Are puzzle accessories necessary for a great puzzling experience? Can’t you just dump a puzzle out and get going?
Picture this – You are sitting at your dining room table. It’s nap time for the kids and you’ve got a little bit of time, so you grab your favorite hot beverage and a brand new puzzle. You dump your puzzle on to the table and decide to start sorting out your pieces by grabbing the edges and forming the perfect little piles of sections you want to target. You get started and fall into that perfect meditative state of puzzling, but then when you are least expecting it, tragedy strikes.
In walks in your favorite furry friend and you see it happen in slow motion in front of you – the piece explosion as Mr. Whiskers jumps on the table to greet you. Your peaceful zen moment just turned into you on the floor with a flashlight searching for missing pieces under every surface and throwing them into your box lid. By the time you think you’ve got everything together, your puzzle time is up. Your beverage is cold. You have to leave your half-finished puzzle out in the open on the table and you just know that your toddler is going to head straight to it like candy.
Listen, my priority here as Puzzle Warehouse Ambassador is to make sure that you are having the best possible experience while puzzling. You already know how much I believe puzzling can help battle those winter blues and support good mental health! I also really want to help preserve your relationship with Mr. Whiskers. There are some great accessories available that I think will help aid in making sure you always get the amazing puzzling session of your dreams.
Let’s start off with what I feel is an absolute MUST have – sorting trays. I like this set in particular because they stack together and have a lid. I regularly sort out a puzzle and then don’t have time to actually start it and these trays are perfect for that because I can sort the puzzle and then stack all of my sorted pieces together and put them away where no one can get to them. Mr. Whiskers won’t be knocking them off my table! I also like this set because the square shape means that you can set them next to each other while taking up the least amount of space on your table and if like me, you work on a smaller space, you can keep some of your pieces stacked together and away while you are working on others. Perfection!
A box stand is a simple quality-of-puzzle-life upgrade that to me is essential. No more moving your box lid all over the place while you place pieces! No more propping it up with random things to try and keep it up only to have it topple off the table through the session. These little box lid stands are perfect. They take up a tiny footprint on your table and give you the perfect angle to reference your puzzle image.
The Port-A-Puzzle is another accessory I really love having! There are several sizes available so you can pick and choose based on what types of puzzles you love to do. Personally, I have the 1000-piece deluxe version. I love that I can use it as a puzzle board *and* for sorting, and then zip everything away knowing that my pieces aren’t going to shift around. I slide it under my couch for storage. These days, I primarily use this for traveling. I have stuck the entire thing in the back of my SUV when going back and forth to my in-law’s home and have never had to worry about my puzzle coming apart in transit, even only partially done.
We’ve all done them – the beautiful puzzles that have sort of a loose fit. The ones where if you try to pick up a section, you have to move it piece by piece because the pieces don’t fit together tightly enough to pick up more than one piece at a time. Enter – the puzzle scoop. This is a little guy that does a big job. It has a thin, slightly angled edge that can easily get under sections of a puzzle and pick them up to move them. It also doubles as a magnifying glass so you can see all of those tiny details when trying to figure out placement!
After you are done with your puzzle, are you someone who takes it apart immediately or do you like to keep them together? Personally, I tend to take mine apart but I do have a few special ones around my home that I have hung as décor. Each of my daughters has a puzzle in their rooms that I have done and they love them! That’s where puzzle preservers come in. You can use a specific puzzle glue, or my favorite, these peel-and-stick sheets to hold your puzzle together. Don’t forget the frame!
So that, my friends, is just a little look at some of my favorite accessories available for puzzling. Here's hoping that you and Mr. Whiskers can work it out with the aid of these tools!