Tell Me About Your Toddler's Room/Play ARea? - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 30 Old 02-23-2006, 12:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know that as a mom I am going to have to deal with this better.... However, I am a minimalist and a neat freak. So, I am trying to figure out how to best organize lil' man's things so that (1) he has easy access to them (2) it is easy to clean for both of us and (3) it utilizes the small space we have the best.

I was reading some Montesorri materiel which discussed having a place for everything and order and how that is beneficial for the child. I am trying to figure out however how exactly that looks like in practice. Today I rearranged the living room and set aside a lil' corner for him, with the bottom shelf of the bookshelf to put his things, a cushion to sit on, his drum set with other instruments, a couple balls, a few cars and his blocks. This seemed to be much more manageable then just throwing everything in a drawer, we will see how it works.

I am looking at organizing his room though. I was thinking of having dh build a short shelf and having a couple of different baskets to put various things in- not to just throw everything together, but have one for play clothes, one for cars etc. However, there are always just those misc toys that I don't know where to put.

Alright I am just rambling. Can other mamas tell me about their set-ups for their toddlers? What do you consider to be must-haves? He really isn't into art type things yet, although will be soon hopefully- he still eats the crayons... oh by the way my lil' guy is 19 mo!

Happily Married to my : 11 yrs- Mama to wild-eyed monkey boy 7-04, fiery little girl 4-07, and the happy smiley baby that sleeps 11-09!
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#2 of 30 Old 02-23-2006, 12:31 AM
 
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I'd love some ideas too!
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#3 of 30 Old 02-23-2006, 01:31 AM
 
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We got two shelf sets from Target pretty cheap. Each one has 9 large cubes (3x3). No toy has a specific place, but there's room for everything so I can get stuff off the floor.

DD also has a large table with some bins on the side of it. We store paper, stickers, etc in and on the table.
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#4 of 30 Old 02-23-2006, 02:42 AM
 
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We have a few toy spots in our house, since ds doesn't have his own room at the moment.

In the living room he has a few storage cubes and we keep things that have sort of a theme in those. One for cars/little people, one for animals, one for musical instraments, etc. We also have a bookshelf for him where the books fit on the shelf so they are facing with the cover out, instead with the covers facing the sides of the bookshelf. It's easier for him to take the books out and put them back himself.

He has a basket of kitchen toys that live in one of our bottom cabinets. Stuffed animals and dolls go in a laundry basket and misc toys either go in another laundry basket or on top of the storage cubes.
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#5 of 30 Old 02-23-2006, 11:14 AM
 
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I'm big on organization, and have a five year old in addition to a two year old. We have a play space downstairs that I keep sparse on purpose-it only has a puppet theater, an easel, a mini trampoline, and one small crate of toys. I used to have many bins of toys in there but the toys kept getting dragged all over the first floor. In my toddlers' room I have wooden toy bins from Company kids, and my five year old has this organizer in her room:

http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html...sin=B0000CEI4L

I think all of the organizers are defective though-the toys just will not stay in them for some reason.
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#6 of 30 Old 02-23-2006, 12:19 PM
 
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In dd's room I have those shelves with staorage cubes that fit on it. We keep the toys in them. I try to keep like toys in the different cubes, but dd just throws them all in and I don't discourage her cleaning attempts.

In the den, I have a storage ottoman for our coffee table. At the end of the day, dd puts away her toys in this ottoman or in her room. It's quick clean up and a way she can help.
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#7 of 30 Old 02-23-2006, 12:58 PM
 
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I have bins for everything and one bin just for those miscellaneous toys that dont fit. And bigger toys go on shelves.
Near the area of the floor with the little people toys there is a low shelf with three canvas drawars (from Target) that has the little people accessories (that never get used, like fences) in one drawer, the people in another drawer and all of the play animals (little people and others) in another drawer.
On top of this shelf is a bucket of dinosaurs. All of the miniature imaginary play items are in this area.
On the other side of the little shelf is another just like it back to back and this one has dress up items in the drawers and there is a mirror on the wall.
We have one of those cheap bin shelves with bins of different sizes and one holds cars, one holds ds's army men, one holds sea animals, one holds ds1's action figures, another ds2's action figures etc. . .
WE have everythign separated out and the kids really love playing in a clean room. THey do make messes but they are learning where things go and how to help clean up.
They get much more good use out of toys when they are grouped together neatly than if they are heaped ina toybox.
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#8 of 30 Old 02-23-2006, 01:16 PM
 
