I think one of the biggest decorating challenges people get hung up on is kid’s toy storage in living areas. Living room toy storage is no joke–I mean, do toys multiply at night when we’re sleeping!? Where do they all come from?! But I think the saddest thing you could do is decide that since you have young kids, you can’t have a nice, clean house.
Balderdash, I tell you!
You just need to outsmart those sneaky little toys, and consider your kid’s toy storage needs in your design plan.
You see the picnic baskets in the first photo? Full. Of. Toys. The slipcovered chairs? At any given time they have a smattering of stuffed animals and books under them.
To be clear, I have no idea how to actually make your house look like it belongs in a magazine at all times with children in the mix, but with some simple systems in place, you can go from toy chaos to totally clean in 5 minutes. Seriously! Check it out…
See the difference? If you show up at my door unannounced, you will probably see something resembling the first picture. If you call me and say you’re on your way, you’ll most likely see the second picture by the time you get to my house. Unless I love you enough to let you experience the true state of things. 🙂
If you come when my house is totally clean, the only actual toys you will see in the living room will be these right back here…
There’s a method to my living room toy storage madness, I promise. Essentially, my entire toy storage philosophy can be broken down into three basic steps. Are you guys ready?
1) Plan For Play
We have a kid in our house–our whole house. Just as I am welcome to use any room in my house, so is the rest of my family. So to go about setting up our living room–the area we spend the most time in–without giving any thought to the toys and playing that will inevitably end up there would be denial. 🙂
This means you need a big ol’ place to throw all the toys at a moments notice when company is coming or you just wanna remember what color your floor is. Not saying it has to be a giant coffee table storage trunk, but come on–it’s too good of an opportunity to miss, right?
My husband threw ours together out of inexpensive 1x4s, with limited woodworking knowledge. If DIY isn’t your style, you can find many storage coffee tables and trunks that are sure to go with your décor, no matter what style it is!
The first step to containing the clutter is to acknowledge that it exists! (However painful it might be…)
2) Rotate Toys
So you’ve planned for play and you have a giant storage receptacle for the bulk of your toys. Now it’s time for some smaller, secondary storage places.
These smaller storage containers can be anything that goes with your décor–baskets, crates, galvanized buckets, or drawers. Be creative and use what you already have! These particular containers should be easily accessible to your child, like the open basket I showed you earlier. We also designate a few drawers on our entertainment center for toys.
The reason I have a small selection of toys that are easy to get to (and the bulk of her toys stored in the trunk that is not so easy to get to) is because we rotate toys every couple of weeks. This means she always has a small selection of “new” toys available to play with in the small basket, and everything else can be stored out of sight.
By rotating through toys, we can have a more manageable number of toys to corral at any given moment. I find that it also helps her to play with her toys more, when she isn’t so overwhelmed by the selection.
3) Be Realistic
Remember that nobody with children has a perfectly styled house at all times. Even the people who post the perfectly styled pictures can admit the work that goes into getting a room to look like that.
Remember this picture? The goal in having a good living room toy storage system is not so that your house always looks like the “after” photo, but so that it only takes you 5-10 minutes to get your house from looking like a “before” to looking like an “after.”
If you take the time to set up your own toy storage system, the world becomes your oyster! Last minute dinner guests? Why not. Host small group? Sure. 10 minutes and you’re good to go.
So what clever tricks have you guys discovered to corral the kid clutter?!