Anyone who has children or has spent a bit of time around them will know that they come with a lot of stuff! From their clothing and shoes, through to their craft projects and school items, and of course – the toys! Creating a system to organise and store the plethora of stuff that comes with a child (let alone a couple of them!) seems daunting.
However, by following a few simple stages, you can tame the mess in no time, and hopefully, save your unsuspecting feet from the sharp edges of wayward toys strewn around your home.
Implement a system with rules
With kid's storage, there needs to be plenty of it, and it must be age-appropriate – but adding more structure from the outset will ensure your system will stand up to anything your children can throw at it.
First, sort through your children's toys and belongings, getting rid of anything broken, outgrown, or unused. Generally, having fewer toys allows for more creativity, so try and stick to only a few of each 'type,' so your children don't get overwhelmed. Store excess items somewhere else, and change toys out regularly to keep things interesting. Cull toys as your kids grow, implement a 'one in, one out' rule, and when buying new things, look for items that can be used in different ways and will grow with your child.
Ensure that everything has a dedicated home, rather than just toy chests, cupboards, or playrooms where everything gets thrown in together in a big mess. So start to group items by type, and think about what parts of your home they would best be stored in.
And if you can make it stick – try and implement the golden rule of 'you must put a toy or activity away before you get another one out!'
Create zones that work for your family Create functional storage zones within your home, such as storing shoes, coats, and hats together at the front door, or put all sports equipment together in the garage.
Group craft and art supplies together, and store them near the dining room table or office space where they will usually be used, along with school and homework supplies, rather than taking up space in the bedroom.
Promote reading by displaying books prominently but tidily with fun shelves or book rails, or create a cosy reading nook with bean bags, pillows, or a comfy chair.
Also, think about the kids when planning out your own storage. In the kitchen, put plastic or other frequently used children's items down low where kids can reach, and put children's towels and linen on the lowest shelves in cupboards. Use top shelves of wardrobes or high dressers for things like glue, glitter, games with tiny pieces or batteries, or other items that have the potential to make big messes or cause harm.
Use space-saving, kid-friendly storage solutions
With your system and rules in place, and zones decided, add some kid-friendly storage options. Traditional, big toy boxes are really only suitable for items like dress-up clothing or soft toys, but ottomans can provide excellent storage for large bulky items like vehicles, plus double as a seat or play surface.
If you are short on space, use drawers or slide-out trays under the bed, or the walls. Book rails, or hooks, also work well for children as they are often better at putting bags, coats, or dressing gowns on these as opposed to placing items on coat hangers and back into a wardrobe.
For wardrobes, make sure you design your space with a mixture of storage options in mind, as often drawers will work better for children's clothing than hanging space.
For smaller items, get rid of the original packaging, and use baskets, lidded bins, plastic containers, or cubed shelving systems with pull out drawers. Puzzles and games can be moved to sturdy zip lock bags, and if needed, cut out pictures of finished sets, or instruction booklets and store them in the bags or a folder.
Baskets are great as they hold lots of items, kids can grab things easily, they can be moved around the home, and they make clean up super easy.
Small items like lego or blocks can be stored in fabric bags that spread out into a mat, then drawn back up into a bag, making clean up easy, and storage as simple as popping the bag back in a closet or under a bed.
By implementing a system and some rules, creating clever zones, and using space-saving, kid-friendly storage solutions, you can ensure your children have fun, stimulating spaces to play and learn, and that your stress levels are minimised!
If you need advice around creating beautiful play spaces, offices, bedrooms, or wardrobes for your family – whether you are retrofitting an existing space or planning a brand new one – take advantage of a consultation with a design expert at Innovative Interiors. They will work with you to create a customised solution that will suit with the space you have, and what you want from it.