Keep Games Organized With These Ideas
What’s the worst part about playing board games with the family? Setting up and cleaning up afterwards. Especially if you have games that have a lot of pieces. We’ve all been there – open up a game box only to find that the contents have shifted and spilled. Sometimes it takes as long to sort them back into order as it does to play the game in the first place!
Many game companies have heard the complaints and started getting more creative with their plastic inserts or even including extra plastic baggies to help keep things in order. But they are limited because of the need to keep production costs to a minimum. A cottage industry has spawned recently with companies offering custom laser-cut wooden inserts for specific games, and while some of them are gorgeous to look at, they can also cost as much if not more than the original game!
That doesn’t mean you have to live with messy games. Here are a couple ideas and sources for products you can inexpensively use to both protect and organize your gaming addiction:
NO! Don’t put these around your decks of cards (unless you love ruining them)! These specially-made box bands help keep the lids to your game in place. If the lid stays on, the parts (no matter how messy) can’t fall out. At around a buck a piece it is cheap insurance for keeping your game complete.
You might recognize these as a product from when your or a family member collected baseball cards. Affectionately called “penny sleeves”, they were simply meant to protect the surface of the card from handling oil and wear. Card sleeves have definitely evolved – not only do they come in almost any size imaginable, they can also be found with custom backs branded for your game. Whether you play Magic the Gathering or just want to protect your UNO cards so they last longer, card sleeves are also a cheap solution for getting the most out of your purchase.
Many games have fan-created (or officially-sanctioned) boxes you can print out and assemble on your own home printer. Fans of Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game have fleets of miniature ships that are prone to breaking if they aren’t stored correctly. Thanks to dedicated fans, there are solutions that store each ship individually, virtually guaranteeing that Luke Skywalker will arrive in one piece.
But for some, cardboard boxes just won’t do. The fishing aisle at Walmart is a popular place to find Plano tackle boxes and organizers to sort and store games that have a wide variety of pieces. Of course the game may no longer fit in the original box this way, but that is a small price to pay for being organized!
This is probably the widest-used and most cost-effective solution I can recommend. There are a wide variety of shapes/sizes/price points of plastic storage containers on the market, and definitely one that will work for your game. You can find them in the dollar aisle at Target as well as at CVS and Walgreen’s drug stores. Nearly every dollar store (Dollar Tree, Dollar General, etc.) has some type of multi-package that gets your cost way down. Our current favorite, even though it is rumored to be discontinued and replaced by these, is this 10-pack from Dollar Tree. They are short enough to fit in any game box, are rectangular so they don’t waste box space like a round one does and are only 10 cents each! You can find them with the other Tupperware-like containers, and failing that, consider their line of craft containers made for beaders.
Regardless of which games you have in your collection, I’m positive they could all use a little straightening up with some of the above suggestions. This will only lead to more time for actual game-playing and less time game-sorting!
26 thoughts on “Keep Games Organized With These Ideas”
Great ideas! I completely understand about the rubber bands and I really like the other suggestions. Many of the games are several dollars a pack and definitely need to be preserved and protected!
Organization! NOW you’re speaking my language! I really love the Plano Boxes idea! (I might use that for a few other things, too!)
WOW! Can you come organize my place. My house looks like a fun house of toys and games! I need your organizational skills to help me in my house!
Sounds like a solid plan to me! All those pieces getting messed up before you start playing can be a definite turn off to playing that game!
This is a great idea, I can use it to organize a lot around my home – to be honest! I thank you for the idea!
These are some really awesome ideas! My board and card games look an absolute mess and they’re literally just thrown in the closet…my kids don’t care. These tips will definitely help them. Oh, and I’ve seen so many people put rubber bands around their cards and they always have those little rips on the side lol.
You have some awesome ideas here. I am going to have to do this for my grandkids’ games as the pieces are everywhere.
The tuck boxes are a great idea! I know my games could use more organization, and I am sure it will be more fun when we know where all of the pieces for the game are.
These are great ideas. My kids’ need for card sleeves don’t seem to end, but I like it because their game cards are organized.
My goto is usually a good ole zip lock back for tokens, dice and cards. I should go Plano, especially for my Small World + Expansions, but Im too OCD to get rid of the insert…
Wow you do a great job at keeping these games organized. I had a difficult time with my daughter trying to make her put her toys away. We used ziploc bags.
These are great ideas for keeping games organized. I hate how easily board and card game packaging falls apart with pulling them in and out of closets and cabinets.
These are great ideas! We have a ton of board games, and they are disheveled to say the least! Thanks!
I admit, I do use a lot of rubber bands around card decks! But I love those little plastic containers for keeping track of things!
I always though rubber bands were fine – yikes! I’ll have to look int some of the options you’ve posted!
I also used rubber bands before I discovered the card sleeves. I think the plastic containers will be great as well.
This is such a great idea. I am always losing game pieces! You are brilliant!
I’m a neat freak so I’m all too familiar with these! Really like the containers with dividers and the little ones too.
These are all fabulous organizational ideas. You would think with plenty of board games of our own and a son that loves Pokemon, I would be a professional at this by now, but I am totally not.
+1 Plano’s!! Love these “tackle” boxes and have implemented them wherever possible.
Also recommend making friends with new parents as the Gerber food containers are just going to be thrown away and are similar to the recommended plastic containers listed above.
My partner and I sleeve ALL of our game’s cards. And especially with the thicker 125% Mayday sleeves! The thinner, regular ones tend to split, and since we run gaming clubs and gaming demos with our games we want the components to last, especially the cards which usually receive a lot of use/wear. As for storage I’ve found various containers at Target, Michaels/craft stores and even Menards. It all depends on what your specific needs are. But with binders, I do not prefer the x or + type since they stretch too much and seem to loose their elasticity. I use large, regular ones; they seem to hold up better and keep the boxes tight.
I just found a great < $15 way to store up to 24 TCG/BG play mats. Heat transfer vinyl rolls are what I think the storage sheathes were designed for but play mats fit just as well, and they can hang from a door or whatnot and be rolled up for transportation. You should be able to find them with a search (I don't think I can put links in here) and it should be the first image on my @erictheboard IG account.
Organization means not losing pieces to the games and means fun for another day
I have used the ziplock zipper bags and small Tupperware containers. I have rubber bands on hand too. Thank you for sharing your tips!