Does your home have a designated playroom for the kiddos? Is it actually functioning as a room the kids can play in, or is it so full and cluttered that it’s more of a toy storage room? If your playroom fills you with dread, it’s time to get it organized and decluttered. With these tips and tricks, this room can be transformed into a space both you and the kids actually enjoy!
Clear the Room
This may be the most tedious part of your playroom revamp, but it will start your space with a clean slate. Go through all the toys, games, books, art supplies, and furniture. Donate items no longer used or that have been outgrown; toss or recycle broken, unsafe, or incomplete items. If your kids are loathe to say goodbye to any of their things, it would be best to do the first pass when they’re asleep or out of the house. Enlist the kids to help with the second pass. Be mindful of not accidentally getting rid of something beloved.
Group Items Together
If you have small or big piles of items—such as doll clothes, building sets, Zoobles, Hot Wheels, Polly Pockets—group them together so you can see how much space you’ll need to store them. Boxed items such as games and puzzles can be stacked on shelves. If your kiddo is super into something and they’ve got a lot of those items, like Barbies or LEGOs, consider setting up a corner for that particular interest. For instance, the Barbie house or LEGO table would be in the corner, along with small labeled bins to store related items.
Shelves, Bins, Baskets
Now that you’ve got the toys grouped together, you’re ready for storage solutions. Avoid huge toy chests and bins—these easily become a cluttered abyss. We like the Kallax shelf units from IKEA—they are durable, modern, and reasonably priced; there are so many configurations to choose from. For younger children, definitely tether high shelves to the wall for safety. There are a variety of bins and baskets that fit into the Kallax shelves, which are excellent for storing the grouped toys. Labeled bins make it easy for you and the kiddos to find and put the toys away.
Kids love to play on the floor, so add a fun, colorful rug that ties the room together while providing them with a comfortable spot on the floor to build, play, and roam. Set up a cozy reading nook with bean bags and a visually inviting bookshelf. An appropriately-sized table and chairs provide a perfect spot for them to do art, work on a puzzle, and play games.
These items should be easily retrievable and easy to put away. For instance, a set of 16 crayons is a wiser solution than 64—the kiddos still have plenty of options, but if they spill it’s a faster pick-up job. This storage center with eight removable trays gives small hands quick access to their art supplies, and it’s compact enough to keep on their playroom table or to put away on a shelf or in a cubby. A stackable paper tray keeps drawing paper, construction paper, and lined paper separated and organized. A great way to store items like washi tape, stickers, and paint trays is a small, clear drawer unit.
Your little artist or builder would love to see their masterpieces on display. Set aside some shelf space or a couple of cubbies for some special pieces. For artwork use a wall mount for artwork—it’s also a fun and inexpensive way to add color to the playroom walls.
Keeping the Playroom Organized
Now that the playroom is organized and decluttered, you’ve got a vested interest in keeping it this way. Some tips on how:
- Keep on top of the clutter by doing a daily re-set. Take 5-10 minutes to gather up items on the floor or table, and put them in their place. Don’t let it reach a chaotic state that will take hours to re-set.
- Have the kids help out—even toddlers are ready to learn this. Show them repeatedly that everything has a “home” in the playroom. Make a game of it, if that helps: set a timer for 5 minutes and see how many items they can put away before the buzzer. Or make it a necessary task before the next thing on the schedule: “We need to tidy up the playroom before we go to the park,” or “before we have lunch”.
- Set a few rules, such as putting away a puzzle or a game before getting out a new one.
- When you’ve got a playdate coming over, consider putting away certain toys or activities that are big mess-makers.
- Before birthdays or holidays, when your kids will be gifted new toys and books, make room for the incoming items by doing some clearing out of unused ones.
The playroom doesn’t have to be the room you skip when you give guests the house tour. It doesn’t need to look like a Pinterest board either! If you are just stymied by this task, consider getting help from a professional organizer. Keep your playroom simple, decluttered, and organized—and ever-evolving as the kids grow—and it will be a space your family can enjoy for years to come.