In the past few days, I've been asked by several of my friends who are also moms if I have any solutions for toy storage. The answer is, sort of.
As any parent knows, the moment you think you are settling into a solid routine with your baby... bam! The routine changes. It's a constant work-in-progress, an ever-changing, ebbing and flowing experiment. They change and grow, we adapt. They change again. We adapt - again. Repeat cycle. That's sort of how I feel about toy storage. As our little petit bebe grows and changes, the way we configure and use our living space grows and changes with her.
Before Ms. Avery Etta was even a glimmer of hope in our eyes, a tiny voice inside my head had already begun to whisper "where will all the toys go?" A bona fide neat freak, I couldn't even begin to comprehend how busy parents kept a handle on the beautiful mess that is parenthood (and all the legos, barbies, crayons, markers, play-dough and finger paints that accompany it!) Add that to living in a city-sized apartment where it is considered fortunate to have a second bedroom and downright luxurious to have a playroom, and you've got a bit of a conundrum.
For me personally, a de-cluttered home is a de-cluttered mind, and a better one to raise my child with. But just because you've got a munchkin (or three!) and you live in a small space doesn't mean you have to let your style and sophistication go, kissing your grown-up (albeit tiny) living space goodbye. Here are some ways I have waged war against the toy takeover.
Since our living room space is relatively small, we try to keep most of the toys (especially the larger ones) in Avery's room. To maximize wall and therefore storage space, I chose a tall cubby style bookcase from West Elm pictured below. This is what it looked like about a year ago.
We use the top half for books and display and the bottom half for canvas bins. I had the bins embroidered with categories that I thought would be useful for all of her baby gear (blankies, bath, supplies, etc.) It worked well for awhile, but as her needs changed and her toys began to accumulate I purchased two more metallic woven baskets made from recycled foil (also from West Elm!). Those metallic bins have proven wonderfully versatile and have now lived in about every room of our apartment. They currently reside in the living room serving as toy storage.
A year later, as Avery stands and takes great joy in yanking out each canvas bin in her nursery and gleefully dumping its contents, we've changed what's stored inside. In my OCD mind, it bugged me that the bins now contained toys instead of what they were originally labeled for. I simply turned them on their sides so the handles now face forward (the easier for Avery to grab them!) The result is a little organized toy center for Avery.
Her stuffed animal friends that used to reside on the top of the shelf have now relocated to another canvas bin from Homegoods (more on that here). Again easier access for playing, and a better "clutter container" :
So, as you can see, I'm a basketcase in the best of ways. I hope you agree. Pretty baskets and a semi-organized system will work wonders in maintaining the toy chaos and avoiding the eyesore.
After Avery is down for the night, I franticly toss the toys in our living room into their pretty little sparkly baskets (while fervently humming the tune to "clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere"). They don't have to be perfectly sorted by type and size, but just out of sight. Then, its grown up time. In the grown up living room.
Keep in mind that nothing kills the mood (or your light grey dhurrie) more than when you are making your way to the sofa with a glass of red in hand and you violently stub your toe on your baby's mammoth excersaucer. You were finally en route to cuddle up with your husband and revel in latest episode of Homeland (in which you would both proceed to instantaneously fall asleep while watching despite war zone level explosions and machine gun fire), and now you're left with a throbbing toe, an empty wineglass and a string of curse words muttered at your children's toys. We've all been there! It's okay. Let's face it, some of the bulkier toys that rival a coin-operated kiddie ride outside a suburban supermarket just don't belong in your city apartment. They're much better off at grandma's.
So, as I said, I sort of have it under control. It's not perfect, but it works for now. And as we have learned from being new parents, for now is good enough.
Below are some beautiful toy storage solutions for small spaces followed by some dreamy playroom inspiration. Sigh... maybe one day! Until then, let's all be happy with our ikea hacks and vibrant imaginations in our cozy little apartments until we can play outside again.
via Playful Learning
via A La Mode Maven
What has been your most victorious battle in the war against clutter?
Now it's time to dream!