This week I visited the home of my account manger Kim Milera to talk about playroom organizing systems. I don’t have a playroom, but Kim does and it’s nicely organized. We discussed playroom challenges and solution, both in her playroom and elsewhere.
One big challenge is that playrooms typically require a lot of floor space and it can run out fast. So wherever possible in playroom organizing look for solutions that allow you to store vertically. Kim uses the Kallax shelf units from Ikea. This holds a lot of toys and keeps them easy to find. The reality is, Kim is still doing most of the picking up, but at least this makes it easier.
One of the features I like about the Kallax shelf unit is that has plenty of room at the top for display. This is a feature that is lacking in many of the playrooms we work on. If there’s no place for display items, they will get mixed in with the toys. That makes organizing the toys even harder. Don’t think you need room for display items? See it this seems familiar. Kim says her girls are always creating Lego projects that they don’t want to put away. Who would want to disassemble and contain something you just created? They like to have their creations out where they can see them, so the creations need a display home.
Another display area Kim has in her girls’ playroom is for displaying artwork. Again, if there’s nowhere else for these items to go, they will end up in piles. There are products you can buy for displaying children’s artwork, but Kim has a simpler solution. She hangs a piece of string with some clothes pins on it, to hang the artwork. This works great and costs next to nothing.
Display area are an example of a dedicated zone, that is space you reserve for one category. Just as there should be a dedicated zone for storing toys, there should be a dedicated zone for display. Another dedicated zone Kim has in her playroom is a chalk wall. On the odd occasion her girls want to write on walls, there’s a place to do it. Yes, even graffiti can have a dedicated zone!
Another dedicated zone we recommend for toy storage are the Badger Baskets. They are super easy access and you have options. Either you can stack them vertically or you can spread them out, if you have more floor than height. Many of Kim’s friends and our clients like them for their kids’ toys.
One of the things I am always advocating is keeping a clear work surface and the playroom is no exception. Kim keeps a clear table dedicated to arts & crafts and “slime”-making. Yes, even slime-making benefits from a clear surface for processing! A clear work surface is your number one organizing tool, because it allows you to spread out and process. The key is to never squander it on storage. That’s why it is so important to have dedicated zones for things that end up on tables.
Storing small toys
For the really small toys like Lego pieces, it makes sense to have smaller containers. When those containers are shallow drawers in a stack, that is the best use of space. Drawers ensure that they are more accessible than stacked bins.
Stacked drawers on wheels are particularly good when you have lots of craft supplies. You can organize a variety of arts & crafts and roll them over to the craft table. When done, you can easily roll the cart back to the wall or closet, to open up floor space.
Storing plush toys
Kim easily stores all her kids’ plush toys in a simple basket. They don’t have a lot of stuffed toys, but some playrooms are overrun with them. Of course it might make sense to try and donate some, but kids get attached to their soft friends. One product we like for them is the toy storage hammock. This has a great capacity and it gets these toys off the floor when not in use.
Storing large toys
Finally for the large toys, it really doesn’t make sense to look for containers, so try something else. Dedicate an appropriate resting zone. For example, big plush toys can sit on top of these generous badger basket surfaces. Large toy vehicles can have their own parking garage on a shelf or other surface off to the side.
Next week I will be covering how to get your playroom organized.
In the meantime, do you have a favorite playroom organizing system not mentioned here? I’d love to hear about it!