Many parents of little kids have some key things in mind when they pick out their family home. One of them is typically a space or room where the kids can play. The idea is that if all the toys are in one place, at least the mess is contained and not seeping into the rest of the house. (Well, that's the idea, not necessarily the reality). A messy playroom can still be an eyesore... not to mention that there's nothing quite as infuriating as hearing your child whine or cry because they can't find their favorite toy within the giant mess that they made.
If you've reached the point of complete surrender with the toys, take a deep breath. There are a lot of very simple ways to help organize the chaos and make it easier for your little one to clean up after themselves. Here are 10 tips.
10 Store Coloring Books In Magazine Files
Kids love to color, and who can blame them? Their coloring book collections usually don't take very long to get out of hand since they're so inexpensive. Suddenly, you have piles of ratty books and seemingly endless loose pieces of paper with their art on it. It's messy, and frankly, a Type-A person's nightmare. An easy fix for this is using a magazine file to hold them in one place.
You can put it on their little table where they color so they have easy access to it, plus it will hold quite a few coloring books, activity books, and sticker sheets so you likely won't need more than one to control the clutter. Not to mention, you can find these babies at just about any big box store.
9 Use Your Wall Space
One of the biggest tips when it comes to organizing a garage or storage space is to utilize wall space and height. The same can be said for the playroom. If you don't like baskets and piles all over the floor (who does?!), consider installing some shelving that you can store things up instead of out.
Since this needs to be kid-friendly and safe, put the toys that aren't used as much or that require adult help on the higher shelves and keep the favorite toys at eye level. And, of course, always be sure to anchor things to the walls because at some point every little kid will decide to try to become a little climber.
8 Keep It Classic With Cube Storage
There's a reason storage cubes won't go away: they're fantastic storage systems. They work like drawers, but little fingers won't get slammed by them, and they're soft so if they come tumbling out of a higher cubby, they won't crush anyone's toes.
Storage cubes are also great because there are so many designs available that you can easily find the colors you want to go with your overall playroom theme (even if that theme is simply "hot mess") and you can't see through them so the mess is well hidden. Also, they are pretty inexpensive so it's not a big deal if one gets ruined or if you decide you want to redecorate.
7 Invest in Multipurpose Furniture
Depending on your living situation, the playroom may be used for various reasons, like an office, a guest room, or even the family room. To make this work, invest in furniture that serves multiple uses so that you can maximize storage and organization without sacrificing functionality.
Get some ottomans that open up so you can put toys in them, get a little table that can also serve as a coffee table, invest in a couch that has a pull out bed, and if you come across any decor that is both pretty and unbreakable, don't hesitate to buy it. Your playroom doesn't have to look like a Pinterest-worthy space for your kids to enjoy their time there. It simply needs to have their toys in here somewhere.
6 Store Books Facing Out
If you look at any parenting website, you'll likely come across this crazy popular hack: using spice racks as book holders for your kids. The spice rack is a great way to accomplish a great organization hack: storing kids books facing out. When you try to put them on a bookshelf with only the spine showing, chances are your kid won't be able to tell them apart so, in typical kiddo fashion, they'll pull every single book off the shelf as they search for the one they want to read.
Then, they'll leave that pile of books there for you to clean up later. By storing them facing out you eliminate the mess and utilize valuable wall space for storage, leaving bookshelves available for bigger toy storage.
5 Use Hooks For Dressup Clothes
Those little dress-up wardrobes are so adorable and sweet, but when was the last time you saw your kiddo use a hanger for something other than pretend play? Hangers are rarely used for their intended purpose by little kids, so while a wardrobe is a cute idea it's not going to actually work (unless you're dedicated to cleaning up after your kid all the time).
Instead, get some command hooks and put them at kid height so your little one can get their dress-up clothes down and put away by themselves. This will also free up precious drawer space and keep your kid from digging through the drawer to find the doctor coat that is at the very bottom, leaving all of the other clothes scattered around on the floor.
4 Create An "Art Gallery" Wall
We all love our kids' artwork. It's adorable. But it doesn't take long to accumulate. And honestly, how many handprints can one family have hanging on their fridge and walls throughout the house? To help this clutter, consider adding a gallery wall in the playroom with a certain number of spaces for them to display their art.
If all of the frames or hooks already have works of art in them, but your kid has a new one that just "has" to be displayed you can give them the option of which one to take down. This keeps things reasonable and still lets your kid feel proud of their accomplishment.
3 Ditch The Boxes For Crayons, Markers, and Paintbrushes
Little kids can't be expected to put little crayons back into their boxes. Even if they do have the fine motor skills to line up those crayons in the box, they might not always do it. Instead of growling every time you see the mess of crayons sitting literally right next to the box, consider a different storage option.
You can use cups, tins, utensils holders, or one of the millions of DIY methods found on Pinterest to store crayons, pencils, markers, and paintbrushes. They can still be organized and out of the way, but in some kind of container, your kiddo can actually work with, instead of a little box with no wiggle room.
2 Keep Small Pieces Together With Clear Shoeboxes
Barbie shoes, dinosaurs, game pieces, Legos, and all other small toys are a nightmare because they're often found scattered around the playroom in every nook and cranny.
To avoid this, get some inexpensive clear plastic storage boxes (about the size of a shoebox) and designate each box to a certain toy. You can label them if it will help your child put their toys back where they belong... but maybe use pictures instead of letters so that even non-readers can understand where things go.
1 Designate A Spot For Unwanted Toys
You've probably ventured into the playroom with a giant garbage bag and packed up toys your kids no longer play with. This system is fine as long as your kids don't have an epic meltdown when they realize a toy they actually do play with has suddenly gone missing, and you have to either own up to what happened or play dumb (both are equally acceptable responses, by the way).
To avoid this, try putting a basket or box in the corner where your kids can place toys they no longer love. This will clear up space for the toys they actually play with and the unused toys will stop collecting dust. You can then go in and clear the box out periodically or let the kids come along with you to donate them to others in need.