keeps our toys much, much neater inside big toy boxes.

I try to keep the number of puzzles (well and everything) down to a minimum, so whenever I get more than about five I give some away. I know it doesn't really answer the question but that's the way I deal with most things.

We use the boxes or crates that our fruit is packaged in. They're sturdy, and a bit bigger than the puzzles.

We use a big basket that slides under the coffee table--out of sight.

I do the ziplocks too! I also write a code on each puzzle to keep them all in the same bag!

We used crates and never had a problem. The only ones that were ever difficult were those that had the little handles on them. A photo of the completed puzzle in a ziplock baggie with the pieces in it made it easy for my son to put things away himself. Always a good thing.

I think this helps:

http://www.fellowes.com/Fellowes/site/products/ProductDetails.aspx?Id=6100301

It's banker's box item number 61003. It's on sale at Amazon now for $20. It's cardboard though, so can't be sat on or stepped on (by toddlers).

I just posted re the bankers box yesterday and it later occurred to me that you can make that thing out of cereal boxes with the tops cut off, stacked together and reinforced with harder cardboard. :)

Each whole wooden puzzle gets it's own gallon sized ziploc bag (my eldest son is only 23 months, so they're not big), BUT...I also use reusable putty. A tiny bit on the back of each piece holds it on. I leave one piece un-puttied and toss into the bag so that we can pull out the other pieces when it's time to play. That way, my 2 year old is able to select the puzzle that he wants to put together.

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