Does anyone else find their living room being slowly invaded by an army of toys on a daily basis? I've decided to stop resisting this takeover, and instead embrace it. Here's how I added some subtle toy storage to our family living space.
Did you catch the recent organizing toys guest article from Stefanie, @therealisticorganizer? She made an excellent point- kids love to spread their toys all over the house. Instead of constantly getting annoyed at having to trek them back to the toy room, why not cater for this and provide some toy storage in each room.
This made a lightbulb turn on in my head! My husband gets driven insane by all the toys in our living room when the kids have a toy room literally next door! I understand his frustration, but I also kind of like the fact that the kids bring them in because they want to share their play experiences with Mom and Dad. I decided to take Stefanie's advice and get some toy storage in place in the living room to replace the usual pile of toys that lives under our TV (no matter how regularly I take them back to the toy room, they reappear and multiply!!).
At least I had got as far as putting the toys in containers! Unfortunately non of these containers were matching, and they certainly didn't look nice in our living room! So off to IKEA I went in search of some relatively affordable, yet stylish toy storage that would suit our living room decor.
I ended up going for the KALLAX shelf unit in a gray / wood effect for $64.99. I must admit it took a lot of personal strength to not buy my usual bright white which I always go for when it comes to kids' furniture. I had to remind myself that this needed to blend in with cozy living, not chaotic play! I got 8 of the BLADDRA storage boxes which were $9.99 each. It was a bitter pill to swallow spending more on the storage boxes than the actual shelf but I loved how big and sturdy these boxes were, along with the subtle appearance and soft texture of them.
Unfortunately buying the storage unit was the easy part..... now I had to build it and sort through the toys! The building process was surprisingly easy (thankfully!!). I wanted to make sure the toys were organized carefully into the 8 storage boxes so I spent time on this part. I was also dealing with a very curious baby constantly moving toys about!
Firstly, I got all of the toys out of the baskets from under the TV and started sorting them into rough categories. For my kids this pretty much consisted of 'big cars, 'medium cars', 'small cars' and 'baby toys'. Please remind me never to buy another toy car for my son!!
I took this as an opportunity to get rid of any toys that were either damaged or just not played with any more. I tried to be really strict with this as it is too easy to accumulate vast amounts of 'stuff'! I'd say 90% of the toys I got rid of came from McDonald's! Thank you Mr. Ronald!
I then started the process of filling the storage boxes with the toys. A little tip if you are, like me, trying to do this with kids about. Give them their own box and pile of toys to 'sort through'. This should buy you enough time to get the rest done before needing that final box, at which point they'll probably be bored with it anyway!
It was finally time to slot the storage boxes into the shelves. I tried to carefully plan where each box would live to ensure that the toys were still accessible for each child. For example, I kept baby sister's toys along the bottom, while big bro got the top shelves. This was with the exception of one of his car boxes which was pretty heavy so to keep things safe I put that on the bottom.
I loved how before I even put the labels on the boxes both my kids were happy with the new storage system. Big brother was great at getting a box out at a time and of course baby sister thought it was like opening a treasure chest every time a box came out!
Another top tip I took away from our guest articles this month was to use labels when storing toys. I created some really simple picture and word labels to help both of my kids recognize what belongs in each box. I laminated them and added a hole punch for ribbon to be thread through. I'm hoping they will withstand baby sister yanking at them daily!
So there you have it- random containers of toys transformed into a subtle and stylish toy storage unit in our living room. The biggest test was my husband's reaction..... he loved it! We have our adult living space back for the evenings, but in the day the kids can still enjoy sharing their play which is so important for me.
The whole project cost $145 which is not a small amount of money. However, I totally feel that it is money well spent because we now save so much time not having to constantly clear up toys on the living room floor. This allows us to focus our time on family fun and prioritizes our ability to Make Time Together.
Creative QT designs quality + innovative toys that declutter homes and inspire creative play. Founded by parents of five, Adam and Dana Sue Hinkle, Creative QT’s vision is to empower parents and encourage a culture of families that Make Time Together. All products are designed to enrich families’ lives through active, creative play and play based learning. Creative QT products are laboratory tested for compliance with CPSC requirements and are free of lead, cadmium and phthalates so you can play with confidence. So, go ahead … today is the day: be your kid’s hero.
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