Many happy hours have been whiled away in my son’s playroom, imagining and dreaming with little trains, planes and automobiles strewn in every corner. It’s also been the site of a few mishaps – as cute as that little Mini Cooper is, stepping on it with a bare foot is a painful encounter! After some trial and error, here are the organizing solutions that have worked best for me:
- Before you embark on any organizing mission, if there is a closet in the playroom, clean it out. That closet will become command central for your kids and their toys, and if they see it organized nicely and can find their toys easily, chances are (maybe) they’ll try to keep it that way.
- Clear plastic shoe organizers hung on the back of a door or inside a closet door are great “garages” for little cars and other small toys.
- For instant de-cluttering, make use of plastic storage bins or baskets that can be stored in the closet or under a bed. Check out The Container Store or even dollar stores for colorful baskets in many sizes and shapes at reasonable prices.
Make use of the vertical space in a room with wall shelves. For a decorator look, paint the wall a funky accent color before you put up shelves. I once painted a wall in the playroom fire-engine red and put up elfa shelves like these – they put the fun in functional.
Save those shoeboxes and the planet! Have your kids color and decorate them for creative, homemade storage that can also be used to grace the shelves you just installed. Nothing says “playroom” like a storage box with a big pair of jiggling googly eyes staring out at you.
- Make use of double duty furniture. When buying my son’s big boy bed, I made sure it was both comfy and had drawers for storage (his favorite place for stowing away Legos). And that good old-fashioned toy chest? Put a decorative pillow or cushion on the lid for extra seating.
- Don’t overlook Ziploc plastic bags for labeling and organizing puzzle pieces and doll accessories (and more Legos).
- Book cases are great for mixed use storage. Add some baskets filled with toys alongside the books for a neat, organized look.
- Repurpose what you have at home by thinking outside the box – in this case, tool boxes, old Tupperware, anything that’s not being used for its original purpose but still has storage capacity can be used to store dolls, action figures, whatever needs a home.
The idea is to mix and match the solutions that work for you. Pay attention to how and when your kids play with and use their toys, and match your organizing solution to their usage. If some toys are used every day, maybe an open basket on the floor where the toys are easily accessible (and can be put in a closet or rolled under the bed at the end of the day) is the right fit. Perhaps other toys that are used more infrequently can go up on a shelf or in a closet. And toys that aren’t used any longer and still in good condition can be donated to charity or, if your kids are older, check and see if their old preschool can make use of them.
Everyone is going to have a different take on organizing, but I’ve found that whatever works for you is the right solution. Be creative, have fun, and happy organizing!