4 Lessons in Organizing Toy Spaces

Reorganizing toy spaces after a move | Melissa & Doug's Playtime Press

{End of the Year Clean Sweep} *Get organized BEFORE the holidaysMoving into a new home is stressful and overwhelming. Whether you’re upgrading or downsizing, room layout and size differences can really wreck havoc on your prior organization systems!

While some people can get themselves unpacked and ready within a week or two, I discovered our family needed “Get to know you time” with our new home after a cross country move last fall.

During the newlywed phase of the house I had all kinds of grand plans about how we were going to use new-to-us spaces:

    • The formal dining room would be a playroom for the girls.
    • The dining table would be put into the eat-in portion of our kitchen.

The reality?

    • The formal dining room was always messy from toys and I hated how that looked to guests coming in our front door.
    • The kitchen isn’t big enough to extend the table for holiday dining with extra guests.

The solution: We decided to try something a little wild and crazy–we moved the play room into the kitchen!

Before & After:

Reorganizing toy spaces after a move | Melissa & Doug's Playtime Press

Putting our play kitchen, grocery cart, and tiny table and chairs where the dining table previously sat was the best decision ever. My girls love to play with their kitchen while I “play” with mine.

Organizing toy spaces after a move | Melissa & Doug Playtime Press

The dining room transformed from messy cluttered chaos to a neat and kid-friendly way to welcome visitors into our home:Reorganizing toy spaces after a move | Melissa & Doug's Playtime Press

Whether you have a move planned in your near future or not, here are the top lessons we gathered from our experience:

1. Throw room names out the window: Just because the realtor would label it “Dining Room” or “Kitchen” or “Den” does not mean you need to follow that theme. Ask yourself if the room’s job is working the way you want. What is your goal for that room? Is the furniture inside the space fulfilling that role? I would have been perfectly fine making our dining room a playroom but just didn’t enjoy not being able to see the girls while I was busy in the kitchen!

2. Cluster toys into categories and divide them: Rather than just having one single place for play, our toys are grouped and spread into smaller chunks throughout the house. All of our kitchen related toys (play food, grocery cart, kitchen and table) went into the kitchen. Board games and puzzles are stored on a table shelf in the living room. Art supplies are stored on a shelf unit near the dining room where craft activities and homework are done. Stuffed animals and dress-up belong in our Animal Hospital closet. (Check out that fun play space here.)

3. Purge Purge Purge: I did so many full carload trips to Goodwill before our move and it still wasn’t enough. Be sure to regularly go through your play spaces and remove/donate/toss any outgrown, unloved, or broken toys. The less you have out, the more it gets played with! Check out this great post on purging by 100 things a time! Oddly satisfying.

4. Be a courageous experimenter: My  husband initially scoffed at the idea of not having a dining table in the eat-in portion of our kitchen. It took some getting used to but now he sees how much happier my toddler has been to have a space close to me to play during the day.

Look at your house with a new set of eyes. What kind of crazy swap could you make that might change how your family feels about your spaces? If the swap doesn’t work, you could always move things back. Why not give it a try?

 

 

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tiffanydahleprofileTiffany Dahle is the hostess behind Peanut Blossom where she shares her belief that strong families start with strong and happy mothers. She encourages you to develop everyday possibilities for stretching your creativity while doing what you do to keep that household running!

You can find Tiffany on FacebookTwitter, Google+ and Pinterest.

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Organizing toy spaces in your home | Melissa & Doug Playtime Press

Comments

  1. What great ideas! I love making toy categories and with two small kids (ages 4 and 2), we frequently run through all the toys!

  2. We did something similar by throwing out previous notions after our second child was born. Our master bedroom was huge and just gathered junk from the whole house. Plus, it was right off the kitchen so visitors could look right in and see all that mess. Our two boys, though, were stuck in tiny rooms on the other side of the house where I could never see or hear them. So we traded! We ended with separate spaces for our bedroom and our office that are more private from company and stay cleaner. They boys ended up with a very large shared room and playroom where they are more connected to the house. Everyone is happier. You’re right, though, the idea was hard to get used to at first but once it was finished we were so much happier.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] family moved from Chicago to the coast. Join Tiffany as she shares tips and tricks on how you can: re-evaluate spaces used for toys, involve your kids in cleaning routines, and (last but not least) calm clutter and chaos in the [...]

  2. [...] about the transition of the furniture in the space  and see some before/afters in my post “4 Lessons in Organizing Toy Spaces” over on Melissa & Doug’s Playtime [...]