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.
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.
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.