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Life Hacks: Disney Cars Diecast “Parking Garage”

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 HDX 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 HDX 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!”

101 Responses to “Life Hacks: Disney Cars Diecast “Parking Garage””

  1. Julia
    December 28, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    Fabulous!

    • Lena
      December 28, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

      Thanks Julia!

  2. Tricha
    December 28, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

    Wow! Quite impressive, both the collection and the organization.

    • Lena
      December 29, 2013 at 9:25 am #

      Thank you Tricha!

  3. Heidi C.
    December 28, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    What a neat storage system!

    • Lena
      December 29, 2013 at 9:25 am #

      Thanks Heidi, I thought about it for a LONG time! LOL

  4. Jenn
    December 28, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

    Wow, that is awesome! So organized!

    • Lena
      December 29, 2013 at 9:25 am #

      Thank you Jenny!

  5. MrDisco
    December 29, 2013 at 2:01 am #

    ok this is *the* single bestest post I’ve read on this site ever!!

    • Lena
      December 29, 2013 at 9:25 am #

      Hahaha happy you liked it.

  6. Doris Calvert
    December 29, 2013 at 2:09 am #

    Great idea! Organizational skills 10/10

    • Lena
      December 29, 2013 at 9:26 am #

      Thanks Doris! I had fun with the project, so that was a bonus!

  7. Teresa Claire
    December 29, 2013 at 2:42 am #

    The boys must think they have the coolest Mum! What a wonderful DIY!

    • Lena
      December 29, 2013 at 9:26 am #

      Thanks Teresa! They love the garage, but I’m far from cool, LOL

  8. Chandra Christine O'Connor
    December 29, 2013 at 5:26 am #

    great idea. especially naming it, that way they have fun parking them without realizing they are keeping them tidy

    • Lena
      December 29, 2013 at 9:26 am #

      Exactly my intent! Thanks Chandra!

  9. Flora M
    December 29, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    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 !! :)

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:38 am #

      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 ;)

  10. dannyscotland
    December 29, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    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….

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:39 am #

      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!

  11. loriag
    December 29, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    Awesome storage bins, that will help keep them nice, tidy, and fun to play with.

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:40 am #

      Thanks Lori! I think so too!

  12. AC
    December 29, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    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…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1l_R7mE7Zk

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:41 am #

      Hahaha thanks AC, I’m so happy you liked it! And I LOVE the link, LOL

      • Lena
        January 2, 2014 at 11:55 am #

        And, I think I may need your help sourcing those Doc’s :)

        • AC
          January 2, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

          After watching the movie, I see how important a character Doc is. It would be an honour to find one if not all three. |-)

          • Lena
            January 2, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

            Fingers crossed, right? xx

  13. Tammy @inRdream
    December 29, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    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.

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:42 am #

      You’re welcome Tammy! Grab some of those storage bins before they’re gone!

  14. Judy C (Judy Cowan)
    December 29, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    Love it, what a great idea! This would also make an amazing gift for a CARS collector!

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:43 am #

      Indeed! I think I know one or two of them – thanks for the idea!

  15. Darlene Schuller
    December 29, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    Girl, you are so organized… want to come visit? <3 I love those cases, perfect for the ever growing collection!

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:43 am #

      Hahaha one organization case is my limit! Thanks Darlene!

  16. Florence C
    December 29, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    Great way to get those cars organized and patience to put all those stickers on also

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:44 am #

      It was actually kind of exciting for me to put the stickers on, so I didn’t mind!

  17. MrDisco
    December 30, 2013 at 1:24 am #

    Do you have the limited Car that came with the Cars 1+2+Mater’s Tales Boxset?

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:44 am #

      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)

  18. Victoria Ess
    December 30, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    Love your “parking garage”!

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:45 am #

      Thanks Victoria!

  19. Michael
    December 30, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    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

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:45 am #

      Nothing to see here, husband. Move along.

  20. Nicole W.
    December 30, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    This is an ingenious idea! I love that you made labels with pictures of each car – so clever. The boys must love it.

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:45 am #

      They do! It makes the cars much more organized and of course, a treat to play with!

  21. michelle
    December 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    Another reason to be happy I have girls :)

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:46 am #

      Ha! I’ll take cars over any pre-teen girl, LOL!

  22. Debbie S.
    December 30, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    So fun, great idea!

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:47 am #

      Thanks Debbie!

  23. Jessie Coffey
    December 30, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    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!

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:49 am #

      Oh Jessie, YES, there are tons of more cars to come! I think there are hundreds in total!

  24. jessica s
    December 30, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    omg can you come organize our toy room too? amazing! and easy for the kids to figure out where they go too. well done!

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:50 am #

      Thanks Jessica! Though this was my first stab at organizing, so I don’t know how much help I’d be, LOL!

  25. Bev
    December 30, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

    Thanks for sharing a cute way to organize these toy cars!

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:50 am #

      You’re welcome Bev!

