This past year I’ve started to dabble in cosplay. I’ve dressed up as Ali Brosh from Hyperbole and a Half, Steampunk Princess Bubblegum, Fantastic Mr Fox, and Cersei Lannister. Even though that’s just four costumes, I’m ALREADY feeling the storage pinch. Where do I put my huge plush fox hat? What about the broom? That Cersei dress is quite bulky. And all the wigs!? OMG, y’all. My husband is sick of me using his guitar cases as wig stands.

That’s why this “IKEA bedroom stories” video, featuring a super-awesome cosplayer, made my day. Watch this and then let’s talk…

Honestly, I wish they had gone into more detail about how they organized all his costumes. Where was the wig storage? What about armor storage? Hmmm. This is a new hobby for me, and I’m already feeling like it’s going to overtake my closet soon.

So I throw it to you the cosplayers in the house. How do you store your costumes? Ikea hacks? Storage bins? Incorporate it all into your decor? What are your cosplay storage solutions?

Comments on Cosplay storage solutions… from IKEA?

  1. Would .. would it be insulting to say you make a great Cersei? I mean given CERSEI and all .. I dunno how often people want to hear “you really make a great bitch!”

    Trying to convince my husband to be Jorah (unf) so I can be Daenerys and our soon-to-be-born son can be a dragon. Get it? Mother of Dragons? Eh? EH?

    • I take that as a HUGE compliment. Thank you!

      I developed the concept for becoming Cersei, not because she’s my favorite character (because OMG mean jerkface!), but because I was attending a “villains” party. And then I was like, “Oh! Cersei is the perfect character to be at a party, because her accessories are a wine glass and bitch face.” Both of which, I can get behind. 😉

      OF COURSE the best Game of Thrones character to cosplay as would be Daenerys. If you get your hubs to be Jorah… mmmmm… I want pictures. 😉

      • OMG, right? Jorah is the sexiest. My husband asked if I thought Jon Snow was hot (I’m a recent GoT convert..) and I was like “no way, not my type. I think Jorah is the most attractive in the series,” and he replied in his best Jorah impression (which was pretty damn good) “should I talk like this, Khaleesi?”

        Cue shrieking in glee on my part. Aaahaha.

        Sorry, that was so off-topic, but.

        Cersei is like … the number one villain to be at a villain party. Also, A VILLAIN PARTY? It would be so fun. I want to arrange one of these. I just need to find more people to attend.

        • Oh man, show Jorah is super attractive. That voice! When it comes to the books, though (and, yeah, the show also), it’s Jaime Lannister all the way. Jon Snow is too broody and Robb’s kinda dull (and stupid); otherwise they’d be serious contenders.

          • It’s totally the voice. That and he’s balding and scruffy, and so is my husband, so I guess that’s my thing? Myself of ten years earlier never would have believed it!

          • So you have a husband who looks like Jorah, and can talk like him and quote lines from the show? Enjoy him, you lucky lady!

  2. We have a trunk and a closet that holds costumes (it also holds luggage and some other storage type stuff but the costumes are toward the front so they’re accessible). I still haven’t figured out how to do helmet storage in a good way, though.

  3. My solution to my costume problem was to turn my spare room into a closet. Since I am constantly creating costumes that I refuse to give up or sell, I am quickly running out of room in said closet. If I had room for more Ikea furniture I would take it, but my vloset also doubles as the storage room for my antique vanity/dresser/room divider. One solution that has worked well until now is to hang stuff on walls. My walls are covered in hair flowers, hats, necklaces. Anythink light enough to go on a hook… is hanging on a wall.

  4. I have more costume pieces than real clothes, I think. Fortunately, I have a home office with a closet. I have one giant bin for ball gowns and petticoats, one catchall bin, a couple smaller bins for hats and accessories, an IKEA shoebox for shoes,and a set of plastic drawers. I try to keep things organized in the big catchall bin by grouping related pieces into plastic bags (Chell, Tetra, etc.). The zippered bags that curtains and bedding come in work well for this.

