Organizational Ideas for the Playroom
Playrooms of any size require organization. Once the initial task of organizing is done, maintaining it is key. Being able to clean and organize is an essential life skill, and it’s never too early to start. For example, toddlers are capable of picking toys up and putting them back into bins or boxes.
Use see-through containers to be able to see what is stored inside. Check online for great deals on a variety of styles and colors – use a different color for each type of toy (action figures, cars, dolls, board games) or for each child’s favorite “go to” items. Places like an office supply store, an online retailor, and home furnishing and appliance stores offer lots of colors and sizes in clear plastic or metal mesh. Label each container with the contents, either in words or pictures.
Don’t overlook the value of wall storage! Over-the-door shoe organizers are great for holding stuffed animals or craft items; sweater “shelves” that hang on the closet rod are another great option for those. Small hammocks that attach to a corner are specifically available for stuffed animal storage as well. Baskets can be attached to walls, and magnetic white boards or strips and peg boards can be used to store some toys and artistic masterpieces. High shelves, out of reach of little fingers, can be used to store keepsakes or collectibles safely.
Furniture pieces that include storage can be a lifesaver in small spaces. Seats and ottomans that open up for storage or tables with drawers and cabinets can provide functional storage. You can even form a craft table or play space by placing colorful crates on their sides and topping them with a piece of colorful enameled plywood.
If there are toys that children don’t play with or seem to be outgrowing, put them in solid (non-see-through) containers and label them with the date. If, after six months, no one has taken the toys out of the box, donate them. Consider a family policy of donating toys to needy children at each gift holiday, including birthdays, Christmas and Hanukkah. As children get new items, space is saved by clearing out older ones, and a mentality for giving takes root at the same time. With very young children, toys can be rotated in and out to make them seem new again after a month or so. Store the ones that will be “new again” in a solid colored box with the date on it, and swap things out after bedtime. Having a drawer or portfolio-type case for all of their artwork minimizes clutter as well.
Getting Kids to Keep Things Clean
Children do best with tasks that are at their level – literally. Having their toy bins and baskets easily reachable makes it easy for them to find what they want and to put things away. Encourage them to put things away as they go, or to put a toy away neatly before taking out another one to play with. Make tidying up into a game — see how many toys can be put away before a song ends or a timer rings; children are more likely to stick with tasks that involve a “spoonful of sugar.” As with all good habits you want your kids to pick up, lead by example. If your own things are neatly put away, little ones will want to copy you.