I too stay away from the stacked bins- its a dumping ground. We still have one and its the stray toy area. Every few months we weed out stuff and toss or donate. Usually the residents of this area are- goody bag rejects, happy meal toys, stray parts/pieces of some other toy etc.
Thankfully I have a very handy dh. He built me last summer to plain bookshelves with both sides open and low. They would also be perfect in a preschool setting (where the idea came from). I found in my very infrequent trip to Ikea bins. They were not even 1$ a piece but the perfect size.
But each bin is stocked with specifics. One holds play doh, one art supplies, one zoo animals, instruments, cars/trucks, thomas trains, doll house furniture etc. We have a lego table with a bin underneath w the legos. # bins hold the ever growing inventory of dress up stuff. I am thinking of having him build a "wardrobe" and hanging all the stuff in there. On top of the shelves (they are about chest level w a 2-3 yr old) sits puzzles, dolls, etc. Also dh made a wooden kitchen last year (copied from pottery barn catalog) and the fridge stocks different foods and the oven stocks different pots n pans.
It makes for an incredibly easy clean up since if a bin is out and dumped it needs to be cleaned up before another can be dumped.
"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."