Updated: Jan 27
Are your kids like mine? Do they love their toys and hold their possessions close? My son loves his baseball card collections, books, legos, and stuffed animals. For my daughters, it's her squshies, art supplies, barbies, and miniature trinkets. And they both like all their prized possessions accessible and in plain sight.
I, on the other hand, air on the side of minimal and desire to keep all belongings organized and hidden neatly in cupboards and cabinets. But, since my kids get so much joy from playing freely with their toys — at times, it's hours of entertainment — I've learned to embrace their toys and beloved possessions. So, with some strategic playroom planning, I've created kid-friendly spaces that not only foster hours of playtime but are also organized, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to maintain.
Here are a few ideas you can implement into your play areas to keep your kids playing and keep the clutter at bay.
Functionality comes first
The goal is to make your playroom a space where your kids can have fun, be creative, learn and develop. Play reduces stress and is an outlet for anxiety and stress, so remember, functionality comes over perfection. This mindset means you don't have to stress when the toys and books are out of place and not arranged by size and color.
Declutter and do it often
Every few months and before holidays and birthdays, go through all the toys, books, games, and art supplies and decide what you can donate, recycle, or send to the trash. If you're unsure what to declutter, start by purging broken toys, toys with missing pieces, or duplicates. Also, eliminate unused toys, books that don't get read, or anything your kids have outgrown and don't enjoy.
Give everything a home
Everything should have a designated place. Toys, books, legos, art supplies, board games, iPads, baseball cards, barbies, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and all the other little things need a proper place to be stored. This way, you'll always know where to find it, and most importantly, everyone will know where to return it when not in use. If items don't have a home base, they will be lying around, out of place, and creating clutter.
Use clear bins
When organizing, bins and baskets are your best friends, but not all of them are created equal. For storing toys and art supplies, use clear bins so your kids can see what's inside without always having to dig around. I love using Our Clear Storage Boxes from The Container Store for playroom storage. They are affordable, come in so many sizes, and are stackable.
Labels are an efficient organizing system that lets everyone know where to find and return items. So finding and putting away toys becomes an effortless and enjoyable activity, regardless of who uses the space. For nonreaders, picture labels are a great labeling solution. You can create your own using sticky notes or painter's tape, print them out on your computer using a template, and purchase all sorts of customized labels from Etsy.
Keep messy things out of reach
Store things you don't want your kids to use without your guidance up high and out of reach — things like paints, glitter, glue, or toys with a zillion tiny pieces. You certainly don't want to deny your child from playing, but some toys have a time and place, especially when they require adult interactions and extra prep and cleanup work.
Make use of vertical space
Walls and doors are a blank canvas and a perfect way to maximize your space. Wall shelves and hooks are a great example of vertical storage, but many other creative solutions exist. My go-to vertical favorites are IKEA TRONES, Container Store Over The Door Racks, pegboards, Umbra Artista Kids Art Frame, hanging baskets, and magnetic boards.
Clean up every night
Take a few minutes every night to put the toys back in their proper place, and do a quick spiff. I call this "putting the room to bed." This quick reset gets the room ready for another productive day of play. Since everything will be in its proper place, organized, and clean, it allows your children to start their playtime independently.
More Playroom organizing inspiration
Living in a tiny San Francisco apartment with kids forced me to think creatively and embrace functionality over perfection. If you need help coming up with playroom organizing solutions, Pinterest is an exceptional resource for inspiration and ideas. For space planning and organizing help, feel free to reach out to me. I'd love to help you develop creative playroom storage ideas to make it easier for you and your family to get and stay organized.