We've lived in our home for just over 2 years and this little play closet has perpetually been on my "to do" list when it came to organizing and setting up a play space that my kids would actually use. It's a unique room that's only 10' x 8' and is actually supposed to be a walk in closet! Our house was built with two master suites, but we didn't have them install the second master closet because our 5 year old clearly didn't have a need for it.
So we had them install some shelving for toys and officially dubbed this the "play closet." Unfortunately, it just became a dumping ground for toys for the next 2 years. It felt like wasted space that wasn't being utilized, so I committed to finally doing something about it! It took a Pillowfort sale at Target and an open Saturday to motivate me to get going.
PLAY CLOSET ORGANIZATION
The first thing I did was purge. I KonMaried at least 25% of the contents of the room. We donated toys and costumes that we don't use anymore and got rid of things that were broken, things that obviously weren't bringing the kids JOY anymore. This step was huge.
From there I focused on the toy storage shelves. I took the dimensions to The Container Store and found clear plastic storage boxes that were just the right size. I've found their brand of plastic storage boxes to be fantastic. They're affordable and come in so many different sizes. After getting boxes to fit our shelves, I determined how many categories I could have. This allowed me to combine or separate items if necessary. Finally, I used simple chalkboard labels to label everything.
I also wanted to create a separate spot for art. In Ollie's room, he has a small table that he's either using for art or Legos. Ultimately I felt that we needed different spaces for the separate activities. I thought this awesome arts and crafts table from the Pillowfort line at Target was perfect. Now his other play table will be Legos ONLY and this is where he can carry out is artistic talents. I also added a few oversized bulletin boards where he can easily pin up his work afterward.
BOTH TODDLER + KID FRIENDLY
One challenge we have in a play area is the age difference between Ollie (6) and Nora (2). They like different toys and play very differently. The toy shelves are great for Ollie as he can easily access them with a step stool, but I needed a toy bin that was easy to reach in for Nora. This bookcase toy box was perfect for her! I keep all of her favorite toys in there and it's the first place she goes before taking them to this super soft and colorful shag rug to play.
I also wanted to create a little reading nook for Ollie. We have a goal for him to read 20 minutes each day and his first-grade teacher suggested designating a spot to do so. This bean bag chair is just his size and a comfy spot to cozy up with his library books for the week. I also picked up these adorable cloud shelves to display some of their books in here.
FOCUS ON FUNCTION
One of my top priorities with this small room was making sure it was functional. When you're working with a pretty tiny space, you're forced to think this way. Before I set out to accomplish the project I knew that the problems I need to solve were toy storage, an area for art, reading nook, and a toddler toy space. Thanks to investing in just a few smart furniture items like the arts + craft desk, the toddler bookcase toy box, and bean bag chair I feel like I was able to accomplish this. Now we just need to get in the habit of remembering that this great space exists! We got used to ignoring it for so long, but now my hope is that it will invite creativity and imaginative play.
While we now have a fantastic play space upstairs, I knew that I needed to get our toys in better shape downstairs as well. The kids spend a lot of time downstairs and our toys had been disorganized for far too long. This affordable toy storage piece has been awesome.
The smaller bins make it easy for Nora to grab one and play independently. Before everything was just shoved into a few big baskets with no organization. This way she can choose to play with her tea set, blocks, or little figures. We've also been using this book storage that is a great way for the kids to actually see the books that they can choose from. I have one side for Nora and one side for Ollie and my goal will be to interchange them so often so that they don't get sick of looking at the same books over and over.
How about you guys? Do you have a good toy system set up in your homes? I'm hoping that because I thought so much about function and how my kids play with their toys that this system will stick! I know I'm happy with the way it looks, I just want to make sure they're happy with the way it allows them to play. Happy organizing!
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