Space is at a premium in our place. With the addition of Master C to the fold late last year, I have had to become ruthless in disposing of unnecessary ‘stuff’ and inventive with both space and storage.
Like with most mums, toys are the headache in my day. Up until early this year, Master O’s toys were stored in the lounge room. As we have an open plan living space, this seemed like the best option. There was enough space and he could play in full view while I cooked dinner or got the odd minute or two to sit and relax. I had purchased a few kid’s wheelie bins for his toys that sat under the kitchen bench and they stayed relatively out-of-the-way when not in use.
But the problem with this was, when he wanted a toy that was not sitting in sight, the whole bin was up-ended, sending toys sprawling across the floor. To add to this mess, I was dragging baby toys, mats and bouncers from storage and dumping them in the living room for Master C. The clutter was really doing my head in and I soon realised that an increasingly mobile baby would no doubt find something dangerous amongst the ‘big boy’ toys. A solution had to be found.
We decided to convert our very under-utilised study into a playroom/study. By ridding ourselves of the huge and mostly unused office furniture and downsizing to just a small desk, we had more than enough room to devote to kid’s play.
After a lot of research I decided that the best toy storage to suit us would be the Ikea Trofast range. They come in a variety of finishes, sizes and styles that house either tubs or shelves. I liked the fact that I could separate and group the toys into an appropriate sized tub. This would make them easier to find and clean up.
Before purchasing this, I took stock and organised the toys Master O had accumulated in his short time on earth.
After my boy was asleep one night I began the sorting into 4 piles:
Keep – toys that were in good condition, fiercely loved and good attention grabbers
Store – toys Master O had grown too old for but were in good condition and could be passed onto his little brother in the future. The decision to keep these meant I had to put in place a whole new storage system elsewhere in the house which I will blog about later.
Toss – toys that had seen much better days and were broken or missing important pieces
Donate – toys that were duplicates or ones that just didn’t really interest Master O
Once I was left with one pile of keepers, I was able to sort these toys into groups like blocks, finger puppets, matchbox cars, play dough, puzzles etc. This was invaluable in helping to choose which Trofast unit to buy and then the correct number and size of tubs.
I purchased two multi-level units in white and a combination of large, medium and small tubs. I liked that the units allowed me to display larger toys or more frequently used items on the top and it also gave me a spot to put my printer. I also loved the idea of the tubs being opaque so I couldn’t see the mess inside the drawers.
So, it has been a while since I purchased these units and I am really happy with them. To make them more kid friendly to use, I had considered putting pictures up of the contents on each of the tubs. Tip Junkie had some free printables and a tutorial on how you could make your own, but Master O hasn’t needed it. He remembers where everything goes and I cannot believe how reduced the toy mess has been and how easy it has been to keep tidy and clean. Being a whirlwind type of boy, he is certainly tough on it, pushing and pulling the tubs out roughly and throwing toys back, but they have more than stood up to the test and still look brand new.
I have kept one of his rubbish bins to store his big trucks. Storing these in the Trofast tubs would have been a waste as he likes to play with these all over the house. As the bins are on wheels, he can push the trucks to any spot he desires.
Pop back tomorrow and see the rest of the play room and get some tips on some easy DIY art.