Sunday, August 11, 2013

organising our play spaces

Hi everyone!

Following on from a previous post where I shared our play spaces as I received a lot of questions about how we organise things so I thought I'd do up a whole post with lots of answers! If you missed the post about our play spaces you can check it out here

This ended up being a HUGE post - hope you don't mind and that I've answered most of the questions I received! If I missed yours or if you have a question I haven't answered feel free!!


Where are the baskets in your playroom expedit from? Do they last long?
The blue boxes are IKEA Drona boxes, they are relatively new to our playroom {I have been waiting for a colour I liked!} so not sure how well they will hold up as we've only had ours for nearly 2 months but their price is pretty good compared to a lot of other options out there for an expedit! 
The other baskets are IKEA Branas baskets and a lot of them we have had for about 6 years! They were looking very ordinary which is why I replaced quite a few of them with the Drona boxes and to be honest, the Drona's hold much more than the Branas do and are they are gentler on the actual expedit unit itself, too. We also have some small Branas baskets and some half size branas baskets from IKEA though I don't know if they are still available as they are a few years old.
The white tub looking ones are IKEA Trofast tubs. They don't fit exactly in the expedit but before we had the Drona boxes I used these tubs for lego and heavy toys like blocks etc. 
We also have some fabric polka dot baskets from Target in the expedit.


Do your kids have much stuff in their rooms?
Not really. The kids have lots of books in their rooms as well as their stuffed animals but very minimal toys. 
We recently changed Noah's room a little and sold the expedit that was in here to make room for a desk and cupboard with book shelf. This is where we store most of his books, though in the cupboard we are storing some of the bigger, bulkier books too. Also in the cupboard we store things like his tag reader and those associated books and maps as well as a box for his drawings or paper creations he is still working on. In the cupboard he also has a box of stuffed animals.

In Chloe's room it's pretty similar. Lots of books in here and in the two pink baskets we have her tag reader and associated books in one and stuffed animals in the other. She does have some toys in the little suitcases and the pram lives in here but otherwise the majority of their toys are not stored in their bedrooms. 


Where do you store your kids books?
Mostly in their rooms {see photos above} but we also have an awesome sling bookshelf in the playroom {for our current favourites} and a basket in our living room for reading in the morning or if we're doing a 'theme' and I've collected books according to that theme such as Christmas books at Christmas time, Father's day books, weather books etc.


Where do you store dolls?
Currently Chloe only has one doll which is an old cabbage patch doll of Noah's. He lives in the baby doll pram toy we have {see above}. We have some Bit Of Whimsy dolls too but as they are softies they usually live on the bed. Clothes for the cabbage patch doll and the Bit of Whimsy dolls are stored in Chloe's room in a basket that also has some of her extra stuffed animals. 
We don't yet have other kinds of dolls like barbies etc.



How do you manage the small things like doll dresses, animals, puzzles and action figures etc?

We have a lot of animals and puzzles at our house. All our wooden anamalz are stored in a basket of their own.

And all our small plastic animals are stored in their own basket too. I used to try and keep these in separate bags of 'wild animals', 'insects', 'farm animals' etc but the reality is my kids like to play with them ALL at the same time so it just was becoming frustrating for them and for me so now we just store them all in here and rummage through to find the ones we want {ie for just general play or for a sensory tub etc}

Puzzles I store in bags to make life easier, these are mesh wash bags from IKEA {I use them for EVERYTHING} and are awesome as they fit those usual A4-ish sized board puzzles in them plus all their little pieces. We just grab a bag and play with the puzzle, then when we're done, shove it all back in the bag and grab another and keep going. 

Then they are all stored in this tub at the bottom of our trofast unit so they're nice and easy to get to. We do keep some other toys on the shelf here too.

For other small stuff like jumping frogs, peg art boards, marbles, etc I store them all like this in a large box. I have also been storing things like our alphabet fishing game, the quiet book etc up here as they are mostly things that are education and / or need supervision or for us to do them together. These are up on a top shelf of the expedit as there are a lot of small pieces in here. My kids can reach but at least if we have little kids visiting or when baby is crawling around I know it's up nice and high.



Where did you buy your kitchen and fruit and veg stand? 
What age did you find this appropriate? 
How do you store the play food and utensils?
The kitchen is an IKEA Duktig kitchen which we bought a couple of years ago after the kids outgrew the smaller kitchen my hubby had built for Noah {as we couldn't find a gender neutral kitchen for Noah when he was little!} 

The fruit and veg stand is a Le Toy Van Honeybee Market. It came with one crate filled with apples and pears, the other crates we have are Fun Factory and came in a set and then there are some other random wooden food pieces from here and there added. Le Toy Van do make other crate sets to suit the market but we already had the Fun Factory ones so I didn't add anymore to our collection.

I found that from a very early age my kids have enjoyed playing with kitchen toys so as long as they are age appropriate {ie no small pieces} then I would say from 18 months etc they might like to bang on pots and pans and just play with food. We also have a picnic basket filled with soft felt food from IKEA {I promise I don't have shares in IKEA!!} that my daughter received for her first birthday and these have been great! 