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My boys share a bedroom... the bedroom that is freed up is a playspace.... included in there is our computer and a small futon loveseat.EVERYTHING has a place... set of any toys are either in its own box (securely shutting), basket or bag that hangs from a hook. All of the other toys go in the toybox. All of the small instruments are stored inside a plastic drum with a lid. There is a playtable in here too. Everything is easy to sort quickly and put back in its spot.... and its easy to play with anything because all of the parts are in one spot. We have a catch all nice looking basket in the living room... mostly it has wooden stuff in it, but will catch other toys in clean up. We have a small shelving unit in our kitchen. I put baskets with all of the craft supplies in them. I used a knitting stand.... sort of a fabric box with a wooden frame... to put in various types and colours of paper. They fit perfectly. Everything is always accesable to the boys. There is a caddy that has loose crayons, felt pens, sissors and glue. The boys have acces to all of these things all of the time. There is one basket with smaller craft supplies that are for specific projects ony (if I had any disposible income at all it might be ok to use as many googly eyes as thier heart desired!)
That's our setup.... it works so well when things are organised!

:
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#9 of 30 Old 02-23-2006, 01:26 PM
 
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My new favorite organizer -- Those cheap lingerie/sweater wash bags.

You can see thru the mesh, they zip shut, they hold akward shaped toys, and can hang when you string a ribbon thru them. I bought several (for like $1) in different sizes and made dh put another rack of hooks up, and now Eli can see the toys and ask to get one set down at a time!

We do baskets, totes and such too, and like Joline said, everything gets enjoyed and used more when we keep it all seperated. I even put several collections away in our hall closet and only take out occasionally and then they seem like a treat.
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#10 of 30 Old 02-23-2006, 02:05 PM
 
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i used to be a minimalist, now i have a toddler whos stuff has taken over the house.
he has a huge play room, which is full, people just keep giving us there big toys when there kids grow out of them, although i do tell dh that ds doesnt need a slide and a trike inside the house, even though winter (men )

He has room esp for his train set, as i wanted away from main area as smallish pieces and baby coming home soon. His bedroom also been taken over by cuddly toys, that he suddenly loves. Well he suddenly loves everthing when i try and downsize, and the scary thing is he remembers stuff he hasnt played with in ages when i try and take things away when he napping, he wakes up and the goes looking for it!!!!!

But i try and cope with big plastic tubs, and also those cheap hanging storage things from ikea, great for dinosaurs, toy food, blocks and all the stuff that gets everwhere.

I dont know where i am going to put the baby stuff when he comes next month
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#11 of 30 Old 02-23-2006, 02:10 PM
 
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We have the same organizer as ladylee, only in primary colors. He can pull the bins out and play with them, plus it's easy to chuck stuff back in an open bin.
Our dining room serves as a playroom in the living area, and I bought two other baskets at Target for in there. I can't find them on the Target site, but they're blue, about 20"Lx14"Wx14"H, with yellow wheels and handles. They fit perfectly under our dropleaf table, and my son can pull them out by himself.
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#12 of 30 Old 02-23-2006, 02:28 PM
 
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well our living room is very much toddler-friendly. lol. we have two large bookcases, but one of them is really hers, with one shelf books, the next shelf up is some toys and crayons and paper and chalk, and the third shelf is kind of a catch-all for flash cards and stuff that i still "control" her access to (the box has 5 different sets of flash cards, and if it were up to her, mama would be playing 52x5 card pickup all day long LOL)

we also have a small primary-colored 3 drawer bin thing that holds some of the other toys, like make-believe stuff (princess, hats, scarves, etc) as well as large legos. I use big wicker baskets with liners for her wooden blocks and puzzles.

her play kitchen is in my kitchen, and she has some 3-drawer bins there for her play foods and stuff.

upstairs in her room, i have a child-sized desk with drawers in primary colors, which are filling with more toys, and a fabric type fish-themed box that holds all her little people accessories. her upstairs room is like little people metropolis. LOL. another 3-drawer thing too, for extra toys, and a closet and her dresser and bed (which she still doesn't really sleep in lol)

hth
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#13 of 30 Old 02-23-2006, 05:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladylee

I think all of the organizers are defective though-the toys just will not stay in them for some reason.
: My organizers have the same problem!!