  26. Anne Taylor
    December 30, 2013 at 9:52 pm #

    What an awesome storage case! I love it and it could be used for so many different things!

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:50 am #

      It certainly can, Anne. Thanks!

  27. Caryn s
    December 30, 2013 at 11:11 pm #

    Love this idea Lena! Not only is collection neatly organized but cars are easy to locate too!

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:51 am #

      That was definitely my intent, Caryn! Thank you!

  28. Marla
    December 31, 2013 at 1:07 am #

    Wow! You did a phenomenal job! And teaches the boys organizational skills :) I love it!

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:51 am #

      Thanks Marla! Yup, I love that the boys are now accountable for their organization!

  29. Janet W.
    December 31, 2013 at 5:29 am #

    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!

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:52 am #

      Pop on down to Home Depot, Janet!

  30. Marissa
    December 31, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    What an awesome parking garage! This is a great idea and I love your organization skills…..

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:52 am #

      Thanks Marissa!

  31. Tamara
    December 31, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    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 :)

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:52 am #

      Ah, our Lego collection is next, I think!

  32. Athena
    January 1, 2014 at 11:26 am #

    I love it! A very creative way to organize and enjoy a hobby :)

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:53 am #

      Thanks Athena!

  33. beth
    January 1, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

    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

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:53 am #

      Thank you Beth :) So far so good, the toys are neat and tidy!

  34. Stephanie LaPlante
    January 1, 2014 at 8:35 pm #

    Wow that is incredible! As a woman with OCD with organization…I like you.

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:53 am #

      Ha! I have OCD organization too, so I’m happy you can relate!

  35. angie
    January 1, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

    love this idea grandson would have an awesome time with this

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 11:54 am #

      It’s a great little project to do with little ones!

  36. jan
    January 2, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

    Awesome pictures of the diecasts as labels – and great pictures for us to see the project.

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

      Thanks Jan! I really enjoyed the project!

  37. Rosie
    January 2, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    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.

    • Lena
      January 2, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

      Thanks so much, Rosie! Much appreciated!

  38. jen
    January 4, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    Lol.I was just thinking how in the world I can organize the cars with eyes. And ultimately keep them from other wheelers without.

    • Lena
      January 5, 2014 at 11:21 am #

      Hahaha the cars with eyes! Love it!

  39. Deb H
    January 4, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

    Awesome way to store the cars!

    • Lena
      January 5, 2014 at 11:21 am #

      Thanks Deb – so far so good, they’re still very organized!

  40. sarah sar
    January 5, 2014 at 1:11 am #

    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.

    • Lena
      January 5, 2014 at 11:21 am #

      Indeed! And vintage cars sound very cool :)

  41. Jason
    January 5, 2014 at 8:29 am #

    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!

    • Lena
      January 5, 2014 at 11:22 am #

      They’re a great fit for Hot Wheels too, Jason! Have fun!

  42. Anne C.
    January 5, 2014 at 8:43 am #

    I love the cars and the car garage. If I didn’t have enough collections, I would start on another one myself.

    • Lena
      January 5, 2014 at 11:22 am #

      Thanks Anne!

  43. angie smith
    January 5, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    i’m in love with Ariel from the little mermaid so this all makes perfect sense to me <3

    • Lena
      January 6, 2014 at 6:40 am #

      I have a little Ariel lover too.. thank goodness he isn’t a collector!

  44. NT
    January 5, 2014 at 11:10 pm #

    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…

    • Lena
      January 6, 2014 at 6:42 am #

      OMG! Find him, polish him off, and stash him somewhere safe for like, 20 years. He’s one of the most sought-after cars!

  45. dh
    January 11, 2014 at 11:35 pm #

    LMAO @ “nothing to see here husband, move along”
    I havent the patience to take one a project like this, kudos to you Lena.

    • Lena
      January 16, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

      Hahaha thanks! And now to distract my husband while I go searching for more…

  46. francine
    February 18, 2014 at 8:33 am #

    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…

    • Lena
      February 18, 2014 at 10:13 am #

      Hahaha I like your husband Francine! Sounds like we are cut from the same cloth.

      • francine
        February 19, 2014 at 8:24 am #

        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.)

        • Lena
          February 19, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

          Sounds like a dream!!!

  47. Gyorgyi
    February 22, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

    In case you still don’t have it, here you can buy Doc Hudson for just 9,79$ with free shipping.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Disney-Pixar-Cars-Doc-Hudson-Diecast-1-55-Loose-Child-Boy-Collection-DF30-/351007923422?pt=TV_Movie_Character_Toys_US&hash=item51b9b3dcde
    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.

    • Lena
      February 22, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

      Thanks for the tip! I will definitely check it out – I’m curious, what does it say underneath, Mattel or Tyco?

      • Gyorgyi
        February 23, 2014 at 6:39 am #

        It’s Mattel, but in a few months you can have the same version in original package from your toy store, I guess.. :-)

        • Lena
          February 23, 2014 at 10:11 am #

          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!

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