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HELP ME! Organizing TOYS in a BASEMENT/PLAYROOM!!!!!!!!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

So we just moved into a new house. We have a huge basement that was carpeted in 70's red and orange with dark brown paneling, drop ceiling with ucky flourecent lighting.....So the carpet was driving me crazy, it made my eyes itch and made me sneeze. So to get it out and put down something more economical than carpet, dh laid huge vinyl tiles....So now there is this huge open basement with bins and random toys all over the floor....Everything is dusty and I am so sick of random bins stacked in corners and up against the walls.......I need some sort of semi-attractive solution. I would love to know what you all do with your basement/playrooms. We are on tight budget. Like I could maybe spend $600 for everything and I would like to include a great big area rug, or those foam puzzle things maybe, for them to play on while they are down there.......I will give an idea of what we are looking at organizing......

1. Toddler boys things....firetrucks, trucks, cars, tools, workbench, blocks, ride on toys, rocking horses (we have 3, may need to minimize!)

2. Big girls stuff....bins of Polly Pockets, Barbies and their clothes, cars and acsessories, dolls, doll clothes, cradles, strollers, art supplies, a million stuffed animals, little plastic houses for different little toys and the characters that go with them, and dress up clothes. 

3. Books

Most all of these items are in non matching baskets and random size bins ranging from quite small to the largest bin you can buy. 

I am totally willing to downsize and donate but I need ideas of what I could buy first......

One more thing, when we ripped up the carpet we also took it off of the stairs. Now I feel like it is so dangerous for the baby(1.5yo) to go up and down with out me. Should I recarpet the stairs even though there is no other carpet anywhere in my house? What could I put at the bottom of the stairs to make a cushy landing in case anyone falls down them?

Thank you for any help or advice. I feel so overwhelmed and irritated because at the mopment the kids can't even go down there because everything is such a mess and dirty to boot......

post #2 of 9

Hmm, how about 1 or 2 of these: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60208648/ You can buy boxes to put in some of the "rooms", too.. If you want to, you can use them as a roomdivider, too.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Yes, I thought of getting a few of these. I have one in the girls room already and it is great for smaller baskets but not good for large bins. so I could get one of these but also need something else for larger items....

post #4 of 9

First of all - declutter! It sounds like you have quite a lot there. It would drive me crazy trying to tidy that everyday. If they genuinely play with everything, I'd do a rotation system and take at least 2/3 out of that room. Keep 2-3 categories per gender out at a time ONLY.


After decluttering set up play sections:

*A reading corner that has a bookshelf with all the books on it, a cozy arm chair or a few bean bags and a soft rug to sit on

*An arts section with a large table and all the supplies handy

*A section with the girls' toys you've decided to keep so the girls have their own space to play and sit

*Ditto for the boys


As the room has four corners, you could put one section in each 'corner'.


A big cozy rug should tie it all in together.


Re: carpet on the stairs - I'd do it. Safety above asthetics, always. I'd put long pile carpet. Bit of a pain in the arse to clean, but often provides the softest landing.




post #5 of 9
We have a few of these in the playroom, http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=bookcase&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=Q4d&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3B:official&prmd=imvns&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1280&bih=589&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=530357766045721997&sa=X&ei=1REcT7zsMdHtrQf1uJCWDQ&ved=0CLwBEPMCMAI and you can adjust the height of the shelves to fit a larger bin. Just have to make sure to anchor them. It's funny because I hate my basement stairs too, but I haven't found a solution. I wouldn't let the little one go up and down without you if they are anything like my basement steps. I have thought about adding treads, but I'm not sure. Our stairs to our second story are carpeting on the flat part but the vertical part is wood. so only the tops are covered. We are looking to rip out carpets too, and I can't figure out if they will look ok if we left them carpeted.

Oh, you might want to avoid the foam tiles. I also have them and later discovered they have a lot of yucky chemicals. Area rugs are your best bet.
post #6 of 9

First I would deep clean the basement.  If its still 'dusty' then the room needs a deep cleaning.

Second I would declutter the toys. Anything with missing parts, broken, or duplicate toys goes.

Third you need SHELVES, not bins.  Things get lost and broken in bins.  Small bins for all of one type of toy works well but huge bins, NOPE.

Fourth, Set the room up in 'stations'.  A book station, a craft station, a cars/truck station etc.


You don't need to do it all at once.  Clean and declutter first.  Then work on creating 'spaces'.

post #7 of 9
I agree about separating the types of toys. I thought it sounded like you've already done that and are just talking about big bins for big things like houses and trucks. But if you have it all mixed, that never did work for us. But a big bin of dolls and doll related stuff, and a big bin of dress-up or a big bin of big trucks would.
post #8 of 9

I'd build a walk-in closet with shelves, and put everything in there. Or, could you build shelves under the stairs?  A big walk-in closet would give you 3 walls, and clear, open organizing, though.


Last year I tried to turn our basement into a playroom, with stations and bins and etc, and it was just always a huge mess.  Everything that could be out was out, and it just got ridiculous so fast.  Then...the kids would clean up and the stuff in all the bins was jumbled.  And it wouldn't be just toys, but wadded up creations from the craft area, and etc.  It was exhausting, and nothing like the cute magazine picture I was envisioning. 


Now, I have the big stuff in bins, and the little stuff in clear plastic drawers (Walmart, $5 each, online, shoebox size).  I can easily pull out just one category of stuff for the kids to use, and easily put it away.  I keep canvas bins to dump the toys from the bin into.  Those fit our decor and can easily be slid under the coffee table, beside the couch...or used as boats in the basement. :)  I have emphasized to the kids that they can get out whatever they want to, I'm not taking the toys away.  But, having a very specific place for each item makes clean up so much faster.  Also, the little ones who don't care what there is to play with are happy with whatever I get out and don't feel the need to get out everything (since they can't see it!).  The big ones know what we have, but are responsible about getting it out/putting it back.  It's a win/win.


So, for budget constraints, I'd just build the closet with shelves, and line up all the bins and big toys on them.  Every now and then the state of the closet will make you want to scream, but as long as you can shove it in and shut the door...the mismatched bins and clutter won't seem to exist.  Then, you could put out bean bags, rugs, decor with furniture, pictures, etc, and not have to worry about making the toys "look good."  At the end of the day, whatever was out goes back in, and the next day the kids start over.  You might even find that you'll get into a routine of setting up something for them to do each night, and they'll play with far less for much longer.  The next night, you'll switch the toys out, and everything will stay neater longer. 

post #9 of 9

Something we did was put down several smaller rugs instead of a large one and created different zones.

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