Sunday, September 6, 2009

Helping You Organize Your Play-Space

Six tips to a clean and more organized playroom!

Many people purchase some kind of shelving unit to hold the oh-so many toys our children receive in their young lives. Hoping to declutter their play-space and organzie things a bit, parents run out and spend hundreds of dollors on shelving and different sorts of bins to "organize" things. There is however, a few tricks to actually making a storage system work. First off, we can't be fooled and think that the space is somehow going to look better if we just buy some kind of storage system to throw the toys into. Yes, toy boxes are a fabulous way to conceal the clutter that toys bring into a space, but when we get overwhelmed, as most parents do, we have to consider how to keep the space looking neat and organized while at the same time be practical! Toyboxes are a great option, but once we have more than 2 in a room we start to take-up valuable play-space. A shelving unit like the one pictured above is a great option for storage while maintaining a clean and organized environment. Here are a few tips to organizing a playroom.

1. LESS is MORE. Prior to major holidays (Christmas, birthdays, Easter) any time when children will be receiving more toys, go through the playroom and get rid of toys that they no longer need, play with, have outgrown, or are broken, etc...this is a MUST to keep the space organized. Get rid of large objects taking-up space...if they don't play with it - they DON'T need it. Goodwill, consignment, or someone you know would love to have it.

3. Use your walls. I have hooks on the walls to hang princess dresses and other costumes...get things off the floor! Instead of a real dollhouse I have a magnetic one that hangs on the wall like a poster, my kids LOVE it! Again, creating more floor-space.

2. Invest in a large shelving unit and purchase bins/boxes to help conceal the smaller toys (dolls, barbies, cars, figurines, etc.). We found ours at IKEA. I keep all the boxes at "kid-level" so they can peek in and choose what they want to pull-out.

3. Books. Keep similar things together. I decided to use the two middle squares for books. Organzie from tall to short for a cleaner appearance. On the right I have games that are boxed. I have organized them from large to small or thick to think for a tower affect and placed them in the center vs. pushing them to one side. One square holds puzzles and puzzle pieces. Notice I have placed the pieces in baskets to avoid mis-placing them.

4. Stuffed Animals. As parents, most of us are on the same page with those darn animals. Right when we weed them out someone goes along and buys the kids MORE stuffed animals. If an animal has a special memory or event attached to it and it is important to a family member then hang on to it. If it is a "lovey" hang on to it. If it was expensive or just plain adorable, go ahead and keep it. But get rid of all those cheap carnival animals and the ones that just have no meaning. I probably still have too many for my liking, but I'll be taking care of that soon enough. My opinion sticks on the stuffed animals, LESS is MORE! Too many just look too messy!

5. My next task is to actually label these boxes. I think a white puffy paint will make-do but there are so many other creative ways of making adorable labels. Pre-painted wood figures can be found relatively cheap at Michael's. You could purchase a "car" and glue it on the front of one of the boxes(kids would then know to return car-like toys to that box).

6. Finally, the floor. Kids are messy. There's no way around that...however, one way that has helped our family keep the playroom carpets clean is buy using kid-themed area rugs or cushion-puzzles. Whether the kids color with pens, paint, or use play-doh in the playroom- area rugs can save the day! I hope these little tips have given you some motivation to get to organizing! Good luck!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tips around the House...

Every once in a while I get the urge to do a thorough clean-up and organize around the house. As I got everything done, I decided it was time for me to finally add a new post to this's almost been a year! This is our theatre room. Try to see past the Raiders-Lakers decor and how the room is balanced. On both sides we have different decor but everything "mirrors," if you will, something on the opposite side of the room. The decor does not have to be the same shape or size, but in the same spot directly on the opposite side of the room. This accomplishes balance and makes everything flow nicely, aka, Feng Shui. Under the Raiders jacket is a toybox (not pictured) plays opposite the hanging sign below the Raiders banner.

Color. I love color. Many people are "afraid" of color. I use to be more bold in paint-colors but have since mellowed-out a bit. A few years back while my husband and I were "flipping" a couple homes I learned of the importance of color choices and re-sell value. Of course, if you are in a home for good or plan on staying a long length of time there is nothing wrong with bolder options that fit your personality. Paint can easily and affordably be changed. At our house, I now choose to use neutral colors with what I call "punches" of accent colors in the decor and on either one wall or a section of wall. Here you can see orange and green-blue accents in various places of the space. On the encove (family room, above fireplace) we have chosen a soft mint-green color to accent the space. I LOVE IT! When I'm feeling like my kitchen and/or nook-space looks a little boring- I will set the table and add a few "punches" of color to spice things up for a while. Notice the flowers. I also love bringing the outdoors in...this is refreshing and welcoming. Try fresh flowers in any space where you and guests can see them upon walking-into the room. This is very welcoming and a great way to add color.

Most people love pictures. Especially when they are of close family and friends full of great memories and moments. However, pictures can become overwhelming and look very cluttering in a space. Save personal photos for hallways and staircases. These area areas we pass by often enough to view and enjoy the photos but do not make a space look cluttered. Keep in mind that when hanging pictures you should have a theme or pattern to your display. This will help things looking neat and clean.

I love my kitchen. The granite, cabinetry, hardwoods and backsplash speak for themselves. However, I use small pieces to throw in some color, some personality if you will. Here are my green mugs. Also, I enjoy placing small "displays" in areas that actually give a "name" to the this example near my coffee pot- "Espresso Bar."

DECLUTTER. Only place your most needed/used items on counters in your kitchen. Kitchens can look messy very quickly. Canisters are somewhat decorative, coffee pots, toasters and kitchen knives are used almost daily at our they stay out. Notice where I have thrown-in some color...the sheers, the centerpiece (with pot-pourri), mugs, flowers, etc.
LESS IS MORE in the kitchen!

Another example of "punches" or "splashes" of color. Our front living space is the first room one sees when entering our home. A very trendy color scheme now is red and orange with aqua and/or green. I recently had this front room painted from red to a neutral brown color and repainted the staircase wall with an orange terra-cotta color. More neutral, easier for re-sell and easy to change the one wall if needbe. All the color but the orange wall can be removed and changed-out if I get the itch to change the color scheme, the wall is small and the color can be changed easily and affordably.

Last but not least, our bedroom. Pillows. I love pillows. Sure you have to take them on and off everyday, but they look good. They make you want to jump in and snuggle-up. They look more luxurious than say a comforter thrown over the pillows you sleep on everynight. Also a great opportunity to add color. Notice the nightstand. Fresh flowers. Welcoming, calming, beautiful. Try to work decorative pieces in 3 and 5's. Otherwise decorations can look unbalanced and/or cluttered. Candles in a bedroom are comforting and romantic. Notice the hanging candle from the ceiling above the bed...there are 2, one on each side.
Thank you for visiting today and I hope you found some of the tips helpful. Now go tidy-up!