Organizing Children’s Play Areas
Organizing Children’s Play Areas can be challenging at the best of times. And with your busy schedules it’s not always an easy task to stay on top of.
Recently, I helped Rosie in Innisfil to organize her family room. This is the space where the kids hang out to watch movies, play games, do crafts and now that it’s organized, also to do their school work.
Step 1: The purge
All the toys, stuffed animals and books were pared down.
- Stuffed animals that were no longer loved were packed for charity.
- Books that the children had outgrown were donated as well.
- Toys and games were downsized too. Anything the children were no longer playing with got packed to go.
So far it might not sound to you like this was a big job but the room was full. We could barely see the floor. I did not take before pictures and often I don’t. My clients often feel guilt and shame over the state of their home – so no before photo today. But,
My Honda Element Got Filled Twice.
Prior to my visit, Rosie’s mother came by and packed all the stuff that was on the floor into boxes and bins. She thought she was helping her daughter by getting things off the floor. Unfortunately, it actually made more work for Rosie.
There wasn’t a problem with space or storage. Rosie and her husband had purchased and set up great storage cabinets. The problem – the cabinets had not been turned into a “system.” So, once everything was pulled out and the children did not know where or how to put things away. And, Rosie is busy – she runs two businesses and attends college full-time. And her husband commutes for his work. Sound familiar?
Step 2: Sort Everything
Toys were sorted into categories and placed into laundry and storage bins i.e. LEGO, farm animals, dolls, dinky cars, stuffed animals, etc. These bins were later sorted a second time. Anything that had missing pieces were tossed. Toys that belonged together were placed into smaller bins.
Crafts and school supplies were also sorted. We did not toss out much here except markers and pens that no longer worked. When Rosie’s daughter Sarah came home from school she went through all the markers and pens thus paring them down for us.
Step 3: Create your System
Large items like swords, masks, helmets and costumes were placed into a large open bin for easy access and clean up. And another jumbo bin with a lid was allocated for the stuffed animals.
Nothing New Was Purchased for Organizing –
I Re-Used Items the Family Already Owned.
There was no shortage of markers, pens, pencils, pencil crayons and crayons.
Therefore, these items were stored seperately in plastic boxes.
Each box was labeled and placed in a drawer in the storage system. The drawers were also labeled on the outside so that the children could find and replace the boxes.
And, I had Stephen as my assistant on the label maker. He typed and printed out the labels as I organized and placed items into the storage cabinets.
They also had loads of craft supplies. We used various sizes of Ziploc bags and smaller bins without lids to store small items together. These were placed inside the larger cube bins and once again labeled on the outside so that everything could be found quickly when needed and easily placed back into the bins.
I love Ziplocs – You Can See Everything
and No Additional Labeling Needed
Excess pencil crayons, crayons and markers were placed into small bins, labeled and stored up high out of reach of the children. This bin was lableld but many others in the room were not. We placed everything in easy reach that Rosie wanted her 3 school-aged children to access easily.
You are likely thinking how do I get the kids to put things back. I find setting a timer works really well. In fact, Rosie set the timer on her phone to ring 5 minutes before she needed to meet the children at the school bus.
You can use this to remind kids to tidy up before dinner, bed or leaving for activities. You might need a 10 or 20 minute reminder to allow enough time for the cleanup. And when starting you might need to supervise and coach them until the task is learned.
Feeling Overwhelmed – Need Help
Organizing Children’s Play Areas or Setting Up Kid’s Rooms.