One question about Sylvanian Families comes up time and time again ....
"How do you store your Sylvanian Families?"
When we first start out on our Sylvanian Families journey most people begin with one house and a family or two, but as happens, Sylvanian Families tend to "grow".... and "grow."
It's not long before these loveable creatures start to invade our heart and life, and as the village grows, so does the space they require in the living area or children's play area. Before long we're beginning to wonder how to store them.
- How to look after all the tiny Sylvanian Families detailed accessories?
- How to store them so they don't go up the vacuum cleaner?
- How can we compactly store them to limit the space they take up, yet still be available for play time?
- How to make maximum use of minimum storage space?
Let's get creative!
We've asked Sylvanian Mums around Australia (also New Zealand, USA and France too) to share some of their great ideas - from the simple to the sublime - some of them are awe-inspiringly creative!
You're sure to find inspiration by browsing through other's Sylvanian solutions below.
Maybe they might even give your some ideas for your own novel storage space.
Jessica's great bookcase idea provides a place for everything.
Doesn't this Bunnings bookshelf look enviable!
Jessica from Darwin uses a Bunnings book case laid sideways. A sheet of green felt provides the grass effect on top and it's just the right width to fit Beechwood Hall and other various taller buildings. The smaller buildings fit in the centre and vehicles below. When not in use, the Furniture, Figures and accessories are kept in the purple insert box for storage.
Hours of Fun
Michelle's full length Ikea Sylvanian play table idea
The perfect Sylvanian play space and storage.
Michelle from Sydney created her daughter's Sylvanian play area using the Ikea Stuva Storage range and the shelf above is an Ikea Mosslanda picture ledge.
Plenty of room to sit and play - Storage galore
Space for vehicles to drive
And a great central storage box.
The ideal combination of Ready to Play and Tidy Storage.
A House within a House
A House bookcase turned into a Sylvanian Families storage shelf
Bronwyn was given this bookcase by friends who no longer needed it and turned it into their own unique Sylvanian storage solution. A house within a house - and room for so much more!
Bronwyn from Northern Territory says, "Sometimes the Sylvanians spill out onto the floor, but in general my children set them up and play like you see. Not all our families are out, they are rotated and I find that playing on plush carpet is best, so that the pieces don’t bounce away or leave that area. Top shelf items are a little hard for my youngest 3 year old, so she gets them down and I generally put them back."
Sylvanian DIY recycling at it's best
Sarah's all-in-one Play and Store invention
Recycling and Repurposing Sylvanian-style
Sarah from Langwarrin, Victoria, is a long-time collector of Sylvanian Families from her own childhood and has handed on her love of Sylvanians to her own girls. They decided it was necessary to go multi-level to fit their Sylvanian Families collection in, creating their own unique dual-purpose storage and play area.
"It was constructed from stuff we had in the shed mainly. The big "street light" on top is actually a ceiling light we found at the tip shop."
The lower section (see picture below) is a sheet of MDF board with castor wheels bolted on and slides out to make play more practical, or back in for storing the Sylvanians. The upper grey table section is from an old photocopier table top and the attached legs were recycled from an old table.
An abundance of creative DIY skills in this household!
The lower section of Sarah's play/storage table is on castor wheels for easy access.
Up, Up and Away
Here is a clever space-saving storage by Kobie from Kalgoorlie, West Australia.
Isn't it amazing how quite a large collection of Sylvanian buildings, shops and vehicles can be stored in a space that takes up a remarkably small amount of floor space?
Remember to space the shelves at different heights, leaving extra space to allow for taller the buildings.
Kobie purchased the shelving from Bunnings.
Being Space Savvy
Kirsty, a blogger Mum from Hawkes Bay, New Zealand came up with this pull out play tray, which is seriously smart use of space under the bed. The tray can be pulled out and played with in the centre of the room, then stowed away again without disturbing the scene!
In this photo Pollyanna used her tray space for a Lego display, but this would have worked just as well for her Sylvanian Families collection also.
Kirsty's Tip: Use high gloss enamel paint on the underside of the pull out tray, so that it easily slides across the carpet. This would work well for all surfaces.
To see more of Pollyanna's Bedroom storage ideas and amazing Sylvanian Families collection you're welcome to pop in and visit Kirsty's blog
Combining Storage and Play
There's a place for everything!
If you're lucky to have a spacious play area then you'll absolutely love this Sylvanian Families versatile play and storage arrangement!
Heather, from Charleston, South Carolina, found 4 of these 2 x 2 cube shelving units their local marketplace and by placing them together across one wall made a fantastic play and storage area.
Critters and vehicles are kept in the green fabric storage bins.
"Most of the houses fit inside the cubes and they're the perfect height for play. The room stays much more manageable now that everything has it's place," says Heather.
Use Those Corners
Tara from Chinchilla, Queensland makes clever use of the rooms corners with these shelving units.
Since then Tara has decorated the cube shelf with craft paper (pictured below) A readily accessible place to keep Sylvanian figures and accessories.
Why Not on a Wall?
Colourful and creative
Often we don't think of the wall as being storage space, but see how Amy from Huntersville, North Carolina has made fabulous use of their free wall space!
The shelving is Trofast from Ikea. Amy says the houses on the wall were purchased unpainted, so she painted each one a different colour and added wallpaper fabric to each one. Each nook belongs to a different family.
A crate idea!
Helene from Dans un Petit Village Blog in France has created this utterly delightful Sylvanian village so simply out of wooden wine boxes.
Helene says that the crates are not fixed, but are stacked together as she likes change, as when the boxes are stacked well together and stable it doesn't move.
What a super creative idea!
You can follow Helene on instagram @helenepetitvillage
Don't forget that many of the Sylvanian Families buildings belonging to a particular series are stackable, meaning that they are specially designed to stack one on top of the other, saving you space.
Stacking the all new Town Series
Stacking Cosy Cottage, Shops and Restaurants
How to store all the little pieces
Wendy from North Ogden, Utah uses an ornament box bought from Walmart, which she says works perfectly for storing critters
It's all those little pieces that are often a Mum's Sylvanian Families nightmare. How many get lost or go up the vaccuum cleaner?
Having a special storage place for Sylvanian Families accessories will help to keep it tidy and avoid parts becoming lost.
Almost any hardware store will stock a low cost solution for Sylvanian Families accessory storage.
*Fishing Tackle boxes
* Industrial hardware trays
* Workshop storage bins
*or ornament and bead storage trays
Choose the plastic container that suits best.
Brilliant and Beautiful Shadow Boxes
Don't you just adore Abby's Shadow Box shelving!
Each family has it's own special shelf. In the USA, where Abby lives, Sylvanian Families are known as Calico Critters.
Here is Australia, similar cube shelving can be bought from Bunnings, Ikea or Kmart.
Families are removed for play, but placed back on their individual family home shelf once finished.
I love this clever idea. Not only are you showcasing your Sylvanian Families, but storing them at the same time.
Thanks to Abby from Tennessee, USA for allowing us to share photos of their scene.
Thanks to all your gave permission to share their Sylvanian Families storage ideas for this article.
Hopefully others will find inspiration in organising their own Sylvanian Families and Calico Critters in a way that works for you.
(All personal storage ideas and photographs have been used with permission of the owners)