Monday, October 31, 2011

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Organizing Toy Trains, Cars, and Other Vehicles

With three children in the house, two of them being boys, we have a vast amount of trains, tracks, and die-cast cars.  For the standard die-cast cars, we actually put them in a single layer on boot trays and slide those trays under our sofa.  For specialty cars, we tried sorting them into different baby wipes tubs and shoe boxes, but my children did not always feel like searching for the right container to put each vehicle back where it belongs.  In the end, everything gets all jumbled together and put in the wrong places.  The same goes with our different sets of trains and train tracks.  They need to be organized and stored separately.  I tried using shoe boxes in the train table drawers, but again, everything ended up all jumbled.

When I first was offered the opportunity to try the Neat Containers storage system, I thought I would be using them on my closet shelves.  That is mostly how they are advertised . . . for shoes, hats, and small accessories.  Then I had the idea to put this system right on top of our train table.  Our children like building their train tracks on the floor because they have more space and the track can be easily accessible to all 3 children.  The train table turned into a place for our daughter to color . . . well, we have a regular table for that.

The Neat Containers come stacked with the tops, which are clearly marked, and bottoms separated.  All you need to do is separate each piece and hinge each top with the matching bottom.  You must use a minimum of 5 containers across.  Watch this video, which demonstrates how easy it to assemble the Neat Containers system . . .

The kit I used is the Large Neat Containers Combo Kit.  It was so easy to put together after watching the instructional video on the website.

(Click any photo to enlarge)

One thing I love about these containers is that they are perfectly see through, so I do not need to label each pod.  This is especially helpful for households with children who cannot yet read, like our twin preschoolers.

I have found the Neat Containers pods to be especially good for displaying any specialty vehicles that children like to collect, such as all the various Chuggington engines, Disney Pixar Cars and Cars 2 die-cast vehicles, and Automoblox.

Each Neat Containers pod does slide out just like a drawer and can be completely removed while the rest of the system remains intact.  How well the pods slide in and out is directly related to how much weight is in each container.  Empty pods just want to all slide together because they are so light.  Pods that are too heavy do slide, but not as easily.  A single layer of die-cast cars seem to be the perfect weight for each pod to slide in and out with ease.

To learn more about the various Neat Containers kits and add-on packages, visit  You can also view a variety of demonstrations of their products by visiting the Neat Containers YouTube Channel.

Thank you to Neat Containers for providing a complimentary product sample for us to base this review upon.