Actually, the real question is how to organize a playroom so that your kids can help keep it tidy.
Does the playroom in your house look like the local toy store exploded in it? Do you spend more time searching for that tiny figurine that your child MUST have RIGHT NOW than you would like to admit?
Clutter and mess occur everywhere but the playroom seems to be a particular black hole when it comes to tidiness. Like so many other aspects of organizing a house, office or any space, the key is to ‘start as you mean to finish’. That said, when it comes to playrooms, you should probably also limit your expectations on perfection. It will always be a little bit messier than you might like. Learn to breathe through it because it’s one of those things that isn’t worth getting upset about!
Playroom Organization Tips
This post contains affiliate links.
1. Start your playroom organizing from scratch
Starting from scratch is a daunting prospect but if you do, you will have a system that works for the long term, rather than a band aid solution to the toy chaos.
Pull everything out of boxes, shelves and baskets and take this opportunity to get out the big garbage bags / donation bags and sort. You’ll likely find toys that haven’t been played with in years! Basically, you need to decide what to keep, what to trash, what can be donated and what should be stored elsewhere in the house (like the pile of socks I found during my last dump and purge session!)
TIP: Don’t do this with the kids around! They will ‘discover’ so many toys that they haven’t seen in a while, and that they ABSOLUTELY must keep, that you won’t be further ahead at the end of the effort! Instead, look through and decide what they’ve aged beyond, what is too old and ratty to keep and what simply doesn’t get played with and move these items to a hidden area in your home. The furnace room is perfect as most kids don’t like to go in there, but any crawl space will do. If they haven’t mentioned the toy within three months of the bags going into hiding, you can donate / dispose of them without fear of a meltdown.
2. Put like with like
Get the kids involved at this point! You need to make piles: books with books, stuffed animals with stuffed animals, blocks with blocks… you get the picture!
Now that you have a good view of what needs to be stored, and how much of it there is in each category, you can decide how best to do so in a way that makes it possible for even a smaller child to help clean up the space.
3. Playroom storage ideas
Clear plastic bins—these are perfect for small toys and you can buy them by the dozen at the dollar store! Get the ones with lids for blocks, LEGO, figurines, basically anything tiny. Have one bin per type of toy: for example, if you have a child who is into My Little Pony, round up all the fillies and put them in one bin together. Thanks to the clear plastic, your children will be able to see what’s in the bins without tearing them all apart! Obviously, some of the toys will get mixed up over time, but it’s a good start!
Baskets—baskets on shelves or on the floor are great for bigger toys like stuffed animals, pillow animals, blankets, dress up and so on. They keep them handy for tossing all those larger, fluffier items out of the way.
Shelving units—books, bins or baskets of crafting items, paper, and magazines should be sorted and stored on shelves. For one thing, it’s easier to find what you’re looking for and for another, you can give each kid their own shelf or bucket on a shelf to have a craft basket and their books: easy to find and easy to return to the right place!
Hanging baskets that go on the wall—as a change from traditional floating shelves, these can accommodate toys that might fall off of a shelf, like stuffed animals.
A hammock—if floor and shelf space is at a premium, one cute method to store stuffies out of the way is to hang a hammock across a corner of the room. Place it at a height that even the littlest can reach and put animals back or get one out. Another option? An over the door shoe organizer is a fabulous place to store small stuffies, figurines, craft items, cars or other small toys. The clear plastic ones make it easy to see what’s in each pouch!
Hanging sweater organizers—if the playroom has a closet, you can leverage some of that space with hanging sweater organizers, which are just as good for putting toys in. A closet is also a good place to put dress up, and if you can, add in a small chest of drawers or larger bins with lids for toys that are to be kept but aren’t being actively played with.
What about other furnishings?
Luckily, kids don’t need a lot of furniture, but you can definitely add some pieces that will enhance your organization of the space, rather than make it worse:
Seating or tables that double as storage—benches with storage underneath the seat; a trunk style table with a lid that lifts, for more storage. There are lots of ways you can make your furniture pull double duty in the playroom. The only caution here is that heavy lids without a safety catch can be dangerous for small children, who might get their hands, or their heads, caught by a falling lid.
A drawing or play table—find one that has enough space under it to put storage bins or baskets, which will free up some floor space. Putting all the craft items in those bins, if your kids are into that, puts everything they need at their fingertips while still being tidier.
Nesting tables—the kids can pull them out when they need somewhere to draw or put down a cup, but they can also be nested and out of the way when not in use, opening up floor space for play!
Get kids in the habit of picking up
From the moment they’re in preschool or kindergarten, kids are taught to play with one thing and when they’re done, to put it away before they take something else out. While you might not want to be as strict about it in their playroom, it IS a good idea to get the kids in the habit of picking up at the end of a play session.
Whether a playdate is happening, or its just your own kids having fun, stopping play a few minutes early to pick up is a good habit. They’ll moan about it at first, but after a while, it will become second nature.
Start neat and tidy and finish the same way, everyday. You’ll find the kids will be happier in the space and you’ll spend a lot less time looking for the tiny Spiderman figurine that your child won’t go to bed without!
Do you have any organization tips to add?