Hands up if you’ve found yourself drowning in a sea of toys, books and never ending baby / toddler equipment! That was me when we moved into our new home in April this year. Although we moved into a bigger house, we just found ourselves thinking ‘Oh my gosh where are we going to put all of this?’ – particularly with Maddie’s goodies.
I personally love having a separate area for play time – that is not in her bedroom. I like to keep Maddie’s room a place for peace, quiet and calm – its her sanctuary where she sleeps, feeds from me and a place she changes nappies and clothing. A play area in my opinion is what a living area is to us in our home. A place that is central, open and where the family are the most.
A huge draw card in our new home was this area underneath our stairs. Lets admit – we have all seen the 27 genius ways to use the space under your stairs AND my worst – the 100 amazing (impractical) playrooms which just look too perfect for words on Pinterest! Minimalistic with one floating shelf with three books and a table and chair. Okay so does this kid not PLAY?
I have said it before in previous blog posts, I LOVE TOYS! I think they are so crucially important in the development and stimulation of our kids. I can guarantee you – none of us moms have that impractical ‘perfect’ playroom – we have tubs of toys and books that our kids LOVE digging through and playing with.
So my BIIIG challenge was to:
A. Organise the chaos that was tucked under my stairs. Trust me when I say everything was pilled on top of each other and what caused me to want to make a change was the fact that Maddie couldn’t get to any of her toys which is totally pointless.
B. Do it on an affordable budget! This meant trolling the internet on sites like Gumtree and the Facebook second hand sites and finding second hand furniture pieces I could use at bargain prices.
Two weeks later this is the result… Bright! Playful! Inviting! PRACTICAL and under R1000! Yup! Every piece of furniture other than the dolls cot, the little pink couch and the table and chair, was bought second hand and up-cycled with a new coat of PINK paint – cause it’s oh-so-girly!
The book shelf cost me R250, the toy box cost me R150 and toy storage shelf cost me R350 (all three second hand) and the 1L tub of paint cost me R250 from Shave Paint & Decor.
I thought I would share some tips on how to better organise the space you have in your home cause this little area is believe it or not – in our lounge! Hence one of the many reasons I needed this area to be neat and manageable without being perfect and of course look beautiful when we have guests over.
So here are my top tips to hopefully practically help you:
- Dedicate a decent size area to simply allow your toddler to call his or her own.
- Spread out rather than pack on top. Ensure your toddler can easily access any toy at any given time. When things are piled on top of each other it is so hard for them to swim through a sea of toys to get to the one they want.
- Invest in shelving. A good old fashion book shelf is all you need! I have seen some amazing custom made shelves that are longer than they are high to allow for more toys to be spread out rather than packed high making them unreachable.
- Use baskets or plastic containers and categorise the toys into their own container. Lego in one box, tea set in another, musical instruments in one and blocks in another. This will allow your toddler to take the box off the shelf of the toys he or her want to play with and place it on their little mat or table and chair and play with those toys. It also helps with tidying up!
- Invest in a toy box for the larger toys. Some of the electronic toys on the market can be quite large and often take up a lot of room on the floor or on the toy shelf so these can be packed away in the toy box when not in use. I’d suggest only selecting two or three of your toddler’s favourite toys to be displayed on your toy shelf/ book shelf and even swopping them every month so that new toys are placed on the shelf.
- Include a couch or chair or even a chair and table set for reading books or eating dinner. We purchased Maddie a table and chair set from Mistrys Furniture for her first birthday and she adores her little set. We plan on eventually purchasing the full set of chairs when she is slightly older and wants to invite her teddies over for tea. She eats her lunch and dinner there, loves colouring in there, plays tea parties, reads books and does puzzles on the table. It’s her special place.
- Use a basket to store your long push toys, hobby horses and toddler play brooms. These can be awkward items to store but look so presentable when placed in a pretty basket and again, is easily accessible for your toddler to choose from when they want to play.
- Decorate by up-cycling and giving the area (be it a wall or a shelf) a coat of colourful paint. It will truly make the area pop and put a pretty picture on the wall or even stick on decals which are super affordable and are so easy to do!
- Create an area that will grow with your child and rather invest in pieces that will remain in the area for years while other things can be removed and replaced. For example we are wanting to get Maddie a wooden kitchen set for Christmas. This would easily add to this room, while as she grows up and out of her couch or doll’s cot, these can be removed easily without me having to redo the room.
- Add something SPECIAL! For me this was the most amazing gift from Giggle & Beans. A brand new online boutique store that stock the most stylish baby wearing wraps and baby shower gifts as well as THE MOST BEAUTIFUL nursery wall art which is all truly created with love by Jean and her husband Kevin. The stunning ‘Geo Triangles’ were gifted to us to personally add to Maddie’s Play Corner which were so easy to apply and so much fun as a family choosing where to apply each one on the wall. But HOW GORGEOUS is Maddie’s elephant growth chart wall art! Kevin personally came through to our home to apply ellie for us which Maddie adores! So incredibly special! This was my husband’s favourite addition to the room. He got all nostalgic thinking about marking off her measurements on the wall as she grows. Lump in the throat stuff! Thank you Giggle & Beans!
Items that feature in this area:
Lightbox – Lily & Grace | www.lilyandgrace.co.za
Rainbow stacker – Cotton On
Pink table and Chair – Mistrys | www.mistrys.co.za
Love wall letters – MRP Home
Pink couch – Toys R US
Rainbow cushion – MRP Home
Dolls cot – Mac’s Toys at Shongweni Market (031 2661952)
Grey basket – MRP Home
Cloud play mat / toy bag – Tidy Tot | www.tidytot.co.za
Wall art decals – Giggle & Beans | www.giggleandbeans.co.zaWhat Maddie’s Wearing:
Zuri dress in mint green & matching hair clip – Noovoo Kids | noovokids.com
Shoes – Alice by Shooshoos |shooshoos.com/english_za
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