Tip #1: Everything has a Home, Yet is Easily Accessible
This is truly the number one thing you must do if you want to keep the clutter at a bay in the playroom: everything has a place.
Here’s the thing though — if we have huge bins that have a ton of things dumped in them, then your kid’s won’t know what goes where and they won’t be able to find things.
A part of this is simply having less stuff all-around so your kids can see the stuff they do have. In fact, research has shown that too many toys can actually disrupt children’s creative play, and hence their learning.
I’ve found that the IKEA TROFAST units (pictured above with the green drawers) are a great option for kids. In fact, we have had this same unit since my son was about 2 and we are still using them in an updated Makerspace playroom now that he’s 7-years-old.
The drawers are not too big and you can have a place for everything. even when my son was a toddler he knew that a row of three drawers holds all of his building sets. Another one has cars and trucks, one has musical instruments, and some hold play-food and dishes for his play kitchen.
Tip #2: Toy Rotation: Have a place to put things away
This sounds like what I just said but it’s different. You want a place you can put toys and supplies away that isn’t accessible or as accessible.
This also helps keep the number of toys to a minimum.
If your child has a few similar kinds of playsets, only have one out at a time. Put the rest in a bin in a closet and every once in a while switch the sets out. Rotating toys like this keep their options fresh, without having too many choices and thereby limiting creative play.
It is also good for storing things you don’t use all the time or that you don’t want your kids to use without at least some supervision (paint or small pieces).
Somewhere in your house designate a closet or cabinet that can house toys, crafts, party supplies, seasonal items, wrapping paper, supplies, and so on.
I took over a closet to make our storage center.
The closet was a standard double door closet with a wire shelf/hanging rod. We took that out and painted over the holes.
We used the IKEA ALGOT system to maximize storage space. The system interconnects so you can choose what components work best in your space.
This space isn’t FULL of toys. It has a few bins for toy rotation, arts and crafts items, and family stuff — Easter baskets, Halloween Trick or Treat baskets, wrapping paper, party supplies, my camera equipment, and seasonal decor.
I even have children’s books that I take out depending on the season in the wire baskets.
The ALGOT baskets are awesome. The mesh is small enough that nothing falls through and they are large, about 5″ deep and about 20″ long.
Tip #3: Put Art Supplies in Easy to Move Bins
I want art to be easy to do, but yet not so easy that my son can decide to paint whenever (or wherever!).
Actually, he’s just gotten tall enough to reach the supplies on his own, but they aren’t right in front of him all of the time.
I keep playdough and playdough tools, paint and supplies, and various other things in a set of bins and caddies so we can easily start a fun project without digging through drawers.
These have a home on the shelves in the closet.
Tip #4: Use Wall Space for Storage
My son LOVES trains. Everything about trains. Whatever it is that your kids’ love, make that the center of the play area and make it the easiest to access.
Trains are kind of easy, you have a train table with storage drawers and you can put picture shelves on the wall to store the trains.
If your child loves the play kitchen, maybe have shelves in for extra plates and pots. Or maybe they love toy animals? Picture shelves that are a little deeper could store the large plastic animals.
We used picture ledges like these, which fit perfectly. Matchbox cars fit on these too. Another way to use wall space is to put up colorful hooks.
Tip # 5: Create an Art Wall for Kid’s Art and an Art Storage System
One of the biggest challenges with keeping my house clutter free is ALL THE PAPER!
I heard an organization expert at one of my mom’s group meetings and she said that with paper she has a “touch it once rule.” Which means, if at all possible — sign it, file it, hang it, or recycle it right away — the first time you touch it.
While I haven’t been able to quite keep to that rule, I try to follow it. And when it comes to artwork I take a picture of it and add it to an online album. I date the back of it and then I either hang it up or recycle it.
Once we have too many on our art display, I either recycle it or add it to our art bin.
To create our Art Wall, we used two of the IKEA FINTORP rails together to create a space for artwork on the wall.
I used these curtain clips to hang the art, they work great for different sized art projects.
For our art bin, I have a dual letter size and legal size plastic bin —> like this one. I have an accordion letter size file for each grade and a legal file folder.
The legal file folder is handy to have to larger pieces of artwork you want to keep.
I label the front of each folder with a school picture, the grade, the school year dates, and the teacher’s names.
I hope these ideas for organizing your kid’s playroom help keep your space decluttered, help you keep your sanity, and encourage creative and independent play in your kids!