If you have kids of any age, you know they come with stuff. Lots and lots AND LOTS of stuff. This stuff inevitably invades every corner of your home. (I'm not even going to try to address all the kid's stuff in my car or in my purse right now.) Controlling all the kid clutter in a home can be daunting, because to a child, even the toy they haven't played with in months is precious and important. Fortunately, there are some solutions out there to help you deal with all the clutter that accompanies the joys of parenthood.
My family, like many others, spends a great deal of time in the family room. When our kids are there, so are their toys. When the kids leave, somehow their toys remain. More and more storage tables are appearing to help control cluttering living rooms. Cocktail or end tables with built-in spots for baskets are a great solution: you can pull out the basket and walk around the room, tossing in toys along the way. Put the basket back when you're done and no one will know that a pint-sized tornado just blew through the room. Since there are no sharp corners for the toddler to tumble into, storage ottomans are another great solution, particularly for the parents of very young children. Decorative storage boxes or baskets can also be placed under tables that lack built-in storage.
By the Door
A typical morning scene plays out in many homes each day:
MOM: "Get your shoes -- it's time to leave."
KID: "Where are they?"
MOM: "Where did you leave them?"
The word "shoes" in the above dialog could easily be replaced with the word "jacket" or "backpack." Having a designated spot for shoes, jackets and backpacks can easily solve many early morning dramas as they are furiously sought in every corner of the house. There are many great pieces of furniture available now to assist in this organization. A hall tree, coat rack, shelf or a bench near the door can serve as a repository for your kid's stuff. Getting your kids to actually keep their stuff there is another matter.
Modern kids like modern games. Few American homes with kids these days can escape the proliferation of video game systems, cartridges and controllers. What to do with all this stuff can be a problem. Storage of video game components may not be the first thing you think of when shopping for an entertainment center, but many manufacturers are proactive in providing attractive solutions. Integrated controller and cartridge storage can help bring some sanity to the situation. Barring built-in solutions, concealing the clutter in a stylish decorative box can help.
Old fashioned toys and games contribute to clutter in a playroom as well. Lining a wall in the play room with shelves for toys, books and games will help get the clutter out of the way. Modular storage wall systems can be customized to your space and needs with a combination of open shelves, storage cubbies, drawers, benches, and door cabinets.
If you have an aspiring artist in your home, you may want to consider setting up an area where their imagination can run free, without ruining the rest of your home. Project tables, comprised of cubbies and shelves at the ends and a broad work area on top, can help keep all the supplies organized when not in use.
It's important to involve your kids in the decoration and organization of their bedroom. After all, they are the ones who will be spending the most time there. Kids are more likely to keep their room clean and orderly if they feel personally invested in the space. Keep an open mind about their flights of fancy when developing a plan for their room. Even if you can't recreate a rock star stage or a magical fairy garden, these decorating fantasies can inform the more practical choices.
Organizing a collection of toys in your kids' bedroom can help them show off what they've accumulated, and get them excited about how their room looks. Collections create an instant theme for the room. Try running a shelf around the top of the room to hold a stuffed animal collection. The right furniture can help your kid keep their room organized and clutter-free. Storage beds build organization into the base with drawers, baskets, or open shelves in the base. This can be a good solution for small bedrooms by making use of space that would ordinarily be used for dust bunny farms and the occasional errant soccer ball. There is an added benefit to storage beds for younger children - the storage areas are easy to access for kids who still have a lot of growing to do, thus eliminating an excuse for not putting away the laundry.