Home » #happylifetweaks: Managing the Melissa & Doug Sticker Mess

#happylifetweaks: Managing the Melissa & Doug Sticker Mess

A few years ago, I read a blog post discussing great quiet activities and toys for toddlers and preschoolers.  One of the suggested toys was the Melissa & Doug brand reusable sticker sets.

Reusable stickers?  I was intrigued.

A quick Amazon search revealed they’re basically like the Colorforms of my childhood – only way better.

I loved Colorforms!  I HAVE TO HAVE THESE!  


I quickly placed two sets into my cart and waited for them to be dropped at our door.

Mac was excited to play with them however, after the first use, I could tell we were going to have a serious problem.  The set comes bound with about 5 pages of nothing but stickers and about 5 pages of “scenes” or backgrounds where you can apply said stickers.

Presumably, when you’re done playing with the set, you meticulously replace every sticker in a spot on the sticker pages.

However, this was NOT happening at our home.  The pages fell out of the binding after one use and the stickers just ended up in a very crumpled jumble.

Just the sight of it gave me a panic attack.  What a mess!  I hid them in the basement and hoped Mac would forget about them.

But in the cold winter that followed Teddy’s arrival, desperate for a moment of peace, I whipped out the stickers again for Mac.

Mac played happily at the table while Teddy crawled around under it.

I nervously watched the scene while I prepared dinner.  “Mac, honey, we must make sure we aren’t dropping stickers.  Teddy could choke.”

Still, untangling the jumble of stickers proved difficult for Mac and fall they did.  Big ones and little ones.  I’d race to the table to gather them up.  “Please, watch what you’re doing with the stickers.”

Not surprisingly Mac quickly lost interest in the unappealing mess.  He had no idea what stickers he even had due to their lack of organization.

And worse?  A few minutes after putting them all away, I realized Teddy was making an odd whistling sound.  A swipe of my finger in his mouth produced a tiny sticker:  a picture of a construction worker not longer than 1/2 an inch.  AHHHHHHH!!!!!

I again put the stickers in the basement and vowed to find a way to make them easier and safer to use.

My first “solution” was to glue a large envelope to the cardboard back of the “book” where we could place all the stickers and to use a binder clip to keep the loose pages together.

It was an awful solution.  All the stickers still clung to one another in a heap in the envelope.  They were all bent and nasty.

Again, I hid them.

But several months ago, I noticed Melissa & Doug had a sticker set featuring scenes from a home – with furniture you can arrange.  Mac would love that sticker set!  I have to get it for him!  But what about the mess?  These things are a hot damned mess.

Still, I ordered the stickers.

Plus several sets for Teddy because he wants to do everything Mac does.  Of course he does.

And Mac wants to do everything Teddy does.  Including throwing his dinner all over the frickin’ floor.  Infuriating.  

Anyway, I knew with a bunch of new choking hazards arriving in a few short days, I needed a new plan to keep these little bitches in order.

The following morning Mac asked to go to Target to get some “sticky notes” so he could “be like the teachers at school.”

You know, if a pack of Post-its are going to keep him from attempting to murder Teddy or our cats, I’m happy to indulge him.  To Target!

While we were in the office supplies section, I stumbled across a pack of those clear page protectors. . .the kind you insert in a three-ring binder.

Hmmmmm. . .

What if I used these to corral all the Melissa and Doug stickers?  They could see all the stickers.  They wouldn’t be falling all over the floor.  It would be easy to clean up and store.

And?!  They could draw their own scenes or use pages from magazines in the inserts and stick stickers to them too!  How creative!  Mom of the Year right HERE!

The best part:  It actually worked!

Yes, it was time-consuming to set the whole thing up; however, the stickers cling to the pages nicely (I found using a sheet of plain paper between each page protector ensures the stickers don’t cling to one another when the binder is closed.).  They are easy to store.  The kids each have their own binder eliminating bickering.  It’s a little disappointing the “scene” pages are too big for the binders but they store neatly on a shelf too and are easy enough to grab and go separately.  I personally, no longer suffer anxiety looking at a wadded up ball of stickers.





4 Responses to “#happylifetweaks: Managing the Melissa & Doug Sticker Mess”

  1. A says:

    Perhaps a solution to my exact problem! Yay for the Internet! Do you stick the stickers to,paper and put inside the sheet protectors or do you stick to the outside of the sheet protector? Thanks!

    • admin says:

      Put the stickers on the outside on the sheet protectors. The kids have just recently fallen in love with these again and they like putting all the stickers away now too!

  2. This is awesome. I can’t say how awesome this is. I just bought everything on Amazon to make this happen. My son is 18 months old and loves these stickers and we’ve been storing them in a box where they are all stuck together in tangled up wads of stickers. Let’s not even talk about when he wants to find ONE specific sticker and won’t stop until we find it.

    • admin says:

      Did it work for you? It’s been working for us. The older kid likes to be sure to put things back so they are “nice to play with” next time.