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!

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