How to Organize Puzzles

How to organize kids puzzles - Ask Anna

My daughter, has so many puzzles.  She loves them, and we love doing them together, but kids puzzles can be so messy.  I used to have them organized into individual baggies, which was great until she learned how to open the baggies!  One day I walked into her room and found that she had emptied all of the puzzles out onto the floor and was using them as a “pool” for her Barbies.  The huge pile of scrambled up puzzle pieces made me want to cry, but I didn’t say anything, I just let her keep on playing and stretching her imagination.

When she was done playing with the puzzles I scooped them all up into one large ziplock bag until I could figure out what to do with them.  I obviously needed a better system because I didn’t want to sort them all back into their baggies and then have her dump them all out again, that would make me crazy!

How to organize kids puzzles - Ask Anna
I found some cute little plastic containers at Target and decided they would be the perfect solution for organizing the puzzles.  But first came the sorting… I plopped myself down on our living room floor and sorted them all out, I think it took me about 30 minutes.

How to organize kids puzzles - Ask Anna

How to organize kids puzzles - Ask Anna

After I had sorted all the puzzles into piles I started putting them together, one at a time.  Because we don’t have the boxes that the puzzles came in I wanted to make sure we had a reference of what the completed puzzle should look like.  So one by one I put each of the puzzles together, took pictures of them, and then put them in one of the plastic boxes.

How to organize kids puzzles - Ask Anna

I had Malea help me put them in the boxes so that she could “take ownership” of the process and know how to put them back in each of their boxes.

How to organize kids puzzles - Ask Anna

Here are all the puzzles stacked up.  I love these plastic boxes, they are the perfect thing to organize puzzles!

How to organize kids puzzles - Ask Anna

After I had taken pictures of all of the puzzles I uploaded them to my computer and sent them off to Costco to be developed.

How to organize kids puzzles - Ask Anna

When I got the pictures back I cut each of them down to fit the top of the plastic box and then used Zots to attach them.

How to organize kids puzzles - Ask Anna

Here’s what each of the boxes looks like.

How to organize kids puzzles - Ask Anna

Now each of the puzzles is clearly labeled with a picture, they are stacked neatly in the closet, and my daughter knows that she can get one out at a time to play with.  I love the way they all fit so nicely on the bottom shelf of this storage rack.

How do you organize your kids puzzles?  I’d love to hear your tips and ideas.

How to organize kids puzzles - Ask Anna

About the Author

"Hi I'm Anna! Welcome to Ask Anna where I love to answer your household questions! I have always loved to clean, organize and decorate and this blog is a fun way for me to help you love it too! I am a busy mom of a beautiful little girl and I'm married to the love of my life. Together we fill our days with projects , laughter and love. I serve an incredible God and overall I'd say I'm truly blessed!"

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  1. I’m not sure why I haven’t done this??? We have so many puzzles and this is a really cute idea. :)

  2. Another suggestion is to mark the back of each puzzle with a different colour marker or dot. So if they get dumped out and jumbled together, you just need to look at the backs and sort them by colour! :)

  3. Great and pretty idea for storing puzzles! When I was a Special Education teacher, I always opened a new puzzle box, labed the box with a number and then turned over every puzzle piece and put the same number that was on the box on each individual puzzle piece. It helped the children keep the puzzles straight. They were so pleased when they found a stray piece and put the puzzle piece back in the box where it belonged!

  4. Kelly Joppa says:

    When my son gets a puzzle the 1st thing I do is flip over the pieces and mark them all with the same image. For example, there is one puzzle with stars on the back, one with circles on the back, one with the letter “S” for Spiderman, one with the letter “D” for dinosaur. This way when the pieces get mixed up we just have to sort by the image since sometimes it’s too hard to tell by the puzzle color which puzzle they go to.

  5. If you put the puzzle together, flip it over and scribble with a colored marker on the back of all the pieces, repeat for each puzzle in a different color, you will be able to tell which puzzle a stray piece comes from. Love your storage solution.

  6. Are you looking into my house right now?? Seriously, our puzzles are a huge stress to me…my little guy loves putting them together but they are constantly mixed up. I’m making a Target run!

  7. This is a great idea. I wish I had thought about this when my kids were young. They loved puzzles so we had almost 50 puzzles and all in different sized boxes. It was a storage nightmare. This would have made my life so much easier for sure.

  8. I added a letter to the back of each puzzle set. Now if they get mixed up I can sort them.

  9. Viola carpenter says:

    I put a # on the back of the children’s wooden puzzles so when they all get dumped I match the #s then put them together after making a pile.

  10. Where did you get those pretty boxes?

  11. This is a wonderful idea, thanks Anna! I’ll be on the lookout for cute containers so I can do this too!

  12. Hi Anna,

    I am happy that I found your website because I have been wondering what to do with my (3) children’s artwork and schoolwork! It’s beautiful and I can’t bring myself to throw away ANY of it….even scribbles!!! Please help! My house is otherwise clean and organized.

    Thank you!

  13. Just a tip we use for puzzles…..I number each of my individual puzzles and then place the same number on the back of each piece of that puzzle, so when a piece goes random, we can easily relocate it back again with its proper puzzle family kin!!!!

  14. It also helps to number the backs of all of the pieces from each puzzle so if there’s a missing piece found in the couch it’s easy to see where it belongs. For example, all pieces of the princess puzzle have a “1” on the back, all of the horse puzzle pieces have as”2″ on the back, all of the “My Little Pony” puzzle have “3” on the back, etc… you can put the puzzle number on your photo with a Sharpie marker. This method survived 3 boys!! :)

  15. This is a great idea! I usually throw them into a freezer Ziploc bag (because they’re sturdier)but I make sure to mark the backs of each puzzle pc with some sort of mark. Each puzzle gets its own specific mark and each piece in that puzzle gets the same mark. That way, if they all end up on the floor in a jumbled mess(which hasn’t happened in a while) they are easily identifiable. I think I will be switching up my Ziploc bags for cute totes, though!

    • That’s what I used to have mine in but then I thought it would be fun to switch them to the cute boxes. :)

      • Do u have ideas for toddler/infant puzzles? The knob puzzles and all those melissa and doug ones? I have a ton, and right now we have them on a low bookshelf but he tears them all down and it ends up all on the floor jumbled up!

      • When we had those puzzles in our house I kept them sealed in freezer bags so that when she wanted to play with one she had to ask me to open it. It worked great and definitley cut down on the messes! :)