Since I have two young boys who have an affinity for everything related to Disney Cars, I can pretend that their Mattel Diecast Collection is… well… theirs.
Truth is, I am a 35-year old woman who collects small cars with faces on them.
In fact, the only thing that keeps me from signing up for one of those online trading boards is the realization that I am in fact a 35-year old woman and perhaps I don’t need the Doc Hudson diecast car (even though every fibre of my being is telling me that yes, I really do).
Anyhoo, we have reached the point in “our” Disney Cars collection that we sorely need some organization. At just shy of 100 cars, I’ve been relying on the boys to keep the collection together in a neat and (somewhat) orderly manner. However, I’m constantly finding errant cars under the couch, in the clothes hamper, and my personal favourite: “Mom, can you pull out the fridge? Holley Shiftwell is under there.” Uh, never again.
Alas, finding a carrying case for a large collection was proving to be much more difficult than expected. Most Cars-branded cases available in Canada only hold about 10-12 cars, and regular diecast cases just won’t cut it for the many oversized cars we have. So, I decided to get creative.
First, I found this 39 Drawer Storage Bin at Home Depot Canada. Sensing that our collection would grow over the coming months, and that it was marked “Special Buy” (translation: get ’em before they’re gone), I decided to pick up three. We’ve opened two for the time being, pictured below.
I love that the Disney Cars diecast cars are a great fit in the storage drawers; lots of room to move back and forth and just the right amount of space on the sides. Plus, since they’re clear, I can peek through to see what’s inside.
The Storage Bin comes with drawer separators which are perfect as they allow me to double up on the smaller cars like Gremlins and Lemons. And since the larger bins below also come with separators, I can conceivably hold 78 cars per storage bin. However, since I only have a handful of cars that can be doubled up, on average, I can store about 55 cars per bin.
Now the storage bin would be great as is, but it didn’t keep the boys accountable for missing cars. So I decided to take it one step further and personalize the “garages” for easy identification. It was simple, if not *slightly* tedious:
I grabbed Avery Labels #6504 and set up a template on MS Word. Then, I copied/pasted pictures of the diecasts online. www.cars.mattel.com is a great resource as it has pictures of the 2013 Cars collection. For Cars I couldn’t find, I Googled. Finally, I simply printed the labels and affixed to the storage units. You can see my progress below.
I love that we now have visual accountability for cars that are currently misplaced. Where-oh-where is Chick Hicks?
The larger cars sit nicely in the bottom storage bins, and our oversized cars also have a garage to call their own.
Overall, the entire project cost about $65 and I now have storage space for over 150 cars. And, the boys adore their new organizational bin – or as I like to call it, the “Parking Garage!”
Wow! Quite impressive, both the collection and the organization.
Thank you Tricha!
What a neat storage system!
Thanks Heidi, I thought about it for a LONG time! LOL
Wow, that is awesome! So organized!
Thank you Jenny!
ok this is *the* single bestest post I’ve read on this site ever!!
Hahaha happy you liked it.
Great idea! Organizational skills 10/10
Thanks Doris! I had fun with the project, so that was a bonus!
The boys must think they have the coolest Mum! What a wonderful DIY!
Thanks Teresa! They love the garage, but I’m far from cool, LOL
Chandra Christine O'Connor
great idea. especially naming it, that way they have fun parking them without realizing they are keeping them tidy
Exactly my intent! Thanks Chandra!
What a neat idea – so much better than dumping them into a regular storage bin (where they can get scratched or broken). Calling them the “Parking Garage” is a fun way to get the boys to put them away afterwards too :)
I just love all of these ideas you come up with !! :)
Thank you Flora! We used to have them in a storage bin, but I was sick of counting them over and over to see which ones were missing ;)
That is awesome! My daughters have a bunch of Cars, too, although I have never counted (ps, yes you DO need Doc Hudson!). We just keep ours in a drawer though because the one little carrying case I got Karina way back never held the cars for more than a minute, so I gave up on that fast. Now I need something for the millions of tiny blind bag My Little Ponies and the growing collection of Planes and Frozen stuff….
Tell me about it! I need to find Doc (I’m not prepared to pay $100+ via eBay) because he’s such an integral character!
Awesome storage bins, that will help keep them nice, tidy, and fun to play with.
Thanks Lori! I think so too!
Wow you’ve outdone yourself Lena! Great idea with the picture labels. I echo what MrDisco mentioned earlier about the bestest post!!