I store all the food and utensils that are kitchen related right here. We use the 'fridge' and 'oven' sections for storage of their wooden pizza, cake, juice, jam, cupcakes etc. Pots and pans are kept in a basket and utensils etc are stored in the oval tin on the shelf below the marke. Everything is right here which makes it easy to pack away when we're done. 



How do you store the big stuff like duplo, lego, train sets, blocks
Again I store most of all these kinds of toys in the boxes and baskets in the expedit. I have found for our family that this is the best way for us to store these kinds of toys because pack up is easy as the kids just need to dump all the blocks back in the box or all the train track back in the box. 


We keep all our cars and trucks in just one large box. Often the kids will have the blocks and cars out at the same time so they can build roads and cities etc. Then at pack up time it means they just need to pop the toys away in their boxes - nice and easy.


We LOVE duplo at our house and it all just gets stored in these boxes.


Noah is absolutely lego mad and loves loves loves to build things with it. And as much as I would LOVE to organise his lego and separate it by colour that's just not how he plays with it at this stage. He likes the big box full and also likes that packing away at the end of the day involves him dumping all the pieces he took out back in there so at this stage this is how we store our Lego. I have to be practical in that he is the one who plays with it and he is the one that packs it away so the way we store it needs to suit him.


We also have these large trofast tubs for the big toys or large collections of toys such as mobilo and log blocks.


And our train sets get stored like this - all the track in one box and the trains and buildings, bridges or tunnels in another.




How do you store all the dollhouse stuff??


I would love dollhouse to look super cute every time you opened it, with everything in it's place but being practical here, my 3 year old doesn't play with her doll house like that. She loves her house, but likes to lay out all the furniture on the floor outside of the house when she plays. So I keep the dollhouse on the floor for her so she can reach it easily. She can reach the little bus and car on the shelf too and just above them is this basket {pictured below} full of dolls and furniture. 
 I just store the dollhouse stuff like this as it's nice and easy for her to find what she's looking for and to pack away at the end of the day.




What kind of toys do your kids play with?
I am wondering if you cull regularly or prefer the kiddos to have fewer toys?
You don't seem to have A LOT of toys? 
How do you manage what comes IN to your play spaces? ie gifts and hand me downs. How do you clear the clutter?

In addition to the toys I have shown above, my kids also have play fabrics so they can use them for imaginary play.

 And a box full of instruments and ribbon dance rings and streamers.

And a box full of dress up stuff.

Some other toys my kids have are small toy collections like a wooden car set, a crane set with construction vehicles, wooden dollhouse playground, k'nex, tool sets, puppets and meccano and automoblox. We also have some bean bags, shape sorter, board games etc.
We also have one box of miscellaneous stuff! It's stuff that doesn't really have a 'home' or a 'collection' to keep with it, but that my kids enjoy or love to play with like a Leap Frog dinosaur that sings the alphabet or the etch-e-sketch or toys that my kids might have been given as a gift. 
They also really love to read and draw and paint and play with playdough and colour in and our sensory tubs are great fun for play too. 

As for managing what comes into our play spaces in the way of gifts or hand me downs, I guess I am lucky in that my kids always receive really great gifts that are either additions to collections we already have {like more lego or duplo} or are books, clothes, movies etc. If they are given something that we don't yet have a place for in our home, it usually is stored in the misc box for a while, until it either is outgrown or we find that they love that particular toy and we add to the collection over time and we therefore dedicate a storage box to it. 

As for the clutter, or things like the cardboard robot made at school or the endless creations my kids make at home with paper and glue and such, I am also 'lucky' that we don't end up usually having to 'store' these things for very long because my kids play play play with their creations until they are normally ruined. And then they understand that the pieces need to go in the bin. Some things are very precious to them, so if we can we might display for a while until they are 'over it' as they have a new favourite. Often we take photos of their creations and my kids find that is sometimes enough and are happy to let go of something after we've taken a photo. 
I also explain to them that we can't keep everything as we don't have the room so often will give them a time line like "in 2 weeks we'll go through all of this and we will keep some and get rid of some" and they're usually pretty good about that :o}

As for if my kids have a lot of toys - well I don't really know. To me they have a lot of toys!! But I do try to keep our toy level manageable. 



Where do you store your kids artwork when it's not out on display?
On top of the left hand side trofast unit in our playroom is a basket, all artwork that comes home goes in here if it doesn't get displayed straight away {I will do a post on all the ways we display artwork in our home soon!}
Once artwork has been on display a while and it's replaced with something newer, it is either kept as is or is photographed and then recycled or just recycled. I just can't keep everything and also don't think we need a record of every single item they ever make. So if it's really special we keep it, if it's cute or too large to keep or they want a photo of them holding what they've made, we photograph it. 
If it was really just a scribble but they loved it for a day, I am ok to let it go without doing either. 
If the artwork has gone to the 'keep' stage I have a box in our study that it is stored in until I get to putting them in the kids art books or scrapbook albums. If it gets to the 'photograph' stage then the photo sits on the computer until I print it and put it in their scrapbook album. I am realllly behind on their scrapbook albums but hopefully one day I'll catch up and share with you.


