Today, I’d like to share some tips, tricks, and strategies for how to store board games. One of the most common questions about gaming that I receive pertains to the gameschool storage and organization. Where do I store our games? How do I organize them? Today, I’m sharing a glimpse into our gameschooling world.
How to Store Board Games for Better Gameschooling
How to store board games depends on your family, your board games, and your space.
I don’t care if my children make a mess of the dollhouse, leave an army of tiny animals in the upstairs hallway, or build a magnatile tower to the ceiling and leave it out for three days.
Games are different. We play games daily over here and I’ll admit that I’m a bit bossy when it comes to our games.
Call me crazy, but I want the instructions and pieces to be in the box. Nothing makes me crazier than finding games shoved in the closet every which way or to find a rogue meeple under the couch.
Before we get to how to store board games, here’s a gameschooling tip: Set some ground rules
It has taken me a long time to build my game closet. My closet houses many games from my childhood.
If you want free rein of my game closet, you need to follow some ground rules:
- You can only play one game at a time and therefore you should only take out one game at a time.
- If you can’t reach a game, come get me and I will help you.
- Do not sit in or stand on game boxes. Do not leave game boxes on the floor where they can be stepped on.
- When you finish playing, do a double-check to make sure you got everything.
- Make sure the box is closed before putting it away.
- Put small pieces in ziplock baggies.
- Place an elastic around the box and store it on its side. (More on that in a minute!)
- If you find a rogue game piece or meeple, put it in the Lost and Found. (More on that, too!)
My children are currently 11, 10, and 8-years-old and, while it has taken some time to get here, they are usually fantastic about playing and cleaning up games.
Consider creating a gameschool inventory
I have a unique situation because I am a blogger who writes about games regularly. Therefore, I have many lists on my site, organized by subject, detailing the games that we have.
If I didn’t have a gameschooling blog, here is what I would do:
- Make a list of all the games you own in the following categories (bonus points for grouping them like this- but that is hard):
- Travel games
- One-player games
- Cooperative games
- Games you can play in under 30 minutes
- Games that take more than 30 minutes
- If you are a gameschooler, I would recommend listing games by academic subject/skill. (If you are a fan of stealth learning, you can also keep it hidden!)
- Photocopy your list and keep one copy with your homeschool planning paraphernalia.
- Laminate the other copy (for durability) and keep it IN your game closet. Tape it to the inside of the door so it is easy to find. That way, when someone wants to play something, they have a “menu” to choose from!
Need help with the Gameschool Inventory? Check out these Gameschool Freebies.
Before we talk about how to store board games, you have to purge a little…
If you don’t play it, purge it. You’ll have more space for the games you love. I know it can be hard to part with a game that holds so many memories, but you will thank yourself later!
Now, it’s time for the tips and tricks for how to store board games
Here are my best tips and tricks for making the most of your game storage situation!
1. Assess game boxes and repair/replace as needed
If you play often, and if you play with kids, it’s quite likely that some of your games have wear and tear. There’s nothing worse than a board game box that is falling apart. If possible, fix any tears with heavy-duty tape and, if necessary, replace the box completely. You’ll thank yourself later!
2. Shelving that works for your family
This is a tough one and will depend on your space and your collection. I know many families who have entire rooms dedicated to gaming. They have shelving or built-ins or cubes for storage. Other families are low on space and store games under beds and in shoe organizers on the back of doors.
We are fortunate in that our downstairs half bath has a wide, shallow closet. We store all of our games in the closet as you can see here:
3. Store games vertically
I’ll admit- I used to be afraid to do this, you guys. I thought pieces would fall out of the game boxes and be lost forever in the far reaches of our closet. I’m happy to report that we’ve been storing our games vertically (whenever possible) for several years now and you couldn’t pay me to go back to stacking.
Storing your games vertically makes it easier to find games. It’s much like a bookshelf! Also, it’s far easier to take out games and return them to the closet. You just stick it on the shelf, versus engaging in a Tetris-style battle with your storage space.
Here are some tips for storing games vertically:
- Store game pieces, like meeples and coins and tokens and dice, in small ziplock-style baggies.
- Use jumbo, heavy-duty elastics around the exterior of the game box.
4. Group games by size
I try to keep my games grouped by size because it makes storage and organization much easier. That said, as you can see from the photo below, my kiddos don’t always follow my rules. Ha! We’ll get there someday!
5. Use clear containers for smaller and odd-sized games
In the photo above, you can see that I use Rubbermaid-type containers to store small and oddly-shaped games. It’s best if these containers are clear or if they have holes in them so that you can see what is in there.
Wondering about those photo boxes in the bottom middle? Wait until you check this out…
6. This card game storage hack is a game-changer
Card games always get lost in the depths of the game closet. Card game boxes get damaged, and using a rubber band is great in a pinch but often results in bent cards.
It will skyrocket your play, I promise!
7. A gameschooling “Lost and Found” can be a lifesaver
I don’t know about you guys, but I’ll often find rogue game pieces under the coffee table or the dining room table. My kids are pretty good at cleaning up, but no one is perfect.
That said, they hate when they are tasked with putting one of the rogue pieces away. I’ve seen one member of my party tuck the piece back under the coffee table rather than put it away!
So a few years ago, I created a Gameschool Lost and Found:
I one of those plastic air-tight containers meant for pasta. We had it on hand and we weren’t using it. I keep it on the floor of our game closet within easy reach. That way, if you find a game piece you only have to sort of put it away. And if you are playing a game and notice a missing piece, you can check the Lost and Found.
8. Some people ditch game boxes completely
I am not here yet, but some people choose to forego original game boxes entirely. I do this with puzzles (I save the photo, recycle the box, and put all pieces in a ziplock baggie) and card games (see this article for more information), but I haven’t tried it with larger board games.
Additional resources to consider
If you’re looking for more gameschool resources, check out these popular articles:
- Gameschooling: The Ultimate Resource Page
- Free Gameschool Resources to Fuel Learning, and Boost Connection
- 5 Absolutely Irresistible Games Kids Will Love
- Gameschooling by Age: How to Homeschool with Fantastic Educational Games
- Gameschooling on a Budget: How to Play More without Breaking the Bank!