P.S.: You’re right, you don’t need Doc Hudson…you DO need Fabulous Hudson Hornet, Pit Crew Member Hudson Hornet AND Doc Hudson. ;) Speaking of collections, reminds me of something I saw some years back…
Hahaha thanks AC, I’m so happy you liked it! And I LOVE the link, LOL
And, I think I may need your help sourcing those Doc’s :)
After watching the movie, I see how important a character Doc is. It would be an honour to find one if not all three. |-)
Fingers crossed, right? xx
This is BRILLIANT! With 3 boys we are over taken by CARS, LOL. But they are the gift the play with the most. Love this! Thanks for the idea.
You’re welcome Tammy! Grab some of those storage bins before they’re gone!
Judy C (Judy Cowan)
Love it, what a great idea! This would also make an amazing gift for a CARS collector!
Indeed! I think I know one or two of them – thanks for the idea!
Girl, you are so organized… want to come visit? <3 I love those cases, perfect for the ever growing collection!
Hahaha one organization case is my limit! Thanks Darlene!
Great way to get those cars organized and patience to put all those stickers on also
It was actually kind of exciting for me to put the stickers on, so I didn’t mind!
Do you have the limited Car that came with the Cars 1+2+Mater’s Tales Boxset?
John Lassetire? I WISH! We bought the Blu rays as they came out so I never had a need for the boxed collection. (Sad face)
Love your “parking garage”!
Umm…honey..at $6/car are you saying that you have spent nearly $600 on these cars? We need to talk. You are contributing to the 4 billion dollar empire “CARS” merchandise
Nothing to see here, husband. Move along.
This is an ingenious idea! I love that you made labels with pictures of each car – so clever. The boys must love it.
They do! It makes the cars much more organized and of course, a treat to play with!
Another reason to be happy I have girls :)
Ha! I’ll take cars over any pre-teen girl, LOL!
So fun, great idea!
This is amazing – both to think we have this many cars ahead of us (we only have 5 or 6 so far) and as an organization system!
Oh Jessie, YES, there are tons of more cars to come! I think there are hundreds in total!
omg can you come organize our toy room too? amazing! and easy for the kids to figure out where they go too. well done!
Thanks Jessica! Though this was my first stab at organizing, so I don’t know how much help I’d be, LOL!
Thanks for sharing a cute way to organize these toy cars!
You’re welcome Bev!
What an awesome storage case! I love it and it could be used for so many different things!
It certainly can, Anne. Thanks!
Love this idea Lena! Not only is collection neatly organized but cars are easy to locate too!
That was definitely my intent, Caryn! Thank you!
Wow! You did a phenomenal job! And teaches the boys organizational skills :) I love it!
Thanks Marla! Yup, I love that the boys are now accountable for their organization!
My grandsons could use this “Parking Garage” as well. They just got a ton of little cars like this and have no where to store them!
Pop on down to Home Depot, Janet!
What an awesome parking garage! This is a great idea and I love your organization skills…..
Cool! I love organizing… Our hot wheels collection would love this. I also need to get motivated to do something spectacular with our overflowing lego collection :)
Ah, our Lego collection is next, I think!
I love it! A very creative way to organize and enjoy a hobby :)
This is one of the best organization of toys that I have seen ! Awesome to keep them off the floor and the tab/pics on the individual ‘box’ is just awesome
Thank you Beth :) So far so good, the toys are neat and tidy!
Wow that is incredible! As a woman with OCD with organization…I like you.
Ha! I have OCD organization too, so I’m happy you can relate!
love this idea grandson would have an awesome time with this
It’s a great little project to do with little ones!
Awesome pictures of the diecasts as labels – and great pictures for us to see the project.
Thanks Jan! I really enjoyed the project!
That is a perfect place for those cars, what a cute post! I love being able to enjoy the same things kids do, so I don’t have to feel weird about getting a kick out of something they do, even though I’m a grown up. You did a great job! I’ll have to keep this in mind, as I had a project once that I ended up using something, I don’t know exactly what was it’s original purpose, but had multiple drawers. This one is better b/c they are clear.
Thanks so much, Rosie! Much appreciated!
Lol.I was just thinking how in the world I can organize the cars with eyes. And ultimately keep them from other wheelers without.
Hahaha the cars with eyes! Love it!
Awesome way to store the cars!
Thanks Deb – so far so good, they’re still very organized!
Amazing!!! I love what you did and the labels are just adorable. My mom is like you, except she collects vintage car without faces lol. I’ll have to find her one of these storage systems so she can put her cars in it.
