Hi everyone! I don’t know about you, but we have a lot of puzzles. And they all come in various sized boxes.

The kind where the edges split and then you have to tape them back together.

And then when you put them in a ‘puzzle area’ they come apart anyway.

So you have puzzle pieces all over the place.

Lost.

You know…puzzles.

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Well today I’m here to help you eliminate puzzle chaos!

I love puzzles, they’re great educational tools, but I have to confess that I hate the stray puzzle pieces that inevitably end up laying around here and there. So I set out on a mission to organize our puzzles.

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I was loitering in our local craft store and ran upon these 5×7 plastic photo cases. They looked like something handy, then it dawned on me that they would be a great way to store our puzzles!

 

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So if you’re interested in taking this venture with me, grab yourself a few of these sweet little cases, some scissors, some packing tape, and all of your puzzles and let’s get started!

Here’s what our puzzle mess looked like before…and no this isn’t all of them, I just didn’t want to scare you right off the bat.

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Step 1: Place your puzzle pieces into the box just to make sure they even fit first.

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If they do, cut off the top image from your puzzle box. You will want this to identify the puzzle, and also to have as a reference when working the puzzle. Tape it into the inside of the box using clear packing tape. When you close the box you can see the puzzle image clearly.

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These boxes have snaps on the sides, so they’re nice and thin. Plus if you use them they’re uniform and stack well. One thing to check is the clips on the ends though. Some of the boxes didn’t clip well, so you’ll want to make sure you get ones that snap good. Otherwise…puzzle pieces galore and we can’t have that now can we!

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For our larger puzzles I found this bigger clear container. It was at the container store and the handles actually snap the lid into place. They’re also great for stacking. We use them for our larger wooden puzzles. this keeps the pieces from going all over.

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Finally we stacked all of our puzzles nicely into one of my Ikea bins, and put it back on our shelves.

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I had a couple bins left over and decided to use them for some of our preschool manipulatives. They’re great for this purpose too!

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And voila’ that’s our new puzzle solution.

I hope it helps relieve you of some of those annoying stray puzzle pieces and brings a little organization to the chaos!

46 Comments

  1. Have you been stalking me? Or are you psychic? How else could you have known that just last night I was uttering curse words until the wee hours of the morning trying to come up with some sort of system for the gazillion puzzle pieces my 3 children have? I resorted to ziplock bags but your idea is much, MUCH better! The only other thing I did was to assemble all the puzzles, flip them over and stamp each piece with the same letter or picture so I could sort them into the right puzzle pile when my lovely children jumble ALL the different pieces together (sadly, this happens more than I care to share). Thanks for the great idea!

    Debbi
  2. I have some of these containers and love them for all sorts of things. We use them for our crayons and pencils when we travel too. I was wondering where your container came from that you use for the math u see blocks. Not the tool box but the one you place in the workboxes? Thanks!

    Marianne
  3. That’s GENIUS! I always store them in baggies and…they tear as they kids would rummage through them looking for what they wanted.

    A tip to offer… I forget which monkey but one year they opened every.single.puzzle. And dumped them. They also got into the puzzles I had put up for when they’re older. I still can’t figure out how they accessed the shelf in their closet. Anyways…THOUSANDS of puzzle pieces all mixed together. I sat down to separate them out. I realized if I had something identifying them on the back it’d help. So after all was organized (that I could tolerate doing) I grabbed a pen and wrote the first letter of each puzzle title on the back of each piece. So…Mickey’s Day Out was MDD. Little Miss Muffet…LMM. It’s came in handy as sometimes they spill/get mixed as 2 or 3 are doing a puzzle and if you find a spare piece…you know which one it goes to quick. 🙂

    ~Honey

      1. I’m sure I wouldn’t have had the patience to sort them all out. I probably would have saved the mixed up pieces for kids crafts like ornaments or picture frames. 😀

        Roxanne in SC
    1. This exact thing happened tome this summer! My kids have always loved puzzles, so at the ages of 8 and 5 most of our puzzles have at least 150 pieces. The big kid puzzles are now out of reach of the 2yo.

      Gail
  4. We also use these boxes to organize our flash cards and playing cards. I put the flashcard box on the bottom so we still have access to it. Thanks for the great idea!

    Roxanne in SC
  5. brilliant!
    I’d like to encourage those who may not be able to afford these at first. start small, a few puzzles at a time. with 5 boys and more toys, puzzles, and legos than I’d care to confess I can tell you that organization techniques that work are worth the investment!
    Erica, this is brilliant. I used ziplock bags forever, but this is worth switching over to!

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