, , , and
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#14 of 30 Old 02-23-2006, 05:44 PM
 
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Since my twin girls were little, we have always used playstands to help organize their toys. They LOVE playing under the rainbow arches and the shelves are good places for giving each toy a "home".

We also use lots of baskets on the shelves...we have a block basket, a playsilk basket, a play food basket, etc. When the girls need to clean up, I give them each a basket and they are responsible for filling their basket with the type of toy that goes in it. We sing "A basket full of ___, I gathered from my playroom floor, tra-la-la-tra-la-la" (I guess you'd really need to hear the tune to make that sound cute... )

Here is a picture of our playroom and some others to maybe give you some ideas!

Dana, mom to Avery & Natalie 7 , Cole 4 , and Baby #4 on the way!
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#15 of 30 Old 02-23-2006, 07:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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oh, thanks so much ladies!!! YOu have really gotten me thinking! Poor dh is going to be busy building I think. I am lucky that lil' man isn't at the age he remembers toys yet, so it is easy to get rid of things! It seems lots of people have little people, he just got a bus and barn for Christmas and just loves them, especially giving them kisses and apparently his farmer is rather benevolent as he was letting the sheep and chicken have his bed

Oh, I just looked at the playstand pictures, that is so unbelievably cool! I wanted him to have some type of fort and that really fits the bill for a lot of things! Dh is going to kill me I am going to have to throw out the bed (he cosleeps anyway)or something to make it fit.

Happily Married to my : 11 yrs- Mama to wild-eyed monkey boy 7-04, fiery little girl 4-07, and the happy smiley baby that sleeps 11-09!
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#16 of 30 Old 02-23-2006, 08:00 PM
 
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Well, we've been in transition a long time now, but we have a house under agreement, so I get to think about this again. The plan to start is to use the dining room which is off the kitchen as a playroom. I plan to keep many of the toys in bins in the basement and keep the playroom fairly sparse. I want to put up some plexiglass mirrors near the floor for them to see themselves in, I also want some sort of magnetic material I can put up for magentic letters nad the like (I love the magnetic letter sets but hate having them in the kitchen, they end up all over and under the fridge, etc)

I also plan to buy an old armoire and paint it fun colors and make that the dress up closet and put all her dress up and pretend play stuff in there.

DD is getting old enough that she remembers toys, but its not like she remembers every toy she's ever had. My plan is to remove toys that I've noticed they haven't played with in a long time and pull out a 'new' one from the cache of toys in the basement whenever they seem to be bored.

Mightymoo - Mom to DD (6) and DS (4)
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#17 of 30 Old 02-23-2006, 08:06 PM
 
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My 16 month ds has to many areas he claims, but they go like this...

Our formal dining room is a study/playroom. My desk is in one corner of the room, his table and chairs his next to it. I will keep arts and crafts in plastic bins with baby proof lids (hoping I can find them) under the table when he starts using them.

Across the room we have a storage cube with 4 cubbys and one base drawer. The cubbys hold baskets that have puzzles in one, soft toys in another, and random small toys in the other two. He can easily get down the bottom two baskets, so I rotate which ones are on the bottom. In the base is his some bigger toys, he doesn't know how to open quite yet, so we play with those together, they are special toys. Between this furniture and the wall there is large stuffed toys! On the floor up against the wall is his keyboard, and two larger baskets with books in one and blocks and legos in the other( he plays with these items the most). On the side wall there is a couple of cars that the family keeps buying my boy. So basically everything is in a spot on the outside of the room. (Cute blue rug in the middle).