Where did you get your art display wire from?
Our art display wires are from Ikea again. Often people can't find it so here is the direct link.



How do you store your playdoh and craft supplies?
Oh craft supplies. Seriously a whole 'nother post! Just quickly though, I keep our playdough in a plastic food storage tub {we make our own so keep it in there for a little while until it's time to make some new playdough} in a larger tub {see tubs in the above photo} with all the playdough bits and pieces like rolling pin and cookie cutters.

This is a quick look at my current craft cupboard for the kids - see our old one here. Since we recently switched our whole house around I now keep the craft supplies in the office and use these awesome storage containers. They are my favourite - I have shared my love for them before in my laundry organisation post here. Sadly they are discontinued where I originally bought a heap of them from but they can still be bought from Howards Storage World - they are called Mimi Separators {funny name I know} - I am in need of another for my bottom shelf in the cupboard as you can see above haha. I love them because they're deep and can fit a lot in. They also fit really well in my storage in our home, whether it be the built in linen cupboard or these Ikea Besta units we have.

Our craft stuff really needs a re-organise but it ended up being one of those things on my super long 'nesting' list that I had to put aside.


Do you have a plastic tablecloth on the craft table?
Yes I recently added a plastic tablecloth to the craft table and I am loving it! It is just some pvc sheet from spotlight held in place by some adhesive tabs. I still use the Ikea desk pads on top as well.


How do you store the kids ride ons and push toys?
We don't have a lot of these, but do have a pram which is kept in Chloe's room as well as a cute ladybug wheelie bug which is small enough to just tuck away. 


How do you store toys you want to keep for the next baby?
Before falling pregnant with baby3 we actually donated all our baby toys! So now we don't have any really but when I kept toys for Chloe after Noah had grown out of them I just kept a simple tub under the cot and would pop toys in there. Any large toys were stored in the top of the wardrobe.


Do you have a separate study / spare room? How do you decide if you need an enclosed playroom? We currently have the toys in the kids rooms and main living areas and have been wondering whether to move my desk to the bedroom so we can use the study as a playroom. 
I think it's really a personal choice as to whether you change a study into a playroom. There are lots of things to consider there - like if you'll be happy with your computer/desk in the bedroom? And if your kids will actually use the dedicated playroom to play or will it end up just being a place to store toys? And if it ends up being a place just to store toys, are you happy with that? 
My kids like to play near where we are, so for example our study/guest room which is at the front of the house {supposed to be a 'theatre room' but we don't use it as such} wouldn't be a great playroom as it's not as close and my kids would just end up bringing everything out of it all the time.




I hope that helps and that I've gotten to all of the questions you all left! I'm sorry if I missed any - let me know! :o}


xx!


Photobucket

8 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this! Love all of your home organisation entries. I am in the midst of creating spaces at the moment amongst renovating our home. Lots to do but you give me much more inspiration!
    Cat xox

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Bianca, thanks for sharing! Im always interested in how other people organise their kids toys! We're quite similar in the way we store toys but I do like the mesh bag puzzle idea.

    ReplyDelete
  3. WOW! Thank you so much this is a great post and so great to see more details!
    I for one don't think your kids have a lot of toys (compared to my kids) but I think that might be one of our issues here! Too much stuff! They hardly play with half of it! Thanks for the motivation!! xAnne

    ReplyDelete
  4. Beautiful post, just makes me want to play! All the best for the arrival of the new baby!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have those blue tubs from ikea for the bookshelf, we have them in pink. We've had ours now for probably two years. They're good.
    As they're fabric they will hold marks from grubby hands. but if they play with clean hands you shouldn't have a problem.
    lots of great ideas here.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow this is great! Thanks for sharing. Can I ask where you got that pink wire basket holding books in your daughter's room please? I've been trying to find one like that. Thanks!

    Serene

    ReplyDelete
  7. How is the fabric storage cube box coping with the wooden thomas train set? Our toys have been in a Lekman for 6 years and they haven't stood the test of time. Each Lekman box has cracks and is taped up with fabric reinforced tape but this week a box completely gave way and no amount of tape is going to help, so I need to replace them. They other storage options for the Expedit don't seem sturdy enough for the amount of use they receive (full boxes, constant daily use). I'm particularly wary of the train set because it is heavy and full. Are your trains still in the same place and how are you finding it?
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Leah
      The fabric storage cubes are doing ok! But they have a bit of a cardboard bit in their sides which I am finding bends a little out of shape with the constant taking out and pushing in of the boxes - not too much of an issue and not terribly noticeable and to be expected with something so flimsy but otherwise it holds up quite well, the train track in particular is very heavy! I think for the price I am very very happy :)

      Delete

i would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a message :o}

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Share