Board games have a way of sneaking up on you. You start off with a few classics here and there, buy some on sale, and before you know it there are several large boxes filled with even more small boxes. No matter how much you love playing your board games, no one enjoys dealing with disorganized clutter. So how can you keep enjoying your board games without sacrificing your living space?

board games on shelves

Throw Away the Backlog

Whether you’re a collector of board games or just someone who hoards them, you should still be pretty judicious when it comes to which board games you keep and which you give away or simply trash. Board games are especially bad when it comes to taking up space. Most of the time the boxes are at least 50% air, regardless of how nice they look.

If you are not a collector and you haven’t played a particular game in more than a year, ask yourself why exactly you’re keeping it. I’m not saying that every game that goes unplayed for that long should be dumped. It’s just that those are the games for which you have to think about the reasons they keep sticking around.

Games that are in poor condition should also be at the top of the list for non-collectors, if they are still in print. You don’t have to throw games away. I already mentioned giving them away. That could take the form of passing games on to friends and family, but there are plenty of nonprofits that would welcome them.

If you are a collector, consider moving games you simply cannot part with into special storage – a dedicated room or even paid self-storage. Once a collection gets big enough you can’t keep all the items on display, which means you need to decide if you should start trading or selling.

Get Rid of the Boxes

While board game boxes can be gorgeous to look at, you need to decide whether they matter enough to keep them. Am I serious? Why yes, I am. If you aren’t going to resell the games and you play them all the time, why not transplant the contents of the boxes into something else?

Baggies and Bins

The something in this case isn’t anything special. Resealable sandwich bags and little plastic bins are perfect for keeping the bits and pieces of a board game together. You can label these with a marker and then throw all the games into an ottoman, chest, or other storage device you have laying around. This way you can store a lot of board games in one central place – out of sight and efficiently.

Consider Library-Style Games

This is a really cool development in board game production. Some companies are creating board game boxes that are the same shape and size as books. The board and game pieces fit inside and you can store them on a bookshelf along with real books. Not only do they blend in and look great, it’s a pretty neat conversation piece. They are also just as easy as a book to take with you. Speaking of which …

Buy Mini Versions Instead

Have you seen those little travel variants of games like backgammon and chess? The idea is that you can take them on the bus or airplane with you and play with someone else. Of course, these days people just play stuff on their phones when they are bored on a trip. That doesn’t mean travel board games are obsolete. In fact, one great use for them is at home where you don’t have a lot of space. You can keep these travel games and use them to play with friends at your actual home. A whole bunch will fit inside spaces like a couch storage bin or the AV unit.

Get a Board Game Shelf

Few things are as stylish as a nice shelf for your living space designed to hold all your favorite board games. In this case the idea is to display them, so their boxes don’t get thrown away. The idea is to entice guests and make people feel like playing. It might not sound like a big deal, but the extra effort of digging out board games makes you less likely to want to play. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say. Displaying your most interesting and fun board games where everyone can see them is a way to start conversations and initiate games.

board game boxes

Building the Right Environment

If you keep your board games out of direct sunlight and make sure that they aren’t in a hot and humid environment, they’ll last for years. Board games are much better these days when it comes to durability, too. The boxes themselves don’t like heat, moisture, and direct sunlight either; whether your games are in boxes or not, the general care is basically the same.

Figure Out Your System

If you have a large enough collection of board games you’ll need some sort of system to organize them. It doesn’t’ matter what principle you use to do this, as long as you have one. For example, you could simply arrange them alphabetically. If you also keep a list on your phone or something, that would make finding the right game pretty easy.

Making Space

If you live in a board game household you need to stop living around your board games and start living with them. Getting creative with the clutter can not only make your play more enjoyable, but can ease the general level of frustration you get from tripping over boxes or rummaging around for the game you haven’t played in ages but now want to find.