His room has a bookcase with special night night books, and one toy that is to big for the playroom in his closet that we get out on special mommy times!

in the living room is his rocking horse and rocking chair! Wow! That is tons... oh yeah in the attic is toys he has outgrown waiting for the new baby... where the heck will that stuff fit? I think I will need another cubby huh?

Busy wife to dh for 5 years and mama to ds1 (11.09.04), ds2 (7.17.06) and ds3 coming Aug 09. :::
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#18 of 30 Old 02-23-2006, 09:49 PM
 
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Hi mamas I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Jori married to dh for about 5 years with 3 of his beautifully little mamas! 9,2,and 2months I am also a neat freak At first I thought that I would just have to get used to cleaning ALL the time because I have kids, however when we bought our first home I found out that now that we have enough room for everything to have a "place" It is much better
I am lucky enough that the girls have a bed room upstairs (although the 2 tiny ones co-sleep with us) and a toy room downstairs. The great thing about our toy room is that I can see them and be close enough to interact with them when they are playing in the toy room from anywhere downstairs!
The toy room also has lots of windows in it and a sliding glass door that leads out onto our deck. I love this because the kids are still Abel to get lots of sun light all winter long, and in the summer we have the deck set up so they can play out side on it and are unable to get off of the deck unless we want them to!
The entire toy room is baby and toddler proff and I have different areas set up music area with various instruments, kitchen and food area,dress up area,puzzles,games,a child size desk with art supply's that do not need to much supervision,the toy box is for stuffed animals only,and I have a few of the organizing bins as well for hard little toys like little people ect....
In the kitchen our 2yr old has her own "junk drawer" so she will stay out of ours that may have potentially dangerous stuff in it.
In the dinning room she has a book area with her books and books on cd with a portable cd player, and a little lounge chair.
In my big upstairs bathroom 2yr old always liked to play in the bottom of my big closet. There are selfs up top but open space in the bottom so she has toys in there to it is kinda like her "secret play area" I think she kinda feels like she is getting away with something' but no harm no fowl it's totally safe
In their bed room this is where they keep doll houses and such not many toys in the bed room. It is the room that stays the cleanest. Since our oldest dd is the one that uses most of this space.
They also have a play area down in the basement next to dads recording studio. This way daddy can work on his music while keeping a close eye on kiddos. Their music stuff usually ends up down there to

Candy apple.....I love the idea about stringing up mesh lingerie bags I use a lot of the mesh containers but I love this idea because they can be picked up and then the kiddos can chose witch (ONE) to have out at a time. I gonna have to try this!
Octobersweethearts............ I love,love,love the toy room beautiful mama!!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamom
i used to be a minimalist, now i have a toddler who's stuff has taken over the house.
Well he suddenly loves ever thing when i try and downsize, and the scary thing is he remembers stuff he hasnt played with in ages when i try and take things away when he napping, he wakes up and the goes looking for it!!!!!
OH MAMA this is my little one too! If I even try to throw away a scrap of paper my dd cuts she will flipp out! She will act like a scrap of paper is a sentimental treasure I can not throw away anything according to her and ya know all those toys you cant categorize I would just like to pitch them and try to as much as I can get away with
Any one have any good tips on how to get toddlers to PICK UP THEIR MESS!!!! I try to make it fun by singing and helping but 2yr. old dd most of the time will just refuse to pick up (unless we say we are going to clean it up with a garbage bag) and that just feels mean Most of the time our 9year old will pick up and the whole time complain about why she has to clean up her sisters mess. I tell her she does not have to and she says if I wanna clean place to play I do! I feel bad about this but I can not always drop everything to help clean.
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#19 of 30 Old 02-24-2006, 01:23 AM
 
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We are in the process of putting together a playroom for DS right now. I am super anal about being organized, I have to admit. I am lazy and just went straight from Pottery Barn Kids, but I think overall they have good organizational ideas that could be copied for a lot less.

