Puzzles are a great way to spend time with family or friends, but they can be challenging when it comes to organizing them. If you’re looking for some fresh ideas on how to organize and store puzzles, then this post is for you! We’ll go over 11 different ways that will help keep your puzzles organized so you never have the trouble of looking through piles of boxes again.
Need more ideas? Check out: Genius Board Game Storage Hacks You’ll Wish you knew Sooner
Declutter your puzzles
The first step when organizing your puzzles is to declutter them. Make a pile of puzzles you don’t want anymore, and put them in one location. You can also sell them on eBay or Craigslist to make more space for your favorite puzzles.
Make sure to get rid of puzzles with missing pieces or puzzles that your family has outgrown. Many times we purchase puzzles for children only to have them master them over time. If you’re having a hard time getting rid of them, think of someone you know who would enjoy the puzzles. Decluttering is much easier if you know they are going to a good home.
I would recommend packing up your puzzles in the boxes or pouches that they came with if you’re going to be gifting a puzzle to someone.
Before we get started with the different ways to store puzzle, let’s go over some basic tips that will help minimize the amount of time it takes to organize:
- Sort puzzles into piles: keep, donate and give to a friend
- Assess how many puzzles you’ll be keeping
- Get rid of the puzzle box (more on this later)
- Determine the size of the box/pouch to store your puzzles in
- Use boxes/pouches that fit the size of the puzzle
- Keep the boxes/pouches a uniform size and/or shape
How many puzzles are you keeping?
After you’ve decluttered your puzzles, you need to decide how many puzzles you are actually going to keep. Only keep puzzles that aren’t missing lots of pieces, are somewhat challenging, and ones that you’ll want to do again.
Now that you’ve decided what puzzles you’ll be keeping, you need to take some time to purchase some boxes (or use some you already have) that are all the same size if possible so that your puzzles can all fit into a uniform system.
Make sure to purchase enough boxes/pouches so that each puzzle has its own container. This way, your puzzles won’t get mixed up and you won’t get the pieces from one puzzle mixed with another puzzle.
If you have a large number of smaller size puzzles and not enough boxes/pouches for each puzzle, then purchase two sizes (smaller-medium) or three sizes (small-medium-large). This way, there are always some boxes that can fit your smallest size puzzles.
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Ditch the Puzzle Box
You may be wondering what the problem is with having all of your puzzles in different-sized boxes. There isn’t inherently a problem with it, but the boxes can get ruined easily, and often times the boxes have tons of wasted space.
Getting rid of the puzzle box saves you tons of space and allows you to make good use of your cupboard space.
I recommend cutting off the cover of the puzzle box (that shows the picture of the actual puzzle) with an Exacto knife. This will allow you to keep a sturdy photo of the puzzle with the puzzle pieces so you know what the puzzle looks like when you are putting it together. Some puzzles come with an additional paper photo of the puzzle inside the box. You can decide if you want to keep both or just one of them.
Throw the rest of the box away or recycle it.
Determine the Size of your Puzzles
The next step is to figure out what size of pouches or boxes you’re going to need for your puzzles.
If you have kids, often times their puzzles contain larger but fewer puzzle pieces. These are the containers that I purchased for our family puzzles and they fit up to about 1200 pieces at the most.
I love these clear boxes because the puzzles are stored in a nice sturdy box, but they are also protected.
It doesn’t matter how big or small, just make sure all the pieces fit! You want everything neatly packed away so when people come over they can play on whatever surface is available without having to deal with sorting through piles of scattered puzzles. This way there’s less chance of losing pieces as well.
Create a Uniform System
Determine how many boxes you need by calculating the number of full-sized puzzles within your collection based on their puzzle sizes. As I mentioned before, I use these clear storage boxes but I’ve also used these rainbow pouches.
In order to create a clean, organized system, it’s essential to buy multiple containers the exact same size. This helps direct your eye to the clean, similar lines and has a calming effect, rather than looking at a bunch of miscellaneous-sized boxes scattered all over your cupboard or closet.
If you have TONS of puzzles, you could also buy some portable drawers from IKEA (or something comparable) and use these as your stacking containers! They’re perfect because they can hold more than one box without too much weight, it’s easy to pull them out when someone wants to play with a different puzzle. You can use Ziploc bags or these clear pouches to organize your puzzles within the drawer.
Puzzle Organization Ideas:
- Boxes with lids
- Drawers – drawers are also great because everything has its own space
- Stackable baskets – These come in lots of different shapes and colors
- Small Zipper pouches for small puzzles
- Large zipper pouches for larger puzzles
- Clear flat containers that stack nicely on top of each other
- Wire Rack if you have lots of wooden children’s puzzles
- Photo Boxes for small puzzles
If you choose to organize your puzzles using bags or pouches, I highly recommend containing all of the bags within some sort of basket. Otherwise, the bags won’t stay looking nice and organized.
Boxes with Lids
There are many different ways that you can store puzzles in boxes. Sometimes you can even organize puzzles inside bags, within a box! This can be a great solution if you are really short on space.
