Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? With kids of my own, I’m definitely savvy to how fast things can get chaotic with kids and their toys. It doesn’t matter if the space your kids have to keep toys is a corner of their bedroom or an entire wing of the house, if you’ve got kids and they’ve got toys, then you have potential chaos. I’m excited to share an organized playroom that belongs to the children of one of our readers, today.
The mom who designed this playroom has it all figured out. Not only are there plenty of places for the kids to engage in imaginative play, she’s provided some kid-friendly storage options for their toys. She knows that kids are going to be more successful at putting away their toys if the storage options are easy to open and within their reach. Before we take a look at them, I have a few extra ideas for keeping families with toys organized:
Let’s take a peek inside Samantha’s house, now, and see what she does to make sure there’s plenty of room for good times and toy storage in her family’s playroom.
Submitted by: Simply Organized
Hi, everyone! I’m Samantha, and I blog at Simply Organized.
I'm a busy wife, mother of 3 children, and full-time homemaker with a passion for organization. Being a parent and running a home is enough work as it is – why make it more complicated and stressful by being unorganized? When you are organized you safe time, money, and your sanity. I've been an organizer by nature my whole life and have enjoyed helping friends and family get their homes or offices running more efficiently. While raising our 3 children, I have folded organization into every phase of their development. I think it's important to keep their spaces organized so they learn to have respect for the things we are blessed with. It's also a good lesson to continually work on with the kids…when there is less clutter, they really do appreciate the items they have.
We wanted to kids to have a very fun, creative and imaginative play space…and this playroom fits the bill. In addition to their toys, there is a lot of open space…which I think is most important for kids. The built-in playhouses are fun and inspire hours of pretend play. The kids and I frequently go through our toys (maybe 3-4 times a year…a seasonal change is a great time to purge) in order to move out items they aren't using anymore. This helps clean up any clutter while also sharing our gently used toys with other children that would love to have them. We donate toys regularly to a local charity, our Sunday school rooms at church or our pre-school that we attend.
Let me show you around a bit more!
There is a girly pink cottage…complete with windows and wooden shutters. Inside our daughter has all of her toddler toys and lots of play food. The kids love to play grocery store in this house, so we have a pretend cash register and shopping carts too….
The table in front of the cottage is a Thomas train table that I transformed into a doll house table. Our daughter received a Calico Critters doll house for Christmas and needed a space for the doll house and various pieces. Since the boys weren't playing trains very often, it became a doll house table for very little money…you can read more about that transformation here…
On the boys side we have a fun cabin. There is a hook to the right of the door where the boys can hang their cowboy hats after a long day out on the range (otherwise known as – the backyard). Inside the cabin they keep loads of cars, trucks, planes and whatever their current favorites happen to be…
I found the magnetic white board at michael's for $15. It works really well sitting inside the Melissa & Doug easel tray so the kids can create words with magnetic letters or play with their word whammer.
On the opposite end of the playroom there is a play table for the boys, an indoor basketball hoop (that extends to 6 feet in height), a drum set, stuffed animals and balls. There is also a comfy place for mom and dad to sit while the tornado of activity goes on around us. 🙂
You can also see in the above photo how many odd angles there are in this space. This space really shouldn't have been a space to live in at all. It's technically an attic. Our living space is all on one level, and this is the only space on the 2nd level of our home. The far end of the playroom shown above is above our garage and that is why there is very little natural light/windows. The closets and attic up here also have very odd angles.
In our playroom we have 2 great storage closets. We set one up as a game/dress-up closet. Our kids love to play games and dress-up in costumes, so having a designated space for those items has been an absolute blessing. It really helps to keep all of those game and puzzle pieces out of the general play area. Inside this closet is an old shelf from our office closet that works well for keeping the games and puzzles organized…
On the opposite side, there are 2 hanging racks and 2 shallow shelves that are great for hanging costumes and storing the dress-up accessories…
In the other closet, we store most of our toys. This closet has changed over the years to fit the organization needs of the toys the kids are playing with. But here it is in its current state…
As to what is inside the closet and how we organize the contents?….
*the white mesh bins are from the container store (13″ cubes) and work really well with the depth of the shelves. they are $6.99 each, but i bought them with a 15% off coupon. $6.99 is still a pretty good price though.
*every toy category has a bin.
*the rule in our playroom is “one bin in, one bin out”. this has helped to keep the playroom chaos under control.
*the bins up top are there for a reason – you need to ask mom or dad's permission. this includes toys like nerf guns, lightsabers, play-doh and play-doh shape cutters, and small pieces that easily get lost in the carpeting. basically, toys that need adult supervision live up high.
*the mesh bins are easy for the kids to carry because there is a handle on two or the four sides. it's also easier for them to put items away when it's not a container with a requirement – meaning a slot for specific items that only fit a certain way. with this bin all they need to do is throw the toys inside and the job is done. in my 7.5 years of parenting i have found the easiest way to get our kids to help clean up is to make clean up easy. if it's a chore, they will fuss about cleaning and you'll end up doing it yourself.
*i opted not to label our mesh bins. don't get me wrong – i love labels, but the kids' interests change frequently. and, as you can see in the photo below, it's evident what is inside each bin. no need to label when we already know what's there. for us, i found not labeling these to be easier. but i'm sure some of you could come up with some cute labels to pop onto these…
*the only 3 items on the floor are a bin of toy story toys, a bowling set, and a bin of chunky legos – all items too large to fit on a shelf.
*there are some smaller bins that contain small items like flash cards, balloons, mini plastic animals, rubber stamps, etc…
*when we see that a toy isn't being played with anymore, we move it out. Although the kids never feel they have enough toys to play with, mom and dad know better. I think the toy closet proves just how much they do have to play with. so, if they aren't satisfied with what we own, it's time to pass on a few toys in order to buy some new ones. It's not always an easy battle, but once they have a new toy they are pretty happy.
We do our best to keep the main playroom floor clean…funny how the kids will play more up here when the floor looks like the above photos. And I think open, free space is just as important, if not more, than having toys. When the kids have free space to play they are more apt to be creative and imaginative.
Trust me though, the playroom does NOT always look that way. We are real people with real kids…I’ll share just how messy the playroom can get….
We spend a lot of time in this space and have created many precious memories up here. The contents have changed with the age and seasons of our children. They are at the perfect ages to enjoy the playroom as it is now, but as they get older, I can see us changing this space into more of a big kid game room. For now, we are going to enjoy watching these little people enjoy the space where they can have fun, create, use their imaginations and just be kids.
Thanks for sharing your family’s playroom with us, Samantha! It looks a great place for your kids and their friends to play together, and you have amazing organizational skills. If Samantha’s efforts have made the wheels start turning in your own brain, feel free to look for even more inspiration at the links below.