Showing as many houses as I do (for sale or rent), if there are children in the family, the conversation eventually comes to…..”we can use this room as the playroom.” It always surprises me as to what rooms are designated for a play or flex space for the children. I have seen formal dining rooms turned into playrooms simply because of the close proximity to the kitchen where Mom spends most of her time. I also have seen 3rd floor loft space designated for this distinction simply due to the fact that it is FAR AWAY from Mom and Dad. The rest of the house can be neat as a pin…..the kitchen is in order….the beds stay made most of the time……the living room remains inviting for drop-by visits, but somehow the playroom is the complete wreck of the house, confusing and messy enough to get lost in. Here are some secrets to getting that playroom under control!!

Begin to eliminate!! Keep, donate or trash. The toys that are broken, throw away without question. A toy that never held the interest of your child needs to be given away. Bath toys, clothing, the stolen remote control, or outdoors toys need to be put back in their proper places. If something is being held on to simply for nostalgia, like little Johnny’s very first teddy bear, create a memory box or a special shelf for that item. Next, ask yourself which toys your kids no longer play with. Which toys does my child gravitate towards and which toys does my child get bored with? Maybe not everything should be given away, but consider rotating the play things to create fresh interest. For the things that you do keep, place them in containers and label them accordingly. For those with toddlers in the home, not only include the word, but the picture of the item too. This serves a dual purpose of word recognition and getting toys back to the right spot!

How many times have you stepped with bare feet on a LEGO or a game board piece laying on the floor? Ouch!  For lost puzzle pieces, try framing the box cover and storing the puzzle pieces on the back of the frame. This serves as both decor and a practical way to keep it all together and up off the floor. For games, take them out of the box and store them in identical, easily stackable containers. Keep puzzles and board games out of reach, so you can keep track of what is being used.  You can also keep containers under a bed after use. A bench with cube storage can be great as a reading nook, and even double as a bookshelf. A small ottoman that your child can sit on also has room for toy storage that will help contain the mess that no one will know is there…….except you!