Doll storage and organization can be challenging with a large collection or if you are short on space. Throughout my collecting years I have dealt with both. My collection started with two childhood dolls and two outfits. About fifteen years ago I began consistently adding to my collection and now have 134 dolls and lots of outfits. Before I had a doll room, I stored my dolls and furniture pieces on three bookshelves in an unused dining room. As my collection outgrew the bookcases I would rotate my pieces seasonally and stored the rest in plastic storage bins or in my doll trunks.
When I finally had my own doll area in the basement, I used one bookshelf to organize my doll clothes with plastic bins. This worked at the time but I would often forget what outfits I owned. I wanted to be able to see my collection, especially my modern outfits because I like to mix and match pieces. When I began creating dollhouse rooms I designed the spaces around my furniture and accessory pieces. I always try to work clothing items or accessories into the rooms as well. In Julie’s Room I have an outfit in her laundry basket and tennis shoes on her shelf. Samantha’s Bedroom has hats displayed on a wall and Rebecca’s Bedroom is storing some of her items in a trunk. But obviously that still leaves A LOT of clothes and shoes to store. I decided to create a “closet” in the doll room to display and store all of the clothing items, shoes and trunks.
To create the closet I bought three BILLY bookcases from IKEA. Each bookcase is 31.5″ wide and 11″ deep, this makes my “closet” just shy of 8′ long and 7′ tall. Most of my historical dolls are displayed in their dollhouse rooms but a few special dolls are displayed separately. The dolls in the middle bookcase are either signed, first editions or have a special significance to me. Unlike the majority of my dolls that go on outdoor photo shoots, these gals don’t get out much. 😉
I use the other two bookcases as clothing storage. I wanted one side of the closet to be dedicated to historical outfits and the other dedicated to modern clothes. I used a thick wrapping paper to wallpaper the back of two of the bookcases. A gold polka dot for the historical side and gold stars for the modern side. I bought tons of American Girl hangers off of eBay (I prefer the older, thicker ones) and a few new packs from AG (great for hanging skirts and shorts). I hung them on tension rods and looped any outfit accessories on the neck of the outfit hanger if I could.
For the accessories that can’t loop onto hangers, I use little drawered containers from the Dollar Tree. In the drawers are rings, headbands, barrettes and anything tiny. The drawers sit under the hanging clothes.
When I created Emma and Ella’s Walk-In-Closet, the hubs made small risers to display their shoes. I asked him to create them again but longer to fit the shelves. He did an excellent job and they are my favorite part! I love to mix and match accessories and sometimes use historical shoes with modern outfits. Now everything I have is visible and I can easily find what I need. Some of the modern shoes have wandered over to the historical shelves since a lot of historical shoes are in the doll trunks. Each shoe riser holds 27 pairs of shoes; the doll closet holds a total of 108 pairs of shoes.
On the top shelves of the closet I added storage boxes for extra items. These boxes hold pajamas, leggings and tights, things that don’t hang well, or items that are too large for the small drawers. I chose old fashioned floral printed boxes for the historical side and a pink modern floral for the Truly Me side.
The bottom shelves are displaying some of my trunks; Josefina’s, Kirsten’s, Samantha’s and Addy’s. I currently have the Girl of Today Flower Armoire displayed in the spot where I will eventually place Molly’s Pleasant Company white trunk. The armoire will then be displayed in a dollhouse room. Each trunk is holding a clothing collection.
The doll closet is holding the majority of my clothes but I still have items stored around the doll room. Emma & Ella’s Walk-In Closet displays all of their outfits and a few of the dollhouse rooms have armoires/trunks storing pieces of my collection. The Two Doll Clothes Press, Star Armoire, Rebecca’s Trunk and Felicity’s Clothes Press are all used as furniture pieces in dollhouse rooms and also hold pieces of my collection. Julie’s Locker is not displayed in a room at this time. The Star Armoire holds all of my boy clothing and accessories and is displayed in Luciana’s Room.
I love organization and enjoy seeing how different people display their collections. I hope you have enjoyed this little tour and are able to get inspiration for your doll collection storage no matter the size. Until next time, Happy Collecting!