I’m hardly a home designer! However, I am a mom to two wild & crazy little boys and I don’t love clutter. It stresses me out. Chaos is just a stress trigger for me so when I can cut down on things triggering me, I always try to.
Toys can be so hard to contain! My first piece of advice is always to purge, purge, purge.
I used to really struggle with getting toys for great prices at yard sales or not wanting to pass along toys that were gifts. Also, with my boys being so close in age, I’d always get into the habit of thinking “well maybe Sawyer can use it next year!”
Luckily, we’ve had two cross country moves in about two and half years so it has given me a lot of incentive to deep purge by honestly asking myself if I’ll use this stuff.
So, phase 1: is donate and throw away. Keep only what your kids will actually play with!
Phase 2: Put some items away for rotation. So, we keep one box of toys in our garage to rotate or bring out only when we have extra kids over.
Phase 3: Get most of your books from the library so you don’t get over ran with books. There really is such a thing as too much of a good thing. If your kids can’t squeeze their books out of the bookshelf, because you have so many. I’m giving you permission to pair down right now. With the remaining books, get some spice racks from Ikea or picture shelves from somewhere like Target. Face the books with the covers out, I read somewhere this helps encourage more reading. [tip: I like to get holiday books from the library each season and rotate through them in our book area. Free way to decorate!]
Phase 4: Have functional pieces for your kids play. We have a beautiful kids table with four metal chairs. The kids do crafts there and eat snacks with their friends, but because it’s pretty it works well with the flow of the house. For years, I used a children’s picnic table I had up-cycle with pretty fabric.
Phase 5- Practical storage solutions: Bins on wheels under the bed, laundry baskets in the closet for stuffed animals. We also have cubed bins in the boys closet to allow more room in their floors for playing. Those storage containers have their underwear, shorts, and socks in the top three and toys and craft stuff in the bottom six. We also got two of these Trofast systems from Ikea. I absolutely LOVE this system for storing the boys’ LEGO bricks collection. We used to keep the bins seperated by color, but it was too hard for boys to find the shapes they needed. So, we switched it to by shapes (1×1 or 3×3) The top is a nice flat building surface or they can put away their LEGO bricks and use that surface for craft time. (note- it isn’t usually this cluttered, but we are still unpacking.)
Phase 6- Use pretty baskets. I like to collect cute baskets from 50%-90% clearance and garage sales. We use these to store books and extra toys. It also gives the boys an easy way to clean up, just throw it in the basket. THAT IS ALL I ASK. Also, works well for shoes or specific sports team/practice. Basket in the mud room for cub scouts? Check! Basket for all your soccer stuff. Check.