    I would love to have more drawers instead of the bins though. I generally make a mess when I’m digging around for something. Hanging costumes together in garment bags might be good too. I don’t have any wigs or armor, unfortunately, so I can’t speak to that.

    PS that video was so cool. I want to spend the whole day watching IKEA makeovers now.

  5. For my daughter’s dress up clothes, I use an old wooden trunk. I also repurposed the plastic split link baby chain into an accessory hanger. It is hung from the ceiling and use it for masks, purses, hats, etc. I used an old picture frame and ribbon to make us hair accessory organizers.
    Could you do wall shelves with heads to store wigs/big hats?

  6. GREETINGS from a History Reenactor, which is not quite cosplay but never the less involves storing lots of large clothing pieces! Here’s what I’ve learned in 23 years in this hobby.

    1) Dress or garment bags are your best of friends! Head on down to your local bridal shop to get extra long bags for larger costumes. throw your outfit inside and add a baggie with any accessories inside to keep it all together. You can write on this bag what each costume is or take a picture and staple it to the outside. Bonus: Very easy for traveling just grab and go! TOTAL COST ~$3.00 per bag (price at my local store)

    2) Storage tubs. These are not my favorite of storage solutions but if you have an outfit that doesn’t collapse well this is your best bet. This is also a great way to wrangle shoes and boots that only get used once a year. My suggestion here would be to grab some clear tubs so that you can easily identify the contents. TOTAL COST $1.99-30.00

    3) Take some of your more interesting pieces and turn them into home decor! Shields, banners, armor, weapons and even wigs thrown on top of empty vases can make for whimsical home decor. Add a mirror or flowers or glitter! These are wonderful pieces that you have spent lots of time and money on, don’t be afraid to show them off! TOTAL COST: FREE

    4) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Before you strap on your Viking helmet and go pillaging your local fabric store, look at some of the items you already have and see if you can cannibalize what you’ve got. This might be a little emotionally painful but it will make your budget feel better in the long run and can also give you a platform to try out some new craft techniques. Dye, seam rippers, and a steady hand with a glue gun can work wonders! Maybe talk to friends who also cosplay about swapping items. For years Ive gotten my friends together to host a ‘yard sale’ where we all bring our unwanted pieces and trade or sell to each other and this works out WONDERFULLY. TOTAL COST: FREE-ISH

    Most of all HAVE FUN WITH IT! This is a really fun hobby and if your hobby isn’t fun, rethink it!

  7. Not having much storage space in our last apartment, we went with the “use it as decor” approach. We used some 3M command hooks to cover a whole wall with our hat collection and all the helmets and big masks (like Bebop & Rocksteady and Ludo) went on display on styrofoam heads on little shelves in the living room.
    I also kept my sewing dummy in the living room and dressed it up in one of our costumes when I wasn’t using it.

  8. I’ve been creating historical & fantasy costumes for over 20 years, while living in everything from a student dorm to a 2 bedroom bungalow (that we admittedly bought bec. it has 2 walk-in closets 🙂 ). I have a whole sewing room devoted to making & storing my costume pieces, but I also have a TON of stuff for multiple eras & genres, so organization is key.

    1. Edit — You don’t have to keep everything forever. Get over the sentimentality (hard, yes, but storage is not infinite). Keep what you really are going to re-use. Recycle materials into new costumes, sell old items to other cosplayers, clear out space as it gets crowded. I do this almost every year.

    2. Organize by item type, not by outfit — It’s tempting to keep all the pieces of that Cersei outfit together in one place, but it probably won’t make best use of space. Better to put the wig on a styrofoam head on a shelf with other wigs on heads (fyi, it’s best to store wigs on heads so they don’t tangle; & if it’s styled at all, you must store it on a head), hang the gown on a rack with other gowns, put the belt/armor piece in a drawer or box, & put any jewelry in another box w/jewelry. And LABEL everything well. I use post-it type labels from an office supply store bec. I can remove them to update the contents of bins, shelves, hat boxes, etc.

