Storing All Those Stuffed Animals

Admit it.  Your children has amassed more stuffed animals than you care to admit.  You’re sick of stepping over them, sitting on them, and finding them peppered around your house like confetti.  It’s a veritable war-zone with plush little time-bombs disguised as cute and cuddly critters scattered across the landscape of your living room.  And ineveitably, the ONE particular stuffed animal that your child suddenly gets into her head that she absolutely needs is no where to be found.

With three young daughters we have amassed plenty of dolls and stuffed animals.  Pleeeeenty.  So as any fed-up parent would do, I started researching my storage options to see what was out there.

There is the more traditional hanging canopy net and  linking chain .

Original Chain Gang Toy Organizer - White

I liked the idea of the canopy net because I could utilize it on some wall space near the ceiling but I didn’t want it to be out of reach for the girls.  And the linking chain organizer would be a cute option for someone with smaller and less abundant stuffed animals.

I saw some neat pictures of people using shoe organizers like this one to hang behind a door and fill with toys.

But similar to the chain option, this didn’t seem feasible for the amount of stuffed animals we were talking about.

Then I found it.  The perfect storage option for loads of stuffed animals.

The Zoo

THE ZOO Stuffed Animal Storage by Littlezookeepers

Perfect except for a few small details.

One- there was the issue of  limited floor space in the girls room. My girls all share one room and between the bunk beds, crib, dresser, and bookshelf floor space is limited. The large bunk bed was purchased for our last house and doesn’t fit quite so neatly in the new one.  As it is, we’ve lost half of a double closet because of this bed.

And two- the price.  I didn’t want to spend $100+ on a storage unit.

So I planted the seed with Howard and suggested that such a creative and handy tool man as himself could probably come up with a solution for me.

And he did.

Are you the sort of person who sees this stuffed animal storage bin as half empty or half full?!?  (In any event, I only put half their stuffed animals in for the purpose of this picture.)

And perhaps the best part of this animal zoo is the utilizing of dead space.  Can you spot all the stuffed animals in this picture?

See ‘em yet?  They’re in the closet that was previously just dead space.  Both side of this closet go back further into the wall than the doors open.  It’s an odd setup for a closet because any clothes hung back there would be impossible to get to.

In order to utilize this dead space, we decided to add a small touch light and chalkboard for the girls’ “secret clubhouse”.   When the closet door is closed it’s their own narrow playplace.

So Howard utilized the wasted space on the other end of the closet by building the zoo bars there.  Did I mention the zoo bars are bungie cords which allows the girls to easily fill and take toys out?

Here is a close-up shot of the back of the bars.  The bungie cords are secured by being knotted through a large eye hook.

The are a few cons to this set-up versus a standalone zoo.  Here we only have one way of getting at the toys versus being able to walk around to either side.  And, inevitably, the toy my daughters ask for is, 9 times out of 10, on the very bottom.

But on the plus side I always know where the toys are and can easily reach in from the top to quickly grab them out.  Cleanup is a breeze as well; just scoop and toss.  And my girls love the fact that the bars, when plucked like a guitar, makes an interesting musical instrument.

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11 Responses to Storing All Those Stuffed Animals

  1. ms.elisa says:

    Love it! I’ve totally had that problem, and this is a brilliant solution! I especially appreciate that the kids can reach in and extract any stuffed toy they can see, whether it be from the top, middle or bottom.

  2. kelly says:

    What a great idea :)

  3. Stacey Kaye says:

    Great ideas! I swore I would never let my kids amass too many stuffed animals. Now? Guilty!

  4. Jennifer says:

    This is totally brilliant!!! My daughter has a million stuffed animals and they are in a huge bean bag chair cover in the middle of her room…not something I want to step over or clean up everyday :( However her closet is super long too and it goes way too deep on either end to utilize for anything except this!!! I am going to be building one of these super soon and we will again be able to see the floor of her room :) Thank you thank you thank you for posting about this!

  5. Stephanie says:

    DO you know what size bungeee cord was used to make this? Thanks

    • Howard says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      The length of the bungee cord is dictated by the length of the top and bottom bar or horizontal support. I have a distance of 36 inches between the top “Fairy Friends” support and the bottom “Mira Stella Lyra” support. The bungee cords were a bit too long so I cut them so that they were 20-30% shorter and would provide some tension and not be sloppy and loose or too tight and hard for the girls to pull.

      It’s important to have the middle spar (both horizontal and vertical) as it prevents the weight of the stacked stuffed animals from overcoming the tension of the cords and slipping through.

      Good luck and let me know how it works out for you.

  6. shania says:

    What is the wood exactly? An old door that had glass? A window without the glass or just pieces of wood put together?

  7. Dana says:

    We have that same dead space in our closet. You did exactly what I want to do! Now I know how!!! Can’t wait to do this. Thanks.

    • Kristen says:

      Great! I’m so glad you found this post helpful! Be sure to send me some pictures when you finish your zoo. I’d love to see how yours turns out.

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