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Pottery Barn Modern | Baby

Playroom Storage Ideas

Baby gear, toys and games give your family hours of entertainment - but putting them away and keeping them organized can be a huge headache. With the right strategies, however, you can keep your nursery, playroom or kids' rooms neat as a pin and ready for more play.

For most parents, the best solution is to have kids clean up (or to help kids clean up) as soon as playtime is over. Like all other aspects of parenting, though, not everything goes by the book. You can make things simpler by dividing your storage system according to the type of toy, game or activity it's designed to hold. Set aside one basket or a lidded hamper for stuffed animals, one bin for toy vehicles, and another for coloring books and crayons (and give the crayons their own closeable container, as well). Always keep one basket for miscellaneous items that don't fit neatly into one category. Labeling the bins or baskets is ideal; you can use picture cut-outs for younger kids and written labels for older ones.

Investing in a bookshelf can make a huge difference in your kids' playroom, too. Try one that displays book covers instead of just spines; that way, your child can choose his or her favorite book and remember exactly where it goes more easily.

Collapsible storage bins are ideal for toys and books that come out frequently, while standard toy chests, baskets and bins are perfect for large numbers of toys, activities and games that don't ever all come out at once.

Playroom Hacks to Keep Things Neat

If the floor is always covered with toys, there may be too many toys out at once. Use a storage bin you can put on a closet shelf to rotate toys in and out, which serves a bonus purpose: It's like having new toys every week.

Encourage your kids to clean up as they go. You can start by watching when your children stop playing with one group of toys and start with another. Gently mention that to take care of the toys and keep more play space available, it's a good idea to pick up the toys they're not using at the moment. (The key is to show them the benefit of picking up unused toys: they'll have more room to play.)

How to Keep Cleaning Up Fun

We've all been there - it's time to clean up for the day, but your child disagrees. By making clean-up a more fun process (and reminding your child that there will be more room for play tomorrow), you can de-stress the entire experience for everyone involved. It's important that you have realistic expectations for your child's age and maturity level, but other than that, you can all have fun picking up the playroom.

Remember:

  • Be specific about what you need your child to do
  • Make sure enough storage space and bins are available
  • Showing appreciation and telling them when they've done well goes a long way toward keeping things neat in the future

The Color Game

Ask your kids to pick up every toy of a certain color and put it in its place. You can pick up whatever you'd like, but keep children focused on the task by switching things up quickly. Tell them you'll call out a color and pick a new color at random. The rules are that kids must drop off toys of the previous color as soon as you call out a new color (and you can even make it a race). Switch colors before all the first color's toys are picked up and you and your kids will have a blast.

Play Make-Believe

Create a scenario in which your child owns a cleaning company. You can work together to pretend you're cleaning pros - or you can pretend you're cleaning up because a princess, a superhero or sports star is popping in for a visit. You can all pretend to be robots, Cinderella, aliens on a foreign planet, or anyone else to get (and keep) your kids motivated.

Get Your Groove On

Play your child's favorite song and give him or her the task of having all the books, cars or dolls picked up before it's over. Take a dance break if they finish before time's up, and start a new song and a new task when the first song ends. Repeat until the whole room's done.

With the right tools and the right mindset, you can help your kids keep their playroom, nursery or bedrooms neat between playtimes - and save yourself plenty of stress in the process.

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