15 Genius Ways to Store Electronics, Games, and Other Media Items
Games, toys, electronics, pet gear, and exercise equipment can quickly take over your family room. Curb the chaos by outfitting a furniture piece, such as a coffee table, console, or shelving unit, with dedicated storage for all the items you use most often. Before you begin, take stock of your belongings. Get rid of the stuff you don't use and focus on the items you utilize daily, recommends professional organizer Kathy Vines. You can give away that old gaming console taking up space on a shelf and the board games your kids have outgrown. Discard games with missing pieces and consider donating your DVDs (do you even watch them anymore?).
After you narrow down to the essentials, create storage systems that make it easy to access and put away those items. Set up a charging station or drawer with a multi-plug strip so controllers and devices get charged when playtime is over. Professional organizer Jamie Novak suggests labeling all cords and keeping out-of-place items corralled in a "return to another room" box—then designate a time to actually put them away.
By keeping clutter at bay, you might find you have more time to enjoy gathering with your family. "Creating a hub where everything has a home can help make playtime more focused on fun," Vines says. Use these ideas for organizing electronics, games, and other media items for streamlined, easy-access storage.
1. Create a stylish media center.
Blend media storage into your room by designating a stylish piece of furniture for electronics and games. A variety of bins and baskets stow gear on this credenza. A slim, white shelf with holes puts unused wall space to work and makes it easy to keep electronics charged. A lidded box on the bottom shelf conceals workout gear, such as hand weights, exercise bands, and a yoga towel or block.
2. Organize gaming equipment in drawers.
Use stackable drawer organizers ($22, The Container Store) to keep track of small video game consoles, tiny game cartridges, and controllers. If you add a hole at the back of the drawer, it's easy to charge them when they are put away. Slip charging cords through the hole and plug them into the wall behind the piece to keep cables out of sight.
3. Employ hanging storage.
Round up every last bit of storage by putting the sides of furniture to work. A repurposed toilet roll holder serves as a handy hanger for headphones, and canvas pockets hold tissues and wipes to mitigate germs.
4. Incorporate pet gear storage.
Your pets want to join in on playtime, too. Fill a handled basket with dog toys so you can pull it off the shelf quickly when your furry friends need to burn off some energy. Baskets with straight sides help maximize every inch of shelf space.
5. Stack board games.
Create one spot for all your board games so you'll remember what you have. Stack boxes in a manner that suits their shapes and your shelves. Novak recommends lining them up like books so it's easy to slide out the one you want. Use oversize heavy-duty rubber bands to keep boxes closed. Hang a clear container to store small items like dice and cards.
6. Manage cords.
Create a centralized spot for charging devices so cables don't get lost. Attach a multiport dock or power strip to the back of your cabinet to power up electronics and tame cord clutter. Use hook-and-loop tape designed for hanging pictures ($3, Target) to secure the dock without ruining your furniture.
7. Store art supplies.
Leather-handle drawers conceal art supplies in style. To enhance organization further, designate a drawer for each type of crafts supply, such as paints, paper crafting supplies, and more. Add smaller containers inside the drawers to hold easy-to-lose items.
8. Store in-progress reads.
Bookshelves are great for storing beloved classics and permanent stories of your personal collection, but what about storing library books? Or novels you're in the middle of reading? Opt for out-in-the-open storage. Keep them in neat stacks on a nearby sofa table, coffee table, or other flat, sturdy surface. Arrange by color or size for a decorative finish.
9. Craft a couch caddy.
If your couch doubles as a desk, keep all media needs within reach with this DIY couch caddy. It's made of simple building materials, like plywood and wood glue, and can be customized to fit your furniture. The size is perfect for holding a laptop, tablet, and any charging accessories.
10. Label video game accessories.
Use labels to keep track of which remote belongs with each piece of technology, including video game remotes, cords, and controllers in caddies. Magazine holders work great for larger items, and small bins hold remotes with ease. Keep the bins in plain sight, or stash them within an entertainment center in a formal space.
11. Set up a TV tray.
This is by far the easiest option for media storage. Look for a basic tray with handles (or DIY your own) to corral remotes, notepads, stray DVDs, and more. The trick is to not let the tray become too cluttered. Make a rule that only one of each item will live in the tray at all times, so when you go to put in a new magazine, you must take an old one out.
12. Display albums in open cabinets.
Organize your favorite albums with a solution that combines storage and display. A stylish entertainment center with open base cabinets has enough room to keep your record collection intact without sacrificing too much floor space. Hang floating shelves around a mounted TV to house speakers and other media items.
13. Consider furniture with hidden storage.
Use furniture with secret storage to hide electronics and media items in plain sight. This coffee table with a slide-out surface effortlessly blends style and function. The top half moves out of the way to reveal ample storage space for remotes and other unsightly electronic accessories. A shallow tray on top of the table corrals frequently used items, such as the latest best seller or this month's issue of a favorite magazine.
14. Use buckets or bins.
The problem with many media items isn't so much their size or shape but rather their unattractive appearance. Video game controllers, for example, look out of place in a well-dressed living space. Amp up the style factor by storing such items in galvanized bins or metal baskets. These containers look stylish in nearly any room and can be found in various sizes so your wares are guaranteed to fit.
15. Store DVDs with bookends.
Bookends can organize your movie collection while adding a boost of style. Simply use them to prop up DVD cases as you would books. And if you'd rather save than splurge, any two items with a relatively heavy base, such as large vases or planters, will do the trick.