Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Better Playroom!

Hey everybody! Welcome back to another blog from me, Evelyn Cucchiara of The Hopeful Life. My goal is to make your life easier. Better, more fun. All that stuff.

Speaking of stuff - raise your hand if you’re drowning in stuff. Yup, I bet your hand is raised. Stuff seems to creep up when you’re not looking, and if you don’t do something to tame it, before you know it, it’s taken over your life. Or your child’s life. 

Which brings us to today’s topic. Playrooms.

Doesn’t it seem like there’s never any playing going on in there? Time to take it back, make it simple, and make it work. Here are the easy ways to do just that......

Let’s Put The Play Back in Playroom!

I bet your playroom is a mess right now. Time to end that. You’re going to make the playroom work for you, not against you. It’s time to put a bit of structure in there. 

Otherwise, you might as well call it what it really is – a giant closet.

Just adding or subtracting a few things will make a world of difference. The playroom will suddenly become a place that the kids actually want to play in. And it will almost clean itself! (I’m not kidding.)

Here are the super secret shortcuts:

  1. Install an entire wall of cubbies. Shelves will work, but cubbies work better. Easy & cheap wire cubbies work great, and you can get them at Costco or any big box store. They come in flat square grids, and you bang them together with a rubber mallet. Best part, you can do it yourself without waiting for someone help. Buy as many as you think you will need, then buy more. The goal is to get an entire wall covered, floor to ceiling. The beauty of these is that they are easy to move around – and collect NO DUST!

  1. Big toys – put one in each cubbie. And label them by taking a photo of the toy, punch holes in the photo & use paperclips to hang the picture on the cubbie. This way your kids and any guests know where everything goes. As the kids get older, swap out the photos with names of the toys to help build reading skills.

  1. Small toys – put like with like. A plastic bin of blocks, a plastic bin of people. Put one bin per cubbie, and be sure the bin fills up the entire cubbie. Ikea makes some good-sized ones. Put picture labels on the cubbies also.

  1. Get a large wood box for big, awkward things, like Nerf guns. Then put wheels on the bottom of the box so it can be easily rolled out-of-the-way if you need to store it in front of something like a closet. Ikea again for this one.

  1. ONLY PUT ONE TOY OR BIN IN EACH CUBBIE! If you have too many toys and not enough cubbies – rotate the toys. Pack up whatever doesn’t fit, put into deep storage, and 6 months from now bring them out. It will be like Christmas all over again for your kids. Put the previously stored toys out, pack the old ones up into deep storage. There’s no reason that all the toys need to be out at the same time. It’s confusing for the kids and just makes a bigger mess.

  1. Get a drop leaf table for when you need table space for puzzles, etc. Fold it up when you need it, fold it down when you don’t.

  1. Get a tall laundry basket, box, something that you can put stick type toys into – hobby horses, extra long Nerf guns, swords etc. into. Put this in a corner so it’s easily accessible, but out-of-the-way.

The idea is to make it fun for the kids to put stuff away. If each toy has a designated home, it’s easy to put back. No time is spent looking for an empty place to put it. Make it a game. Set a timer for 5 minutes and see how many things can be put away! I’m a big fan of the photo/names of the toys as a label, and labels on the cubbies. Works like a charm!

Do you know one of the basic rules for keeping a place neat and organized? Make it harder to get something out then to put away. When your child wants a particular toy, they’re motivated to work a bit to get it. When they are done with it, all motivation is gone, so you have to make it really easy to put it away. So, no lids, no covers, just big bins/baskets that pieces can be tossed into.

Make the playroom easy for the kids to use, and you all win!

In case you ended up here in some back door way, and you’re not already a fan, I’m Evelyn Cucchiara from The Hopeful Life - showing you shortcuts to make your life happy, organized, peaceful, efficient & full of fun. And save you tons of time to boot. Hop over to my site and grab a free gift to make your life easier! Just click here!

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