How to Organize Family Games and Save Space!

We have a ton of family games and ask my kids have transitioned out of simple kid games, we’ve gotten quite the stockpile. That’s also not counting decks of various cards, dice, etc. In an effort to clean the house during these socially distant times, as many people have been doing, I thought, surely the kids will let me toss a few of these old games, right? Not really. Although I have to admit I have a soft spot in my heart for cooperative kids games like Molerats in Space and Dinosaur Escape – those are just plain awesomeness – so I wasn’t too upset about it.

Time to get creative! A few weeks back I scored a major sale at Michael’s on some photo organizer bins ($14! although then this week they were $10 – grrr). Anyway, I bought 2 clear ones for my son’s loose Legos (not his sets), one for my daughter because: siblings, and another as an extra for replacements in case of breakage (the interior boxes are a little flimsy and if they’re overstuffed, the hinges will totally break).

The Lego organization was glorious for a super organizer like me – color sorted with separate bins for figurines, plant life, and special glowy pieces. Sorry, no picture :( My son is always asking me to help him find such-and-such necessary piece. However, a yellow box morphed into yellow + brown + gold during a creative build session involving buried treasure and after a few rushed clean-up sessions you would never have known it was once color-coded. Luckily, due to some other COVID-related rearranging, we brought up an old train table and decided to convert it to a Lego build area in his room. I asked my son if he would rather just have all the Legos out on the table to push around (on the condition they STAY on the table!!!) – and he agreed, so we dumped out all the bins and I inherited another photo storage organizer.

I was pumped! But what to do with all this organizing potential? Certainly not photos. Many of my photos have been turned into 30+ photo books currently on my shelf and the rest are on USB storage files that I try to forget about now that Shutterfly has stopped sending me endless free photo book promos. *tears!* It was good while it lasted! But this weekend the idea hit me! Most of the board games we have are a board folded into quarters and a handful of game pieces. The game boxes look nice but they really do take up a TON of space! Introducing the ultimate family game night organizer.

I was so in the flow of my idea that I forgot to take a before picture, but the pics below shows all the space I was able to gain (16 vertical inches!) – the pink & black box was actually open and overstuffed on the top of the pile with loose Pokemon cards, missing game pieces, other cards, dice, and small game boxes like the Sneaky Squirrel Card Game that couldn’t stack with traditional games. So really it was even more height gained. My entire shelf space was full to the top, teetering, cluttered and messy. These empty boxes all went straight into the recycling!

And yes, just to be clear, not all of the empty boxes shown were originally on the shelf you’ll see below (Monopoly is too wide to fit) and there were other games in the shelf that haven’t been pictured yet. I haven’t shown you my extended game storage I had to create near the ceiling. That game storage area still exists, but it looks so much better, as you’ll also see below. Now I need to unload everything else in this mini bookcase-thing (DVDs and video games) to lower the shelves!

Below is my newly organized extended game storage for games without boards (i.e. Connect 4 or Yeti in my Spaghetti) and games that had instructions printed on an insert instead of on a brochure or paper (Dinosaur Escape – I’m looking at you!). Now if you love efficiency, you might be thinking that the right stack of game boxes could probably fit back in the shelf and then I could put my new game organizer near the ceiling which might even look better. I thought about it! But 1. I like the balance of the game boxes on top and 2. organization is nothing without functionality for your family. My kids are currently using the games in the organizer more often and I want them to have easy access. I’m a short person and I have to go grab the big step stool to get the other games down. haha.

OK, grab your label maker and follow along! As mentioned above, I recommend that you only decant games that have paper instructions you can fold to fit in your box. You can find almost all game instructions online, but it’s a huge hassle to go over the rules 100x with kids when you’re looking them up on your phone or they want to find the info themselves. And then if you happen to land upon a site talking about alternate rules or ways to change the game… uhg. And what if you want to pull down a game during a power outage when the internet is down? That is one of the perfect times for a family game night… just saying. ;)

After you’ve selected the games you can downsize, make sure all the pieces will fit before you print your labels. FYI Monopoly fits! (even with our individually rubber banded hands from the last game we didn’t finish). However, my husband unexpectedly had a very strong connection with the plastic money holder that comes in the box, haha, so maybe check with picky family members first too. (He has vowed to craft a Monopoly money holder out of wood one of these days). Also note: some games we kept in their original boxes inside the bin like UNO. Once your bins are full, label away!

A big part of organizing is doing what works best at this time right now. Even if I have plans to change things later when I have more time or money, I often just need to find a “good-enough” solution. As much as I hate clutter, I also need to be able to see things, or they will not get used. Eventually I’d like to build watch my husband craft a built-in couch or kitchen bench for us (still undecided) with drawers underneath to store all these games. But for now, I believe we pull out our family games much more often because they’re in our line of sight and that is a very good thing.

Oh shoot…

*All opinions in this post are 100% completely my own
and this post was not paid for or sponsored in any way.
However, I use affiliate links to receive a commission
if you decide to use those links. This does not cost you

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