This is also an excellent solution for storing children’s wooden puzzles because several puzzles stack neatly inside of each storage box.
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Wooden Puzzle Racks
Wooden puzzle racks are really nice if you are trying to store lots of wooden children’s puzzles. Often times wooden puzzle pieces are stored already inside the puzzle slots. This helps to save time and space. The wooden puzzle racks are a similar concept to the wire puzzle racks but they are more sturdy and more stylish.
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Organizing puzzles in stackable baskets can also be a great option for creating a uniform system. You can use a single basket and organize the puzzles into similar categories. This is great for color sorting or even by age group.
This option might be good if you are trying to store lots of small, circular puzzles such as tangrams that take up little space but there are still many of them!
Just make sure that you make the best use of your space and don’t have too much wasted space at the top of the baskets. If you do this, you haven’t saved any space despite getting rid of all of the puzzle boxes.
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Small Zipper Pouches
Using small zipper pouches to organize small puzzles is another great option. I like that this is an easy way to store the puzzles and it takes up less space than a stack of boxes! Lots of the puzzles that you can buy at the dollar store would be great for this option.
You can also find zipper pouches in various colors, so you can organize by categories or color for even more organization.
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Large Zipper Pouches
If your family likes to put together larger puzzles, say between 300-1000 piece puzzles, then these larger zipper pouches would work great for you! I love that they are clear so you can see exactly what is in them (including the puzzle photo). It’s very easy to navigate exactly what you want!
Zipper pouches come in many different colors (typically just the zipper is colored) but you can easily organize puzzles a step further with the color of the pouch!
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Clear Flat Containers
If you have larger puzzles such as jigsaw puzzles then clear storage boxes would be best for your needs. These large containers take up lots of room but allow you to keep all of your puzzle pieces together neatly inside one container without any wasted space.
This is my personal favorite way to store puzzles. I have these I love the sleek uniform look of all of the boxes stacked neatly together in my closet and it’s easy for my kid to access when they want to do a puzzle.
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Wire racks are a nice budget friendly way to store wooden children’s puzzles. Racks mounted on the wall could suffice instead which would also save floor room in most cases. Or you could also put them on a table and store them there.
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If you have a collection of smaller puzzles then photo boxes may be the way to go for you! The dollar store has a surprisingly great selection of smaller puzzles. These photo boxes are stored in one large clear box and when you open it up, inside there are SEVERAL smaller photo boxes inside! This is a great way to store smaller puzzles. I also like that they are clear so you can see the puzzle that’s stored inside. The smaller photo boxes are made to fit 4×6 photos if that gives you a better idea of it’s size.
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Organizing Puzzles one step further
If you want to be uber-organized, you can take your organization to the next level buy organizing them in one of these ways:
- Size of the puzzle (how many puzzle pieces)
- The difficulty of the puzzle (kid vs. adult)
- Puzzle Style (ex: National Geographic vs. Disney)
- According to the puzzle theme: beach puzzles vs. wildlife puzzles
How to Store Unfinished Puzzles
It’s frustrating when you need your kitchen table again but you aren’t finished putting together your puzzle. If you are a puzzle enthusiast, it’s not an uncommon problem to have. There are a few solutions to help you store unfinished puzzles so that they can be set to the side out of the way without having to wreck the puzzle. The options include:
Puzzle Stand – You could also store them on a stand if you don’t want your table space taken up while your working on another project. This enables you to build your puzzle from a variety of places while keeping it out of the way.
Puzzle Board – A puzzle board comes in many various sizes but these are an excellent option for storing puzzles that are not yet finished and but to be put away. A puzzle board is a flat board/surface where you build your actual puzzle but allows you to easily move the puzzle when it’s time to put it away. You can even get extra fancy and purchase a puzzle board that has drawers underneath that will help you sort and organize your puzzle pieces as you go.
Puzzle Trays – If you’re only working on a particular puzzle at any given time or just have limited space then an option like this may work better for you. Puzzle trays come in many different shapes and sizes so there’s bound to be something out there that will suit your needs. This enables you to effectively sort your puzzle pieces and put them away as needed if you need to store your puzzle.
You may be asking, where do I actually store something like a puzzle board? You have a few options here. The first is to purchase a puzzle board that has drawers underneath, so not only can you organize your puzzle pieces as you go but the storage will be taken care of for you too! You can store the puzzle board in places like under your couch, or even under your bed!
Puzzle Roll-up Mat – these are an inexpensive way to store your unfinished puzzle by simply building your puzzle on the provided felt and rolling it up on the inflatable cylinder. The disadvantage to this method is the bulk of the inflated cylinder.
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What is the best way to store jigsaw puzzles?
Every home has different needs when it comes to organizing and storing puzzles. I’ve tried a few of them myself and overall, we really love to use the clear slim organizers. I love the look of how sleek and organized it looks and it’s really easy to maintain for my family. And isn’t that the goal?