Our family has over 200 games. And out biggest struggle with collecting them was trying to figure out just how to organize and store board games effectively.
Because it’s a struggle. And it’s even more of an issue having such young kids.
Similarly, as a classroom teacher board, figuring out the best board game storage was tough, even though the children were teenagers. The fact that there were so many people in an out of the boxes and taking them down off the shelves made it more difficult to maintain.
Storage for board games and puzzles: how to organize them
I am sure that if you have amassed a collection of any size, you have also started to feel how cumbersome it is to make it all work or even started wondering “Why did they make such a huge box for such a small amount of pieces? (Thank you, Gamewright, for making iota an appropriate size tin for a teen-tiny game!)
But for all the others, what’s a gamer to do?
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Turn game boxes on their sides
First and foremost, we have had the very best success by turning game boxes on the small side of the box so they stand tall like books… not like stacking plates.
In fact, a book store is a great example. That’s how they pack a lot of books in, why shouldn’t in be how we pack a lot of games in? Similarly, visit a thrift store and you’ll find most game sections are organized in just this way.
Ditch the original game boxes and try board game storage containers
For many of our card and dice games, we have purchased photo organizing boxes that have 16 individual cases inside. They’re supposed to be for 4×6 photos, but work really well for one or even two games in the same case. [Find what we use here].
We currently have two of these boxes with over 20 games in each box. It takes up less than half of the space as all the huge cardboard boxes did. If we know we love the game, we may completely get rid of the original box. However, if we’re just trying it out, then we have a storage box in the basement with original boxes so we can re-sell or repackage if needed. But we haven’t missed the boxes yet.
And if you’re like my husband who said “BUT, now I can’t see what games we have!” then consider making a visual printout to tape to the side of the shelf or inside of the clear lid. We also used a label maker to put the names of the games on the cases. But a visual guide is easier to recognize for some.
Group game boxes by similar box size
This is one of the most over-looked, but important parts of organizing a board game closet or shelf. While there is variation to box size, many follow some standard dimensions. Therefore, grouping them as such is important.
I used to try to group by name, by topic, etc, but this is easier for a lot of games and actually over time, just as easy to remember where to find it because we also learn from tactile experiences and tend to remember how big a box was or what shape it was.
Use cubical game shelving
I know many people who store their games of those shelves that have a bunch of square openings. One of the benefits of this is not only can you group by similar box size, as previously mentioned, but for smaller games, decks of cards, and dice, you can use cubical bins to simply throw them in.
Use book shelves that have adjustable shelving height for your games
Our bookcases have those little pegs that allow us to move shelves up and down. So after grouping like-sizes, we can easily make a shelf full of games without gaps in between.
Organize board games with these other storage ideas
Use large rubber bands or x-shaped bands to keep boxes together
For games that get moved a lot, have finicky or broken lids, etc. using some really durable rubber bands or even bands that are x-shaped can help keep them together without exploding into a mess of pieces.
…I have been there. And honestly, self-destructing boxes are the #1 way find that meeples stray from their boxes.
Here are two of our favorite options:
Containers to replace broken boxes or store small pieces & missing parts
Just like the small cases for 4×6 photos mentioned in the “ditch box” section, they also make large boxes for 12×12 or 15×15 scrapbook paper and even larger. I have found a set of 5+ for twenty dollars at Costco and also found some great deals on them on Amazon.
Similarly, we find pieces to games all the time and have a designated drop location for them. Some games need bits and pieces containers to go in the box too if the inside of a box gets destroyed. Or for a more durable option than those tony plastic game-piece bags.
These are what we use:
- 4×6 Photo Case Boxes
- 12×12 box replacements We specifically like Creative Options Project boxes.
- Bits and pieces containers
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