We did shelves, with different types of baskets for the small toys, a few big comfy chairs, an art table (I am also dying for the day he stops eating the crayons ), a chalkboard wall, a train table with organizers underneath...I wanted stuff he could grow with (like he can stand and play at the train table, but later we can buy a train set to play with). I also bought some canvas buckets for toys to place around the room and one toy box for some of the bigger things. I am really looking forward to seeing it all come together and hanging out in there with him during the day.

In his room we have the bookshelf filled with books and a big glider for our reading sessions. We don't keep a lot of other toys in there...some stuffed animals, wooden blocks and stacking toys. We mostly do music and books in there. I bought a few baskets for his CDs and blocks, and we do have a table and chairs in there too where he usually plays with the blocks.

Mom to a 6 year old, a 3 year old, and a cuddly little newborn
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#20 of 30 Old 02-24-2006, 01:47 AM
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We used to just throw DS's toys in a box, but he was always digging through it to find what he wanted and every once in a while he would fall in and get mad , plus, it was taking up too much space, so we got a toy organizer that stands against the wall. It holds so much more and DS loves to just walk up and grab what he wants. When DS is down for the night, it's easy for me to just grab everything and throw it into whatever bin it belongs in. You can see part of it in this picture so you know what i'm talking about:

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/tim_sh...e2.jpg&.src=ph

We were crammed into such a tiny space for so long. We got this organizer about 3 weeks before we moved out of my dad's house into our own...with more space than we need...go figure. It's still nice to have though.
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#21 of 30 Old 02-24-2006, 10:02 AM
 
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My toddler is my last child, so I'm really on a mission to get most of my house back from all their stuff! We bought one of those toy organizers from Target that several people have already described: plastic bins on a dowel frame. Originally, I liked putting all the music stuff in the music bin, all the cars in the car bin, etc, but now I just settle for stuff off the floor and in the bins. If I feel motivated, I will reorganize it when they're not around, because I think it makes it easier for them to find things and want to play with them.

When I used to have baskets of stuff, I noticed that they never used them unless they picked off the top. So anything that involved stacks of stuff (e.g. full bin of unrelated toys, toybox, baskets of toys) was just not being used because I think it was overwhelming for them (4 and 2 year old). Also, what REALLY helped was to remove massive quantities of toys and hide them in my closet for later toy rotation. With less toys and less clutter, they were more apt to happily find toys and use them. When there was more stuff, there was also a greater likelihood that someone would simply strew the toys all around and not use them. My 2 yo used to throw the play money from the cash register like confetti so I took most of that away as well and only left a few bills out for the play store.

We do have some of their stuff in other rooms of our house. In our study/computer room, we have a smaller bin system for toys. In the parlor/living room, we have some boxes of Legos kind of pushed in the corner. We took advantage of the train table by putting all the big vehicles underneath it.

We also have playstands and while I LOVE them, I really regret buying a full set. If I could go back in time, I would have simply bought one playstand rather than the two that make the canopy. For one, the full set in canopy formation was HUGE. It didn't really fit anywhere in our house! I had to break them apart into the two sections. Then, with two sections of playstand or two individual playstands, not only did it take up so much room in the house, but the kids didn't use them as much and it also just created more clutter catchers. So, we just kept one downstairs pushed against the wall. That one is the playstore/airplane/bus/fort/planetarium/whatever they decide imaginative unit. I have to actively purge it of clutter periodically, however. Still, they really do love the playstand and have used it a great deal as a prop. If your child loves imaginative play, then the playstand might be really enjoyed. For the second playstand, we found an empy corner upstairs and converted it to a dress-up area. We put their dress-up clothes on hangers and hung them from the playstand dowels and put hats on the playstand shelves.

Good luck!
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#22 of 30 Old 02-24-2006, 10:34 AM
 
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DS has a big rubbermaid tub for blocks and an old cardboard box of little people stuff. The rest of his toys are either in the big frog thing he got from my SIL in his room or in the cabinet of the coffee table. He also has a bookshelf, 2 for books and the bottom is blankets and a giant stuffed Piglet lives in that corner.

