This post shows how to organize board games in bags for a simplified and streamlined storage solution. Creative ways of labeling games make this method even easier to maintain! Includes tips for organizing puzzles too.
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A major achilles heel of organization in our home has always been our board game cabinet. Guys – it was a mess. Don't believe me?
See – bad. Really bad.
It was tragic. Absolutely no rhyme, no reason, and definitely no organization. We basically just shoved board game boxes back in the cabinet puzzle-style – if it fit, it went.
Many of the boxes were also on their last leg. We were barely holding many of the flimsy, cardboard boxes together each time we played, which meant the organization of the materials inside suffered even more.
I've been meaning to organize board games for a long time. A few months ago, I searched high and low for a streamlined way to store each board game, but that turned out to be a little tricky. Boxes really aren't an option because there are so many different lengths and widths needed for different games…you have no idea how different each game is until you start comparing them!
But, I think I've finally nailed down a really effective (and easy to maintain) storage solution to organize board games in our home. It's an easy process – you just need a few hours and a few simple supplies.
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How to Organize Board Games
- Rubber Bands (various sizes – I like these because they're super cheap and perfect for most board game cards!)
- File Bags in Assorted Sizes (I ended up needing two packs of these and one pack of these for this project, but every home will vary – get a rough count of your games before you order.)
- Zip Ties
Step 1: Start with a clean slate.
As with any organization project I do around my home, I take everything out of the space I'm organizing and start with a totally clean slate. It's easier to fill up an empty space in an organized way than to try to shift around what's there.
Let's all just have a moment of cleared-out zen. Isn't that nice?
Step 2: Organize games by size and storage type.
With all of your games out in the middle of the floor, start grouping the boxes together by size. This is especially important if you ordered various sizes of file bags. This grouping doesn't have to be perfect; it's just a chance to start seeing where to use what bags.
I also had a small group (over to the right) of games that needed to stay in their original packaging. There were a few reasons you might have these: the game is too big/oddly shaped to go into a bag (looking at you, Hungry Hungry Hippos), the packaging is used as part of the game, or the box was small and in good shape.
That third option was especially applicable for our card games – it made zero sense to take those out of a box that was easy to store and fit the cards perfectly, so I decided to keep those.
There was also a collection of random game parts that had accumulated in the cabinet. Just put all of that to the side in one big group; we'll deal with it later.
Step 3: Pair file bags with games.
The best part of this whole process is throwing out those broken, old, cardboard game boxes! Start matching your game groups with bag sizes. I simply laid the boxes on top of the bag to do a quick check for fit.
You're going to need to use a lot of rubber bands. Any kind of cards or sticks were simply bound together with rubber bands. If there was still an original small plastic bag that held cards or game pieces, I kept it – no need in throwing away something that can still be effective.
Each game's bag got the original instructions (I'd love to go through and laminate all of these, I just haven't done it yet), as well as smaller parts of the games grouped together. For example, this one is Kerplunk – I used a rubber band to group the sticks and used one of the smaller bags that came with my set of file bags for the marbles. With this set of file bags, you'll get several of those little bags – they're great for smaller sets of parts that don't have an original bag. Of course, plastic sandwich baggies would be totally ok for this, they just might not be as durable.
In this game, you can see those original plastic baggies grouping together cards and game pieces. I didn't see any need to group bigger parts (like spinners and the actual board) in the bag – no need in overcomplicating things.
Let me tell you – it felt SO good to throw all of these busted old boxes away!
Step 4: File in the cabinet and sort by size.
Once your games are neatly tucked away in the bags, it's time to fill your space back up in an organized way. I went from biggest bag to smallest , but if you really want to, you can sort alphabetically/by game category. I thought the biggest-to-smallest organization would be the most likely organization method to stick for our family. This was all of the games that were taken out of those original boxes – these games used to take up almost the entire cabinet! Now they fit into one shelf, leaving room at the bottom for the more awkward games, card games, and even some puzzles we had been storing in another cabinet.
Step 5: Label your board games.
Originally, I was going to use my Cricut to print vinyl lettering for each bag. You could totally still do that, but once I started stacking the bags vertically in the cabinet, I realized you wouldn't be able to really see that when trying to find a game. I wanted my organization to be pretty, but more importantly, I wanted it to be easily used/maintained.
So, I pivoted a little. I decided to make 3×3″ print-outs of each box and laminate to tie on the bag zippers with zip ties. To do this, I just used my friend google image search – you should be able to find most (if not all) of your game boxes this way. Taking pictures of your boxes as you throw them out is an easy option too. I wouldn't recommend actually cutting out the boxes because of the various sizes – most would be too big, and the ones that weren't wouldn't look uniform in your final cabinet.
Copy your images into a site like canva and print! The laminator makes them super durable.
Remember that scary before?
Here's the after…
SO much better! Now, we can actually see what games we have by quickly flipping through the cards.
Like I mentioned, with the additional space, we were also able to store some of our puzzles that were in another cabinet in this one. I simply store those in vertical file-style so we can easily see what we have. The bagged games go on the top shelf and the more awkward/original packaging games are on the bottom.
And, I told you we'd go back to the random pieces I found when cleaning out the cabinet. As I went along, I matched the lost pieces to their games. Now, I have this little basket that the whole family knows as the place for lost game/puzzle pieces. If you don't know where something goes, it goes in the basket. Then, once a month (on my Journey to Clean “organize TV areas” day) I go through these pieces and reunite them with their games. That way, they never get too out of control!
Knowing where everything is in this cabinet makes our board games infinitely easier to use. We've actually starting using/playing with these board games again! They're easy to find, easy to grab for a quick game, and easy to put away. Use this method for a quick and simple way to organize board games – this project can be knocked out in an afternoon.
Check out more of my home organization posts here!
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