As long as there will be children (or princesses, as mine now demand to be called), there will be a need for posts like these: How to Organize Playrooms. Since every home, mom, and batch of kids is different, while answers may vary, there are some truisms.
Go vertical. Use every bit of space up to the ceiling, especially with children of different ages, and you don’t want the little ones to get into the stuff that the big ones shouldn’t be sharing. Just be sure to secure tall pieces to the studs behind the wall with tip kits, easily found at your hardware store.
Have places for kids to put things. You know the old saying: a place for everything and everything in its place. Parents must tell kids where things go before they get there. In my house, for instance, I have a thing about not putting stuff under the bed. Unless I make other arrangements, my big girl stashes all everything under the bed because, well, why not??? Your kids don’t know where things go unless you tell them AND show them. Decide where things go before you lose your cool with your kids and their stuff.
Calm with color. Part of the problem with children’s storage is that there are just so many colors involved in all the toys, balls, games, and decorative items that they own. If you can control the color scheme just a little bit, your eye will see less “clutter” and more decor and storage. That’s why bookshelves work. You can have hundreds of books on a shelf, but the shelving serves to unify the collection. Use that same trick with bins and baskets that you can use to store the millions of little pieces and parts of their collections.
Make time to be organized. If you struggle with an organized playroom, then you probably haven’t hit on the right mix of discipline and fun for your parenting style. Even kids as young as one and two can help clean up. In fact, young kids usually LOVE to organize toys. They love to “play” at matching, move things around and create order (as much as it seems they like to create chaos) and they love to please mom and dad. If you can use ten minutes of playtime to clean up, you’ll be helping them build skills they’ll use the rest of their lives.
You might be thinking, “I wish we had a playroom so that it could be disorganized.” Then you’re in my situation. We don’t have a playroom. Our family room is where we watch TV, do puzzles, play ball and read. We’ve learned to say, “I can’t wait to play ball, but we don’t have nearly enough room. I’ll come back when you have the other toys put away in their bins.” We have two attractive storage bins with lids in the corner to store toys. The dolls and critters go in the dollhouse. The kitchen parts get stored inside the play kitchen. The books are in a bookcase. The games are stored in a kitchen cabinet. Once the kids are in bed, we are able to sit in a “grown up” room without having to look at dolls and toys. Of course, there is a limit. A few times a year I go through the box with the kids and ask them which toys we can send to the thrift stores. Our kids are learning that they can’t keep everything.
What challenges do you have with your playroom organizing?
Get Organized wishes to thank Darla DeMorrow for contributing this post. Darla DeMorrow is an award winning Certified Professional Organizer®, Color With No Regrets consultant, decorator, author, speaker, and owner of HeartWork Organizing. She helps her clients to reclaim control and add beauty in their lives, their homes, and their workplaces. Request your free 31 Simple Tips for Organizing Space, Time and Paper & Information at www.HeartWorkOrg.com. Her book for new moms, ”The Pregnant Entrepreneur”, is available in hardcopy and e-book.