I have set up hundreds of playrooms of the years. And I have noticed a few common themes in regards to why the playroom set up wasn’t working. They are easy fixes that you just need to be aware of before you create a beautiful playroom for your kids!!
1. No Order In The Play Room
The first mistake I see parents make is that there is no order in the play room. When you step into a preschool or elementary classroom, there is an order and system for the space. Kids’ thrive with those guidelines. All folders go here. All books go here. This helps create a plan and allows your kiddos to work on their executive functioning skills like motor planning (first I will do this, then I will do that).
When there isn’t any order, kids are unsure of what to play with, which results in the famous phrase “I’m bored”. Truly they aren’t bored, they just don’t know what to play with.
2. Unclear Where Things Go
Another pitfall parents make is not defining places where things should go when it is time to clean up. Kids’ (and adults) just throw things in bins or under the couch and move onto the next activity. There is no plan for placement of items.
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3. Using Furniture Because It Was Free
This is a big one. Lots of people get hand-me-down furniture when they first start out. But as the kids start to get more and more toys, you need to be mindful of how you store the kids’ toys. Those tilted bins are my least favorite toy organizer because the bins always fall off the tilt and kids have a difficult time putting things back in. Instead, just line the floor with bins. It will make cleaning up much easier than using furniture that isn’t functional. When you are able to, invest in functional toy storage.
4. Toys Stored All Over The House
Instead of storing toys in one area, they are stored all over the house. So when a kiddo wants to play with cars, they can’t find all of them because they are stored in their bedroom, living room, play room, basement, etc. There is one caveat to this, and that is storing specific categories of toys around the house. So all cars can be stored together in one area while all trains are in another.
I recommend storing specific categories of toys around the house when your kids are young. We have all the cars and trucks in our living room because there were hardwood floors, making it easier to play with them in that space. While the play kitchen and play food were in our kitchen because the kids liked playing while I cooked.
5. All The Things Pushed Against Walls
Another problem parents have is
shoving pushing toys against the wall to say the space is clean. The problem with that is it makes it difficult for the kids to take the toys back out. Instead of creating space for all the toys, they are just pushed into a corner. When planning space, make sure you allow each oversized toy to have room for the kids to pull out and put away independently.
6. Not Planning Ahead
You know all those giant toys lined up against the wall?? Well, they go away once the kids get bigger. So instead of planning an entire play room around oversized toys, think of the big picture. Those toys might be there for a few years but then they are gone. I have seen some parents set up a play room around the giant toys and when we take them away there is nothing left in the space because they set it up solely for those toys.
7. Bins Aren’t The Right Size For Toys
Probably my biggest pet peeve is not having bins that are the right size for your kids’ toys. I am talking about those bins that hold like giant toys but end up collecting all the small toys at the bottom. Instead, find bins that fit the size of your kids’ toys.
8. Kids’ Aren’t Responsible For Cleaning Up
Another mistake I see parents making is that their kids never clean up their stuff. Most of the time, it is because the kids don’t know where things go or the playroom isn’t set up where they can access the toys independently. You need to set up your play room that allows your kids the opportunity to clean up by labeling with either words or pictures. Having your kids help set up the space. Making all the bins at their height so they can take toys out independently.
How To Fix It
So how can you fix these mistakes so they aren’t haunting your playroom? First, start by giving everything in the playroom a specific zone. All cars/trucks go in this location, while dolls and accessories go in another. This will help increase the order within your playroom and help define where things should go.
Find bins that are the appropriate size for your toy collection. By finding bins that are the right size for your items, you are reducing the likelihood of things getting misplaced. Because the bins are the correct size for the items, only those items will remain in that bin. Now, when kids put things away, there is always a chance that a loose item will get mixed up. But that is way better than all the toys mixed together.
Plan the room for growth instead of what you have right now. Yes your kiddos are toddlers now, but as they grow, they won’t have as many oversized toys. So find storage options that will grow with your family. You can do this by using my favorite, IKEA Kallax shelves. These shelves are really durable and will grow with your family. Plus you are able to keep all the toys at a level your kids can reach, and add more as the kids grow.
Make sure everything is labeled so your kiddos can put things away. With young kids, picture labels are going to be your best friend. As they get older, adding just text labels will be enough. But make sure all the things are labeled so they know where everything goes without having to ask you! Plus, this is really helpful if you have a nanny/housekeeper/cleaning lady putting away toys as well!
Still struggling with the actual design of the space? Not sure the best bins for your toys? Grab a copy of my playroom design plans. These plans include 3 different room set ups that I have created over the past 6 years of professional organizing. I also included product lists of my favorite playroom items that I know will grow with your family. There is a step-by-step tutorial for how to set up each of the 3 room designs. Plus you get my custom labels!! These plans are perfect for anyone who loves to organize but needs help visualizing how to set things up.