The corner between our TV and one of our couches has become home to a little people airport and the aforementioned box of stuff. His baby doll cradle (yes HIS doll cradle, it's handmade and was 12 bucks at the consignment store!! i was NOT leaving that there!) and rocking horse (also wooden, found on a rummage for 2 or 3 bucks) live on the other side of the couch for now, though sometimes they move over by the recliner.

lovin DH since 1/04, best mom for my 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), one 13 wk (10/13) and 5/15 just your average multigenerational living family!!
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#23 of 30 Old 02-24-2006, 10:45 AM
 
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hello! I'm chandi mom of three girls too, nattylocked mama!fun fun fun!
(11,3,10 mo.)
anyway I am in the process of organizing so I am getting lots of good ideas from you all. I originally got my first ideas from threesisitertoys october sweethearts!
So we bought a playstand and some cute pink baskets to line underneath the bottom shelf (they fit perfectly so the shelves up above are free to use) . I wanted to get a free standing, wide low shelf/table to put theyr doll and tree house onto. it seems like its easier for them to play if its off the ground ya know? so we found a coffee table and painted it green (for grass) and painted a small blue spot on it(for the lake ) it works great! and they can store a basket or two underneath for extra palying pieces.
I also took an old wooden plant stand and painted that pink to match their room and turned it into a changing table for their dolls! it works perfectly! It has two shelves and I put one shelf with a basket for cloth doll dipes and clothes for changing and a small basket on top in the corner for the baby cream and brush and stuff,and a little blanket for the baby to lie down on
very cute! needs some ideas for their walls-to get the other toys off the ground and some decorations- thoughts any???
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#24 of 30 Old 02-24-2006, 11:24 AM
 
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We have a really small house, so I try (try) to keep clutter to a minimum by rotating toys so that only some of their stuff is out at any one time. We use baskets - and do follow the "everything has a place and everything in its place" maxim.

I have a corner for music in our living room, a corner for dress-up, a shelf with some toys on it, a basket for stuffed animals and a corner for a play kitchen.

It might be manageble if the dear grandparents would just stop buying them more stuff they don't need.
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#25 of 30 Old 02-24-2006, 04:01 PM
 
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Great ideas, Mamas!

I love the idea of giving one basket or bin and having them pick up one type of toy at a time. That's a great way to teach where things go..thanks so much, that is exactly what I was trying to figure out!

Anyone have a great way to organize all those stuffed animals?? Do you all just throw them in a toy box or is there a better way?

Those playstands are really cool...
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#26 of 30 Old 02-24-2006, 05:16 PM
 
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I have three children and a room that is a playroom downstairs (with a couch and TV for my husband and I in the evenings). We use a Trofast unit with bins from Ikea and a bookshelf for things that won't fit in the bins, like stuffed animals, board games, their big wooden mailbox, etc. Admittedly, we are definitely not minimalists, but we also don't have a billion toys and this keeps them organized well and leaves plenty of room around perimeter of the room and a nice big empty space in the middle for setting up blocks, cars, etc.

In their room they have nothing but books and these are set on top of their dresser. I have a basket stuck out of site in the corner that collects toys brought from the playroom and it is cleaned out when I realize that there are more toys in it than downstairs.

I use a different style of Trofast unit in our kitchen dining area for arts and crafts as this is where we do all our colouring, paint, playdough, etc- at the kitchen table.

Married, part time work from home mom to DS (13 and homeschooling), DD1 (11) and DD2 (9) and a giant dopey newfoundland, a crazy border collie mix, 3 black cats and a cute rat.
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#27 of 30 Old 02-24-2006, 06:28 PM
 
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EnviroBaby has a play area in each of the downstairs rooms:

In the living room, we've used our excess of small tables to block him from getting into the cords behind the TV, so there are 2 tables that he can play on and store toys under. We have a laundry-size wicker basket for misc. toys, a set of toddler Legos in their plastic bin, and a wicker basket w/handle (like an Easter basket) that he can carry around and which is used to store the small toys. Those are the categories I put things in when tidying; if he puts them in different containers I leave them there. His wooden bus full of peg people is generally parked under the table too.

