Too Many Toys? Tips for Getting Your Child's Play Space Under Control

Children's playrooms can be one of the most difficult places to maintain and decorate in the home.  Clutter, disorganization, and mess thrive in piles of toys, games, and craft supplies. The first step in getting your child's play space under control is to pare down their toys and donate those toys that you no longer need.  Once you have a sense of what actually belongs in the room, it is time to take a look at organization and storage using the tips and tricks that we have compiled below.
1. Get creative with finding storage space. Storage can be incorporated almost anywhere.
  • Under the bed is an obvious option and its potential should not be underestimated. Low lying clear plastic storage bins are the perfect solution for hiding board games and craft supplies.
  • Use the lower shelves of bookcases for storing items that do not easily fit in bins or other storage options. Hide the cluttered look that may result by hanging cute curtains in front of the shelves with tension rods. You can even add fun ribbon ties to keep the curtains shut tightly.
  • Toy boxes are great multi-tasking pieces if used correctly. They can provide both seating and storage space for stuffed animals, blankets, or off-season clothing. Do not attempt to house small items or toys used most often in a toy box. This usually ends in a mess of forgotten toys and missing pieces.
  • Use outgrown furniture pieces for toy storage and display. Cradles, small cribs, and little chairs can house a collection of dolls in a way that is functional and attractive.
  • Search for ottomans or small step ladders that incorporate storage space within. Every little bit counts and kids love little cubbyholes and drawers to stash things during play.
2. Purchase coordinating storage bins.  You'll be surprised at what an impact matching bins can have in creating a sense of order among the chaos of toys, games, etc.  By throwing everything in the bins you'll have a room that looks organized and together, even if the contents are a jumble!
  • Wicker bins can be purchased inexpensively and dressed up with ribbon.  A can of spray paint and a pink gingham ribbon creates a pretty girly look, while natural color wicker with navy blue grosgrain is perfect for a little boy's room.  Bright wood or plastic bins are also a fresh, kid-friendly look.  Stylish laundry baskets can also make a perfect storage spot for stuffed animals.
  • Take this a step further by creating an organization system that can be used for clean up time at the end of the day.  Often bins will come with spaces for labels which will allow you to denote one for action figures, one for doll clothes, one for legos, etc.  If your child is not yet reading, use pictures instead of words to illustrate what lives in that space (this is also just a cute idea!) 
When their play space looks fun and pretty, children may be more inclined to put their things away and take care of their room.

3. Make children's belongings harder to get out than they are to put away. 
  • Try storing books similar to how you would store files.  When a child has to pull a book up and out, he or she is less likely to pull 20 books out at once than if the books are easily accessible on an open bookshelf. 
  • Keep toys that are more often played with and less complicated on the lower shelves, while storing the toys with lots of bits and pieces on higher shelves that are not as easily reached.
Once you have the children's play space in order under control, try to make clean up a part of their daily routine.  With such a beautifully organized space, children will be more inspired to put their belongings away, keep their room looking clean, and make even the most cluttered space in your house a more harmonious place to be. (That is the hope anyway!)

Photos: Mark Cutler Design, Coastal Living, Real Simple, House Beautiful, Ruby Beets, House to Home
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