I realize that not everyone has a playroom. Although, it could be argued that maybe everyone should, regardless of whether or not you have children. Either way, our playroom needed some lightening up!
When we were looking to buy a home, one of my must-have items was a room we could use as a playroom. I’m a big supporter of keeping the bedrooms calm and quiet and mostly for sleep. So that meant I needed to have the boys’ toys live somewhere else.
When I saw this house, with a big “den”-type room downstairs, I knew I had found our playroom. It’s a quirky space (remember this is a 1962 original) with a wet bar/laundry room combo on one side and an indoor barbecue on the other. Yes, you read that right. An indoor barbecue. That was one of the first things I had disconnected when we moved in. I’m sure it was all the rage in the 60’s, but worrying about whether or not my preschoolers were flame-broiling their dump truck was not something I wanted to have to think about.
Anyway, after being here a year, the time had come to review all the toys in the playroom and start lightening up. Enter my three favorite boxes: Put Away, Give Away, Throw Away… and I was ready to go.
First, a side note about the kinds of toys that I prefer to own. I definitely lean toward open-ended toys with multiple uses over a range of ages. Toys such as, building block, magnets, train tracks, tinker toys, dress-up clothes. These kinds of toys can be played with in an almost infinite number of ways and spark natural curiosity and creativity. There are very few single-use toys with noisy buttons (and I didn’t buy the ones that are in there!)
Second, one of the best ways to keep the playroom into erupting into a disaster and staying that way (because, let’s be honest, our playroom erupts into a disaster every single day) is to make sure that everything has a home. And that everything gets put back into it’s home at the end of the day.
In our playroom this means that all the blocks go into a block bucket. All the cars go into a car bucket. All the stuffed animals go into a stuffed animal drawer. Etc., etc., etc… I love this shelving unit with its cubbies for all the storage boxes.
I went through each bucket and drawer and checked to make sure that all the items in that container belonged there. Anything that needed to go somewhere else went in the Put Away box. Then I checked to see if there was anything broken or that otherwise needed to go in the Throw Away box. Finally, I determined if there was anything the boys had outgrown that needed to go in the Give Away box.
In my notebook, I noted that I needed another big box for the duplo blocks and another shoebox sized container for a set of circular interlocking blocks.
It’s funny. I saved this room for last because I thought it was going to be a huge undertaking. But thanks to my three boxes, it was just a matter of going through each space quickly. And it actually did go pretty quickly!
Of course, I did have to do it when the boys weren’t looking. They’re not quite ready to understand why they can’t keep that baby toy. Although, we did have a conversation the other day when they were begging for a certain new toy. I explained that if they ever wanted to sell one of their old toys, that money could then be used to purchase a new toy. They were all over that idea. At least in theory.
I love how this room will evolve with the boys. When they’re in elementary school, we plan to knock out the indoor barbecue and put in desks and shelves as a homework station. And when they’re teens, maybe we’ll trade in the train table for a pool table. Or something to keep the kids having fun over here where I can support them in positive entertainment! And then, of course, someday when the boys move out, it will finally become my playroom. Dance studio, anyone?
At any rate, the boys are happily playing in their just-a-little-bit-lighter playroom, and at the end of the day, we’ll get all the toys back in their homes for the night. Having everything put away at the end of every day is definitely something that makes me a little bit lighter!
Do you have any toy storage ideas that lighten you up?