In the dining room, he plays in a corner next to a bookcase of adult books and a table that has a shelf underneath. We used to try to put all toys and books in that area on that shelf but found that he wants to pull EVERYTHING off the shelf and spread it across the floor. A recently-discovered better technique is to put his toys and books in amid and in front of our lower shelves of books for him to discover gradually.

In the kitchen, we keep a big stainless steel mixing bowl on the floor for him to play with, and whatever toys have wandered in there and whatever empty food containers he's befriended get chucked into that bowl when they're in the way.

The toys in his bedroom are kept in the never-used bassinette and handed to him when needed.

Mama to a boy EnviroKid 10 years old and a little girl EnviroBaby !
I write about parenting, environment, cooking, and more.
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#28 of 30 Old 02-25-2006, 05:08 PM
 
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Great ideas! We have a play space off the living room and I found a wooden "cubbies" / bookshelf thing at the place where our local university sells old office equipment FOR CHEAP. It used to be the mailboxes for a department, so there are 20 slots, all about 10 inches across and 4 inches high. We use 5+ slots for the books that are currently favorites and then can put game boxes, wooden puzzles, crates for Doug & Melissa fruit, lacing cards in box, etc in the others. I love it.

Other than that, we have a big bin for miscellaneous stuff (and of course he rarely digs through that) and about 8 plastic boxes with lids from IKEA. One box has blocks, one has legos, one has train equipment, one has costumes, one has paper, paints, and colors, etc. Most of the boxes stay in the closet and we pull them out when he asks for them. OR I will randomly pull one out during nap and leave it to be discovered, especially if it is something he hasn't played with recently.

A friend with boxes like these has put photos of the contents on each box, so dd can pull out the one she wants more easily. This friend also has a rule that there can only be 1 multi-part toy out at a time. I think that keeps things less chaotic, but it doesn't allow for making a lego tunnel and then putting the train tracks and train through it, for example...

Good luck & have fun!
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#29 of 30 Old 02-25-2006, 08:17 PM
 
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I tried to structure our son's play room like a preschool classroom. I ran across a great boook on Montessori/Waldorf classroom setup and got my ideas from it. We've set up zones. I'll try to inventory what we did and approx cost.

Pretend/Life Skills area:
We have an 8x5 area rug in the corner to define the space ($30). There's a vintage wooden play kitchen against the wall (free, it was mine!) that I painted in a distressed Swedish blue and stencil painted flowers in red and yellow to make it look folky, and new knobs, it's super cute for our son. I got a small wooden shelf with pegs ($9) and painted it to match the kitchen and hung on the wall above it. We got a set of children's Fiestaware plates ($14) and some go on the ledge. I bought wooden spoons and threaded matching ribbon through the holes to make a loop so my DS can hang them on the pegs. We have a little small magnet board on the wall beside the kitchen ($6) where DS can play with magnets, put up coupons, pictures, etc like mommy's kitchen. The magnet board is hung very low down at his toddler height, and then above that we have a small round clock for telling time ($7). He has a small set of wooden food ($10) in a little sturdy square wicker basket ($6) that we sit out on the kitchen set. He has a small red checked picnic cloth to put on the floor for picnics and a set of matching cloth napkins ($12 whole set). Then beside the kitchen we have a little doll bed, a baby blanket, two doll, a toy broom (all inexpensive). We have a sweet little framed piece of art hanging on the wall down low beside the doll bed (a $3 kid's art postcard and a $5 frame with mat already in it). For dress up we have costumes, a purse and shoes, a cape, some silks, a small piece of velvet cloth. On the wall we have mounted one of those inexpensive tall narrow mirrors ($7, we already had one though) way down by the floor for his height, and some wooden pegs ($2 each) where he can hang a few of the dress-up clothes. On the floor beside the mirror is a small container-bin ($6) where most of the dress up stuff gets stored. There is also a pretend push-mower in this corner. The rug underneath all this helps the play dishes from breaking and reminds our DS where those toys go.

