I mentioned them very briefly before, but Via Toy Boxes are very nice quality, configurable storage options for, well, I guess not just for kids necessarily, but they definitely seem targeted to kids.
Basically, you are purchasing each individual box. You get your choice of shape (or door) and color for the front. The rest of the box can we either natural or white. Each side and top and bottom of the box has 4 holes in it for attaching boxes together (with supplied hardware).
This allows you to configure them any way you want. With the space we had, we went 2 wide by 3 tall (click photo for larger version). But, you can do whatever you like (although bases and tops are only available for certain widths).
To help you, Via will send you a kit with cutouts for the boxes, shapes and colors. You can cut these out and plan your configuration. There are also ideas and pre-configured (but not pre-assembled) options on the website.
Now.. how easy are they to put together?
Much like the Blik, once you get the hang of it, they aren’t bad to assemble. Also like the Blik, however, there are some challenges if you follow the enclosed instructions.
Following the instructions (or at least, my interpretation of the directions), you assemble the top, bottom and back together, tightening the bolts.
Oh! Before I go any further – the bolts are all Allen wrench bolts. They supply an Allen wrench (much like IKEA), but – unlike any other Allen wrench assemblies I’ve ever had before – they send you a DRILL BIT for the bolts! I happened to have Allen drill bits, but I thought it was totally cool that they sent one. Using a drill (especially a cordless one) will save you a ton of time and wear-and-tear on your hands with these.
Ok, so I put the three sides together, tighten the bolts, then go to put the front on. Well, by now, there is no give to the sides in order to slip the front between them to line up the bolt holes. So… I had to loosen the three sides to get the front in. Well, lining up all these holes was a bit of work. I will say it got easier as I went along, but I was definitely glad to be done with putting the individual boxes together.
Putting all the boxes and the base and top together into the completely toy box was a snap, although I did have to tighten these bolts by hand, as there isn’t enough room to fit a cordless drill into the box.
One thing you are probably wondering about is why I have the doors opening in the opposite way one would thing to have them open (at least, Ms. Kaz questioned me on it!)… One thing about putting something together yourself is that things may not be exactly… equal… on all sides. I tried to have the doors open the other way, but the boxes would not line up together correctly (I think it created a larger gap between them because of the overhang on the tops). I was not about to take the boxes apart once I had them together, thus – the doors open the opposite way.
All-in-all, I love this toy box. My daughter loves it, too, adding her toys, books and PJs into the little cubby holes the minute I showed her the end result. They are sturdy, look great, are very configurable and relatively easy to put together. They are probably on the pricey side for some (each box being $59), but if you want a high quality toy box/storage unit just the way you want it, keep these in mind.
There are plenty of other add-ons at the website, as well (such as coat/clothes pegs, corkboards, etc.)