Play Kitchen Food and Accessory Storage

how to store play kitchen food

A year ago, Santa brought Nell a play kitchen for Christmas. We specifically asked him to bring a play kitchen that wasn’t pink and plastic because, regardless of whom a toy is brought for, everyone gets to play with toys in our house so we wanted something “gender neutral”. Santa picked the Kidkraft Uptown Espresso kitchen…I’m assuming he knew that primary colors were probably not my thing either :). Anyway, the kitchen is awesome. Nell got a couple sets of play food along with her kitchen and some pots and pans, and then we asked family who wanted gift ideas to get her some more play food for her 2nd birthday last June. For Christmas this year, B and I gave Nell a set of play kitchen small appliances, and she also got lots of baby doll feeding accessories that we play with at the kitchen. We don’t have a ton as far as play food goes, and I know our collection will grow over the years, but a year in, I’ve found a system that works for us for organizing the stuff, and I wanted to share it with you.

I had no clue how to organize the play food at first – just kept everything in the container it came in and put it in the fridge. That only worked until she got more food and dishes and the little appliances we gave her this year for Christmas. So here’s what I’ve come up with and what has been working for us. First of all, I’m picky about play kitchen food…mostly because I love it, and I like playing with it with the kids. Nell has a little shopping cart that came from Target and all the food in it was dinky. So eventually, I just donated it all – we had a lot of repeats of certain foods that I liked better. I love the Learning Resources play food (we have this Healthy Dinner Basket and the Farmer’s Market Set – which my kids use to both play grocery store and “Church” since the baskets apparently remind them of the offertory baskets at Church…) as well as Melissa and Doug food – the slice and bake cookies are such a hit with Miss Nell she often sleeps with them. I have my eyes on a few other sets for upcoming birthdays, including this Pizza set and this Ice Cream set (mostly because I had a play food ice cream set growing up and it was my very favorite…told you, I love the play food just as much as the kids).

As for storing the food, all produce and food is stored fridge or freezer of the play kitchen. Anything that doesn’t fit gets stored in the toy cabinet for rotation. For now, all of our food fits into the shopping basket that came with the Learning Resources Healthy Dinner basket, but as our food collection grows, we may have to find different containers that rotate. All the produce that goes in the Farmer’s Market baskets fits in the shopping basket – for 6 months I resorted all the food every night, and then I decided that it was going to get dumped out anyway, so might as well just embrace it.


Santa brought Nell a Bitty Baby for Christmas, and for now, all of her accessories fit in a small target container that are stored in the freezer. As her doll accessories and collection grows, I can foresee needing a different solution for that, but for now, this works. Nell is my organizational girl, when I gave her the tub she said, “For me? Oh fank you mama! I just yove it.” No sweat, kiddo. No sweat. She loves having her own container that’s just for her baby stuff. I foresee arguments over who gets to use the label maker in our future…


Back to food: Anything that would get cooked in the oven, including baking sheets, is stored in the oven. Pretty self explanatory, no clue why it took me a year to get here.


Dishes, pots and pans and small appliances are stored in the dishwasher in tubs I picked up at Target…they fit perfectly in the dishwasher of the kitchen. They do have lids, but I just store those in the toy cabinet because I find that things are more likely to get put away without the lids on, and these items are big enough I’m not worried about them walking away.



And that’s that. It works great for us so far, and has a little bit of room to accommodate more. Nell and Thomas love to play together at the play kitchen. And Peter likes to be wherever Tom and Nell are.




  1. Katie has the same play kitchen and got those same appliances from her nana for Christmas this year. We have a basket we use for the food in the fridge section and that works really well. I’m going to have to get some tubs for the other “stuff” though– pure genius! We have a tea party set that gets stored in he kitchen also and the plates and spoons are always so pesky to keep organized!

  2. This post caught my attention primarily because we have such a similar setup – we have the same kitchen (though in the natural finish because it was significantly cheaper than the espresso on Amazon at the time), the same Learning Resources food baskets (I picked up a set of three of them at Costco a couple years back – one basket each for breakfast, lunch, and dinner), and the same farmers’ market color-sorting produce buckets, along with multiple Melissa and Doug wooden sets. We also use the baskets to store all the food and so far it all fits but I LOVE the Target tub tip for the dishwasher. Will have to check it out!

  3. I LOVE that you have put this much thought into the organization of toy food, because I do the same. It drives me crazy when it’s a jumbled mess. We have a hand-me-down Pottery Barn “cabinet” – it’s a portion of their kitchen playset – and that sits next to our little kitchen and is the perfect size to hold the Melissa and Doug sets.

    For Bitty Baby – my daughter also has one, and after about a year of accumulating Baby “accessories” Santa brought the crib. And the changing table. And they are PERFECT with all their storage… although this year Santa was so BUMMED to see that American Girl brought back the original wood pieces when her girl (AHEM, whoops) was stuck with the plastic that they sold for a while. Oh well. 😉

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