Indeed! And vintage cars sound very cool :)
I can totally understand why you’d collect “Cars”, They’re adorable and give a happy vibe! I love the idea of this and they fit so perfectly. We don’t have very many Cars but tons of hot wheels and definitely need a case like that for them!
They’re a great fit for Hot Wheels too, Jason! Have fun!
I love the cars and the car garage. If I didn’t have enough collections, I would start on another one myself.
i’m in love with Ariel from the little mermaid so this all makes perfect sense to me <3
I have a little Ariel lover too.. thank goodness he isn’t a collector!
Wow! Doc Hudson fetches that amount on ebay??!! I’ve got to find our Doc Hudson! Since we don’t have a fab organizer like yours, he could be anywhere…
OMG! Find him, polish him off, and stash him somewhere safe for like, 20 years. He’s one of the most sought-after cars!
LMAO @ “nothing to see here husband, move along”
I havent the patience to take one a project like this, kudos to you Lena.
Hahaha thanks! And now to distract my husband while I go searching for more…
my husband is the same way with ninja turtles. he buys almost everything he can find “for the kids” then takes them away when they don’t play with it right or lose the tiny plastic weapons. I do with there was some kind of storage system available for the big toys. my husband wont let me toss them in the toy bins. he wants me to set them up on top of dressers, desks, bookshelves…
Hahaha I like your husband Francine! Sounds like we are cut from the same cloth.
im sure you’ll like him even more when I tell you he cooks most of the food. (he hates my cooking) and does a lot of the cleaning. (again he’s really picky so he would complain and redo everything his own way. now I don’t bother with anything he complains about and spend the extra time with my kids lol.)
Sounds like a dream!!!
In case you still don’t have it, here you can buy Doc Hudson for just 9,79$ with free shipping.
I’ve just received mine 2 days ago, it’s perfect :-)
But as far as I know, Mattel will bring it out again some time this year, so the price of it will definitely decrease.
Thanks for the tip! I will definitely check it out – I’m curious, what does it say underneath, Mattel or Tyco?
It’s Mattel, but in a few months you can have the same version in original package from your toy store, I guess.. :-)
Perfect, thanks. Reason I asked is because a friend just returned from Japan and he purchased a Doc Hudson… but the scale was slightly off and it said “Tyco” underneath… hence, not the real thing. Wanted to ensure you have an official Mattel vehicle. Thanks again!
Those cars are so cute.
I am terrible at organizing, this is a great idea.
Me too, that’s why I love it!
My 5 year old son would LOVE this! He has about 1000 die cast cars.
Go for it Cheryl!
I have been stressing about how my boys roughly dig through their bin of (far too many) Cars searching for the favorite of the moment. I have already separated out several that I view as too special or too fragile to play with and have hung those in various shadow boxes in their room. I am totally going to copy you so that my, oops, I mean their collection stays in good shape!
Also, you must have Doc by now, right? As my boys are still young (4, 2, and new) I started a bit late in the collecting (just 2 years ago) and also looked longingly on eBay at the original characters that were ridiculous prices. I was so happy this year to see Mattel re-release the favorite Radiator Springs characters so that we could have them at reasonable Walmart prices. :)
Indeed, we now have Doc Hudson and the Fabulous Hudson Hornet – both found at Walmart!!! I find if you wait long enough, eventually most characters pop up from time to time. So glad I wasn’t tempted to drop $50 on eBay!!
This is an amazing concept!!! I’m going to try something similar… and yes, I am a 30 year old guy who is still collecting Hot Wheels & Matchbox (mine, no kids) :-))
Wow impressive collection
How did you resize the cars small enough for the labels?
Hey Marchetta, I simply used an Avery Labels template in Word, copied a picture online and dragged to resize in Word. It was pretty painless!
Hi Lena! I absolutely love this idea and I’m hoping to use it with my son’s ridiculously large Thomas Wooden Train collection. Do you think the trains would fit in the drawers? I would do exactly what you did – one train engine per drawer with a label on each. I can’t really tell from your pictures how large they are. Assuming your son has Thomas or Brio trains, have you tried it and if so, how was the fit? Thanks so much for the idea!
Debbie White Beattie
I love this because they really do look like the disney cars or are they real and the storage garage is such a great idea. Everything organized and no more foot sores from tripping on them.
Hi Lena. Any chance that you have the label file saved somewhere that could easily be attached/downloaded?