Monday, April 20, 2015

playroom!


As I mentioned in the house tour post last week, Spring has been all about cleaning and organizing around here. One room that I'm sure drives most people with kids bonkers is the playroom.

I had never given much attention to this room at all since moving in. We are lucky enough to have a very large unneeded "formal" living room at the front of our house that has one doorway and self-contained walls. It is a perfect playroom. If toys start to spill out into the entry, all I have to do is kick them back in. It's far from where we sit down to watch TV or eat dinner, so I don't have to be driven crazy by the clutter, but it's also in sight line from the stove and my desk, and totally within ear shot of everywhere in the house, so the kids are somewhat supervised while in their containment cell.


The kids' kitchen is basically a standard write of passage for the new mom who finds out she's having a girl, right? You go buy a retro pink kitchen...that's what you do. I, of course, immediately decided there wasn't enough counter space, so I added a "counter" using a shelf from Ikea. I sewed a skirt with a tension rod to hide bins of food and dishes underneath (and a basket of puppies just like in 101 Dalmations). The fridge is from Pottery Barn Kids but I scored it on Craigslist for only $25! One of my proudest moments. My children seem to have inherited my lack of enthusiasm for cooking, but they do love to pretend this is a little cafe. We tore apart the Market Day flyer and laminated it (I will laminate anything in my path, hold me back!) to make menus, and I made a coffee house sign in Pic Lab HD (using this method). Oh man I adore their little kitchen!






The milkshake sign and chalkboard are from Hobby Lobby, and the Country Donuts sign was, ahem, cut off the top of a Country Donuts box. I might have a slightly unhealthy obsession with that place. If you can squint and read the menu "specials" that were dictated to me by my 8 year old, you'll probably get a chuckle. China Tea & Donut for $9 anyone?


The other side of the room has a book/ puzzle/ blocks corner. We got mega amounts of cardboard blocks one Christmas and my kids barely touched them for over a year. We had them in the corner in a giant bag for a long time, and finally decided it was time to post them to Craigslist. When we took them all out to count and photograph them for the post, the kids started playing with them. So we stacked them against the wall next to the bookshelf and they've been played with ever since. Figures. Guess out of sight is really out of mind, even with toys. They are easy to re-stack in this nook, but there was no way I could get a picture of them cleaned up.




I often change the assortment of books atop the bookcase just like the library does. My friend Steph wrote a great article about keeping books at eye level and within reach, and I wholeheartedly agree. In fact, all the bookcases in the room are low enough for even the youngest kids to reach the tops of them.


As I photographed the room, my littlest guy went behind (or in front of) me decimating every section.


Let me explain the couch. Someone posted it for free (free!) one day and we jumped on it. It looked charcoal grey in the picture they posted. Well, haha, when my husband came home with a purple couch that --get this-- glows hot pink when the sun hits it, my children were over the moon. Before I could even debate sending it back out the door, it instantly became their favorite toy and almost never has its cushions intact. It is the ultimate fort-building couch. We decided to embrace it- Mom doesn't care about it at all, so yep, go for it. Destroy at will.


I strung a long length of twine across the room to display art projects with clothespins. The one project I have left to tackle in here is the gallery wall above the couch at the far end of the room (opposite the window). I'd love to order a few prints from Minted to mix in with my kids artwork and some family pictures. I got a mat cutter for Christmas, some Canson paper, and a stack of Good Will frames. Now all I need is some TIME. Anyone selling that these days?!


Toy shelves- these are cheapie bookcases from Wal-Mart. I think they were around $18 each. The blue buckets are from Dollar Tree. I wish I had bought more- they're gone now and I'm stalking that place in hopes they'll come back. Can you believe they were only $1 each?!


Clean up has been simplified. I got giant buckets from Target. Small toys go in small buckets, and big toys go in big buckets. The end. I used to be all about separating toys...one bin for Imaginext, one bin for hot wheels...whatever. I've since decided it's way more important to teach kids to clean up their own toys, and trying to follow such a stringent system is a sure way to make them not want to do that. Small toy, small bin. Big toy, big bin. Even the two year old can get that. Anything else can just fit on a shelf - open and within easy reach. Food and dishes go in the kitchen. I don't care where- there are two closed containment units (fridge and sink cabinet) and two open bins behind the curtains.


This system, coupled with removing A LOT of toys from the room (can you believe there used to be more?! What's wrong with the world?!) has made it downright easy to keep clean. Unless they've built an epic fort with an elaborate squirreling system where they've systematically hid every toy in nooks and crannies of the couch connected by tunnels, then clean up is actually possible in less than 5 minutes.* One day I did it alone in 2! (Yes it was a bet, yes I was timed with a stopwatch, and yes, I almost passed out afterwards from the effort). But still.


* It should be noted I didn't say clean-up actually happens in 5 minutes, only that it could happen in 5 minutes. Mostly it takes between 1-2 hours depending on how much whining, stalling, and distracted playing happens along the way. :)

Someday I hope to replace all the trim and paint and get new carpet, but for now it's the room that gets the most abuse in the house and is allowed to be abused. That's the best part of having a playroom, and I'm really grateful for space to give the kids that freedom and a room where they can just be kids.


10 comments :

  1. This is so adorable. Thanks for posting. Hello from Project Inspired.

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  2. I love the whole room! My 3yo would die for the kitchen set up. Stopping by from Lou Lou Girls. Pinned!

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    1. Thanks so much- yes, it's so fun to watch their little imaginations run.

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  3. The entire room is just precious! I absolutely agree with keeping the books at eye level, the kitchen is beyond perfect, and I love the way you strung art across the wall that can be easily traded for new artwork. I recently added a line with clothespins in our playroom for my lil' guy's art and he absolutely loves seeing the new pictures go up! Thank you for sharing at the Home Matters Party. Stop back by this Friday! The Door Opens at 9pm EST.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, now the only problem is I start hoarding the artwork and can't bear to throw it out! :)

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  4. What a cute playroom. And, FYI, your obsession with donuts is adorable. (I totally live vicariously through you, because as of yet there is no gluten free version that even touches the deliciousness of a real donut, so eat on.)

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    1. I'm still waiting on you to invent a delicious gluten-free donut!!! Seriously, you need to!!!

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  5. This looks so incredible! Pinned and tweeted. Please join us on Monday at 7 pm and party with us! It is so super fun to see what you have been working on! Lou Lou Girls

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    1. Thank you so much Kimberly! You girls are so sweet & always so supportive. Thanks for hosting!

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