Art corner:
We have a set of those foam block mats from when DS was crawling ($20 for a 4x6 area). We have those down because they are easy to take apart and rinse off in the tub, to protect the wood floors. I have rinsed off play-doh, fingerpaint, glitter, etc and LOVE those foam squares for this area (and sometimes we pull them to the middle of the room for gymnastics tricks). In this corner we have a small white IKEA bookshelf ($20) for art supplies. I took shoeboxes and covered them with cute wrapping paper to hold: crayons, pipe cleaners, found odds and ends like stray sequins, play dough, etc. I got some of the cardboard magazine holders ($3 each Ikea) and also covered them with colored paper to hold construction paper, art paper, lined writing paper, etc. Old oatmeal containers (also covered in wrapping paper) hold stickers, pom poms, etc. There is a container for everything and empty containers for just-in-case. Decorating the containers is an art-project in itself and shows kids how to recycle. Above the bookshelf for the supplies, we have a big corkboard (it is those adhesive cork tiles, a set for $8 that covers a lot of area) where we have push-pins for artwork to be hung up. On the other wall with some cheap framed ($4) "artwork" from my DS, and we have a kids table and two chairs kinda out in the middle from them.

Reading and Music Nook:
On to corner number #3. Two white Ikea 3-shelf bookshelves ($20 each) butted end to end in the corner. Tons of books on the shelves, then one shelf holds his set of instruments and some little drums. On the top of the left bookshelf we sit some cutesy stuff like picture frames and there's a little blue pail with diaper cream, nail clippers, a comb, toothbrushes, etc in there. On top of the other bookself is a small CD boom box and a stack of kids cd's. In front of the bookshelves we have a beanbag for reading, we toss it out of the way for dancing. On that wall there's a big framed poster of Curious George ($15 poster from some internet site, $10 poster frame from Target).

Manipulatibles:
4th corner. We have a small wooden sensory table we made using a little yard sale coffeetable ($5) with some framing boards added to the sides to make a shallow box, then sanded and painted blue - this is really cute! (You can also just pull the little art table over to this corner and sit a shallow plastic bin on it, or just put a shallow rubbermaid bin on the floor which is what we did before the table was made). The container is good to use because of the lid! We can theoretically fill it with different things - styrofoam packing peanuts, beans, rice, and you can put water in the plastic bins. We like rice, you can get a huge bag at an Asian market for $5 and it's easy to sweep up. We have scoops and sifters and things to mix with. Nothing on the wood floor here, this is the mess zone, so we have a little wastbasket in the corner and a wisk broom/dustpan set hanging on a hook out of hands reach so we can quickly sweep up. We also have a big rattan basket for block building on the floor.

We love this setup. The room looks like a little preschool (as opposed to the dining room it used to be, LOL). The biggest investment were the 3 white Ikea bookshelves that were $20 each - so $60 of "furniture", things brought from other rooms like the rug, and the rest we just worked in as we got them as gifts - the playtable, the easel, the bean bag. And making the sensory table and the play kitchen ourselves saved a lot.

The thing that makes this room the most special, though, is the stuff on the walls. The mirror at kid height, the clock, the cheap frames with his scribblings, and then the "artwork" we got from books (that he'd tore apart, LOL) or from kids museum postcards that we put in frames. This makes the room look really cute.

When DS gets older, we'll turn the sensory table into a science table and in that corner hang some animal/science/planet posters that we rotate out. We'll get a set of little dinosaurs to play with. The sensory table can also be used for Leggos.

Hope I haven't bored you with details. Two mommies....ya know, we really got into the playroom decorating. We looked at the Pottery Barn Kids site a lot and then did stuff ourselves. It really looks cute and very quick to pick up with evertything having its own place. It also helps relatives and friends see what we want DS to play with, so we can say "he needs things for his make-believe box" or his play kitchen, rather than big plastic electronic toys.
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#30 of 30 Old 03-29-2006, 04:31 AM
 
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DD room has a book shelf that I but bigger toys on and next to that is a rack that has plastic bins for smaller toys. I try to keep things seperated like peek a blocks in one bin and food items in another. Dd is only allowed to have toys in the living room during the day and then they are moved back to her room at night.

Kincaid I love the sound of that room...I wish her room was bigger.
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