Design Dilemma: Keeping Kids Toys Under Wraps
Are you sitting next to Winnie-the-Pooh right now? Is your living room rug actually a rubberized mat imprinted with hopscotch blocks?Â Â Are you greeted by toy trucks, doll houses and stuffed animals at the door?
If so, you may be suffering from the common household malady of toy infection. In this widespread affliction, toys rapidly multiply toÂ colonize every angle of a once-adult home. And what happens to style? Well, it kind of goes out the window once the children arrive.
Of course, kids bring joy and pleasure that can’t be matched even by a glass-topped Noguchi table, but even still, wouldn’t be nice to have a semblance of adult style and polish, even with the kids?
Don’t despair, it’s possible. You can love your kids dearly, but it doesn’t mean your livingroom has to be a jumble of high chairs and stuffed toys. The main thing is to establish a specific place for toys that is easily accessible, and yet invisible.Â
Many parents opt for a stylish toy chest dedicated specifically to housing kid stuff. The chest can be a sophisticated-looking trunk, perhaps an Indian, Japanese or Chinese design, or perhaps a sleek or funky storage ottoman. Whatever you choose, keep the storage box easily accessible and right in the room where you most often hang out with the kids. When playtime is over, teach your kids to put their toys back in their toy chest. If a trunk isn’t large enough, you might investigate a free-standing closet or bureau with drawers and shelves for children’s toys.
Another way of getting an upper hand on out-of-control toy clutter is to eliminate some of it. Reduce your child’s number of toys but keep things interesting by organizing toy swaps with other parents who are also trying to reduce clutter. The beauty of a swap is that kids get to try out new and different toys periodically, without toy build-up.
Re-consider the playroom. As more and more families have moved to homes with open floor plans, it’s become a lot harder than it once was to keep kid stuff from taking over. If you have an open floor plan, consider incorporating a play area with sliding panels that can be opened when in use, but otherwise closed off.
Some parents may opt to give their children the master bedroom (usually larger) which can allow enough space for a sizeable play area. Others have happily created a playroom in the basement, allowingÂ kids to transfer all the bulky toys that were once in the living room to their own special area.
Treat children’s art like real art. Instead of tacking up children’s drawings on the refrigerator door, consider creating a serious installation of some of your child’s art in real, carefully considered frames. If you don’t have the wallspace, you can turn your child’s drawings into books by scanning them and sending the digital images to online websites that will make books out of images. Or, you can have a special drawing printed on stretched canvas and hung as a true centerpiece in your home.
Finally, don’t give up the fight. Once you’ve made the decision to reduce kid clutter, the hard part is over.Â Adopt a specific strategy to take back your home, including creating specific places for playthings and toys. Then sit back, relax, and enjoy being an adult again in an adult home.