by Jacklyn Renz
Throughout our everyday lives, we often find ourselves with a fairly organized home. The kitchen is in order. The beds stay made most of the time. Our living room remains inviting for drop-by visits. However, as those with children may attest to, the playroom somehow stays the “Bermuda Triangle” of the house, confusing and messy enough to get lost in. Here are some secrets to getting that playroom under control.
Purge is the Word
Begin with four boxes: Keep, donate, trash, and other room. The toys that are broken, throw away without question. A toy that never held the interest of your child needs to be given away. Bath toys, clothing, the stolen remote control, or outdoors toys need to be put back in their proper places. If something is being held on to simply for nostalgia, i.e. little Johnny’s very first teddy bear, create a memory box or a special shelf for that item.
Quality Not Quantity
Ask yourself: “Which toys does my child gravitate towards and which toys does my child get bored with?” Perhaps not everything should be given away, but consider rotating the play things to create fresh interest. A clear bin or two can be filled with the less appealing items, labeled, and put into a closet. On a bi-weekly or monthly basis, switch out the playroom stash for a renewed sense of playtime.
Label, Label, Label
With so many different types of things to keep track of, it’s easy to become confused about what goes where. For the things that are keeping their permanent space in the playroom, designate containers and label them accordingly. For those with pre-readers in the home, not only include the word, but the picture of the item too. This serves a dual purpose of word recognition and getting toys back to the right spot.
Tame the Loose Pieces
Things like board games and puzzles can easily get their pieces separated. Once just a few pieces are lost, the whole thing can no longer be used, so it’s important to keep these together. For puzzles, try framing the box cover and storing the puzzle pieces on the back of the frame. This serves as both decor and a practical way to keep it all together and up off the floor. For games, take them out of the box and store them in identical, easily stackable containers. Keep puzzles and board games out of reach, so you can keep track of what is being used. Be sure to establish the “one at a time” rule.
Hide It Away
Curtains can be used to cover and uncover the monstrosity of a toy shelf that sits in the room. Containers under a bed can be slid in after use. A bench with cube storage can be great as a reading nook, and even double as a bookshelf. A small ottoman that your child can sit on, that also has room for dress up clothes or other toys, will help contain the mess that no one will know is there.
Don’t get discouraged if it takes a while for your children to understand the new system. They will get the hang of it. On the other hand, if the mess stays messy, take a deep breath, and enjoy your little ones because as we all know, “they grow up so fast!”
Sources: theidearoom.net, hgtv.com