    3. Go tall — Get shelves that go all the way up to the ceiling, whether in your closet or the room (or both!). The cheapest & easiest to install (if allowed, where you live) are the track & bracket style of shelves (kinda like this, but usually less expensive at your local hardware store). These are great to put above existing furniture, like a desk, sewing machine, craft table, etc., & store those wigs & hat boxes. Sure, you need a step stool to get stuff down (esp. if you’re short like me), but you’re only doing that before the next convention, not before work each morning. Also make use of the space up high inside your closet.

    4. Put up hooks — Look for any little unused space & put up a hook. If you rent, you can get those stick-on 3M Command Hooks rated for higher weights. Hang capes, hoop skirts, panniers, armor, wings, helmets, swords, anything odd-sized & bulky that doesn’t specifically need a hanger to keep its shape. In a similar vein, hook things over the back of doors. I have a shoe organizer on the inside of my costume closet door that holds all my costume-only shoes — you could use the same thing for costume accessories, if you don’t have a lot of shoes.

    Feel free to click on my name, which should link to my costume blog for an idea of all the crazy stuff I make & have to store. I’ve even packed up dozens of these costumes to travel around Europe, if you want tips for *that* LOL.

  9. Cosplay storage is the WORST at times. ‘How do I keep my Sailor Moon chest and butt bows from collapsing when in the closet? What do I do with my wigs? Where can I store these boots? Why did I decide to renovate a prom dress when tea length would do?!’

    My current soultion is to take over the guest bedroom, but as a twentysomething at home with my parents, I still have to try to keep it presentable as well. So I’ve made a list of things I am using to keep my stuff withing reach and out of sight.
    -Plastic bins! I have two under the bed bins. One for bulky shoes and one for larger bits of costumes that will be squished if smashed into the closet (Like the aforementioned butt bows). In time I may add another for wigs, but I’ve lucked out so far.
    -Dress bags! More than one person has mentioned them, and I will gladly repeat the point. It keeps fabric paint from rubbing off, jewels stay glued on, massive wrinkles are avoided, and if you put strips of colorful duct tape on the bag, you can write what cosplay is in what bag for easy access.
    -Boxes! Amazon Prime membership = boxes everywhere! I throw jewelery in some, wigs in some, props and accessories in some and scrap fabric in some too. All of these are then labeled and stowed in the closet’s shelves. A friend of mine recently mentioned that it’s possible to take leftover wrapping paper from the holidays and make the boxes look a lot more fabulous and noticeable.
    -Closet organizers! I have a hanging square organizer for pants and shirts that don’t need any special attention, as well as an over the door shoe hanger which holds all my formal and cosplay heels and flats. Shoe inserts also make their home in the pockets so I remember where they are.
    -The guest dresser! We have a dresser guests can use, but the top drawer is reserved for current cosplay wigs and accessories in progress so I have easy access to them, rather than digging them all out of the closet.

    And the hardest way to keep the clutter down:
    -Donation! Between con forums and friends, I have given away a few cosplays and lent out many more. It always feels fantastic to help a aspiring cosplayer find a part or wig they need, or even an whole cosplay. You spend so much time working on these, it gets hard to say goodbye, but every costume that goes to another loving home means more space for that dream cosplay of the future.

  10. Bins. So many damn bins. My life is in bins. They stack. It’s convenient.

    I have a…truly stupid amount of clothing, both daily wear and costume wear, and seriously. Bins. Not to mention all the supplies for my costume habit, as I make almost all of it.

    I organize mine by costume type (vampire and pirate in one, elf/faery/fantasy in another, vintage and historical in another, etc) although in the last few years I’ve gotten into steampunk which has royally fucked with my categories, as steampunk will do.

    Also, the accessories like gloves, scarves, fans, stockings, get their own bin, but I keep my hats and my bulkier weaponry like my bow up on the walls.

    And maybe every two years or so I go through everything and send the stuff I have not touched home with my friends, and let me tell you, everyone LOVES it.

  11. While the installed IKEA storage solutions relly made a difference to and opened up the room, I would have actually liked to see a little bit more about how the costumes fit into his cupboards! Hard to imagine that all those things actually managed to fit right back in there and give him that much more space, but I guess that’s what vertical storage solutions will do hey?

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