How To Store Your Board Games

With Christmas coming up, Jobby looks at various ways of storing those boxes of cardboard that we all love and are hoping to get more of from relatives…

A Journey Through Time

When asked to write a piece about how to keep board games I thought the best thing would be to take you, dear Reader, on a journey through time. My GF and I have been collecting board games for nearly ten years now we have employed several storage options in that time.

At the end of this I will also give mention to a few other methods I have read of or seen.

The Floor!

Yes, really! When our collection as small, i.e. less than 25 games, we lived in a smallish house. The stairs lead off the living room and there was space under the stairs. No cupboard, mind, Harry Potter couldn’t have moved in. Because the stairs seriously reduced available head room we used it to pile things under, namely games.

Games stacked up on the floor
Now, who wants a game of Onward to Venus? Awkward.

This worked ok but there were two big problems. Firstly, if you’ve got a stack of games, the bottom one will be putting up with a lot of weight. This will cause the lid to start to bow inwards. Not good. Secondly, if you want to play that game at the bottom of the pile then you’ve got to shift all of the other games from above it to get it out. This often turns into a sort of daredevil Jenga – how many games dare you try to move without them all toppling?

I wouldn’t recommend the floor.

Shelves. A Classic

In our next house we discovered the wonder of shelves. This was a rented house and the landlord had bookshelves screwed to the wall in the living room. Naturally we moved our board games up in the world and give them the luxury of only having a couple of other games on top.

Bookshelves with game piled up on top of each other
Stone Age anyone? Better but still awkward.

Little piles of games on shelves instead of tall piles of games on the floor. This reduced daredevil Jenga and the damage to the box lids, which was good. However, there was still frustration when getting to the bottom games and they were still bowing a bit. Better but not perfect.

Shelves Upgrade: Vertical Boxes

As we began to run out of room we looked at different ways of stacking games on the shelves.  We turned the boxes 90 degrees so they were stood on their sides. This meant we could store more games in the same width of shelf. It was also a revelation as suddenly it was so easy to get the game you want to play without the Jenga experience.

I fancy a bit of Seasons! No problems. This is more like it!

This method is really recommended! Bagging up the game components will help to reduce untidiness when the games are opened. However, the pluses really outweigh the minuses.

Board Game Storage Nirvana: Kallax

We moved house again, this time to the first house we’ve bought together. Owning the house somehow makes you want to spend a bit more on furniture; I guess it just feels a bit more permanent. So when we moved in we knew we wanted to devote one room in the house to the games. A bit of research revealed Ikea’s Kallax units were a firm favourite so we went that route.

Kallax units filled with board games.
Just take your pick. Board game storage Nirvana!

Essentially, storing games vertically on Kallax units is the same as on shelves. The bonus with using Kallax is the ‘cubes’ that the units are divided into. Each cube neatly fits four Uwe Rosenburg ‘big-box’ games or four Days of Wonder standard size boxes. Because the games are going into cubes I think there is less danger of the shelf bowing. A long shelf with lots of games on will bow in the middle over time because of the weight. I’m hoping the Kallax will last longer.

B&Q Konnect

An honourable mention should go to B&Q’s Konnect storage furniture (see their page here). B&Q are a DIY shop here in the UK and we picked up a couple of Konnect units to sort out another storage problem at home. Once assembled, I realised the units could do as a good alternative to Ikea’s Kallax. The cubes are a little smaller but it’s possibly more convenient if you live in the UK to buy these (I have 5 B&Qs within 16 miles of where I live, whereas there are about 11 Ikeas in the whole UK).

Ok, we don’t use these for board games but this picture shows you they easily could be used for this.

Other Ideas

On Shelves as Art

Board game boxes often have lovely artwork so why not show it off? If you have a big house with plenty of wall space then show off your games to their fullest. Place the boxes with their tops facing the viewer and have a great wall of art! Certainly a great talking point in any home.

Smaller Boxes

There is a movement by some board gamers to make new, smaller boxes for their games. Some people take a lot of care scanning in the original artwork, etc so that the new box looks like the old one – just a lot smaller. If you’re stuck for space and are a bit nifty with a craft knife then this might be an avenue worth investigating.

What Do You Do?

Do you have any great ways of storing your collection? Perhaps there’s a specific problem you’ve had to work around: space, children, pets, etc. If so, comment below and tell us what you did. Or, just show us your shelfies!

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