Monday, December 28, 2015

Our Playroom

So we're 3 days post Christmas, which means a lot of parents are suddenly in a full on, "Where did all these toys come from and where in the world am I going to put them?" freak out. Or was that just me?

We tried not to go overboard on the toys this Christmas, and I think we suceeded, but we still had a lot of new things that needed homes. Until today I was ignoring the problem. Which, to be honest, confused the heck out of my kids. They'd get up from a nap, "Hey! Our toys are still out!", I'd announce bedtime, "Wait. Don't we need to pick up our toys first?", and then the next morning, "Ummm Mama? Why are the toys on the floor still?" I've always been a stickler for twice a day playroom cleanup, such a stickler that even a 2 year old and a 4 year old immediately noticed when I skipped it.

Today though I'd officially had enough. Last night we were at Target for 2 things. So naturally, we left with a full cart, including a few bins I thought would be helpful for the new stuff. Our playroom was already fairly well organized. I have an obsession with storage bins so everything, for the most part, had its home. There were just a LOT of things needing a LOT of homes. So I decided to give toy rotation a try. 

I've been considering toy rotation for a while, but had no clue where to start because they seriously play with EVERYTHING. I had originally wanted to have 3 distinct rotations, but that was feeling overwhelming, so I just sort of culled down a few categories of toys that were a bit overloaded. Mostly vehicles. We had a small car/truck bin, a medium car/truck bin, a large car/truck bin, and still a few larger ones stored under the train table or on top of the shelf. Not necessary. Sure, sometimes Sam plays with every single one, but he obviously doesn't HAVE TO. So I consolidated all the vehicles into just 1 bin. After that I got into it and filled a couple boxes of less used toys to take down to the basement. I'll probably rotate them back up in 2 weeks or so. Once that was figured out, it was easy enough to find a place for all our new things. 

I had hoped to do all the toy downsizing furing nap time to avoid a lot of inevitable, "Heyyyyy! Where are you going with that?!", but that didn't work out so I parked them on the couch with a movie. I still got a few, "Wait! That's mine!", but they mostly stayed distracted.

They have been playing in the clean and reorganized playroom for 2 hours now, and not a single mention of the missing toys. Plus they've been fighting and whining less because their things are easy to find AND they have more room. I might even downsize a little more this week. Probably not necessary to have 2 baby strollers AND a shopping cart out all the time. Rotating them would definitely open up a lot of space! 

So here is our playroom! This is technically supposed to be the dining room in our tiny little house, but we sacrificed it and squeezed a table into our kitchen to free up space. I so love having s dedicated playroom that giving up a dining room was a no brainier! 

This was "before" (before Christmas even. So this is without the new toys. Here is is messy:


And here it is clean:

Organized, but still a little cluttered.

So here it is now:

I cleared off the top of the low shelf, to give them a space to build with Legos or do puzzles. I also corralled the dress up corner into one basket and a few hooks. All the bins are organized by category. So we have: Mega Bloks, animals, Little People, Barbies & action figures, gear building set, big trains, vehicles, and now one for baby toys too since Henry is starting to play a little.

Can't tell by the pictures, but there used to be a ton of stuff shoved under the train table. Now there's just bins holding various Duplo sets

On the other side of the room is the kitchen and Kate's babies. Luckily our toy kitchen has a good amount of storage space and I utilize that.

And here is our dress up corner:

When we move in the spring James will be building a little dress up cart to help organize all this, but for now this is working. 

We have a nice wide windowsill over the train table that I use to store our craft/coloring stuff. 

I kept out a couple of puzzles, but the rest of the puzzles and games (along with some of Sam's "big boy toys" like Legos and Playmobile) I keep in an organizer in our hall closet (it's crooked because the vacuum was put away weird)

Since Sam and Kate could easily clean up the playroom BEFORE I downsized a bit, I know that it'll be even easier for them now. So that's exciting. 

In my mind it's even neater and more organized, but that will involve a lot of projects first. So this is it until we move and have both more space and more time. 

Now enjoy some shots of my ridiculously cute kids (and husband... lol) playing ;)