3/24/11

Room Tour: Behind Closed Doors

Where We Keep the Chaos
Doesn't my title sound like a Dateline segment? So, I knew I wanted to share a little more about this space after sharing photos in it's BEST state yesterday. It took a lot of work to get things in place and an hour of my husband keeping the kids out of the house for me to even get those shots because they are always in there if I am. It's not always as camera ready as it was in the room tour but we do try to keep the chaos to a minimum and at the end of the day, the floor has to be cleared. It keeps me sane.

We have a lot of loud, colorful toys in primary colors that we store in the bottom half of the white wardrobe. It gives the kids easy access to getting them out and, more importantly, putting them up when they're done. Ruby is a stellar picker upper right now but Sebastian needs more convincing so I race him to see who can pick up Legos or trains the fastest. He instantly joins in. It's my #1 trick.

Where We Keep the Chaos
Sebastian doesn't have as many clothes as Ruby for obvious reasons (hello, the selection for girls is SO much harder to resist) and most of his stuff is pretty toned down so having them on display in their room isn't really distracting or overwhelming. It's at a height that allows him to pick out his own clothing and have that sense of independence. I even bought plastic hangers without grooves so he could pull his shirts off without having to remove them from the curtain rod.

Originally, I wanted a wardrobe with doors for Ruby's clothing because it felt really ideal and sweet but now I'm thankful I have a way to hide the color explosion. It's nice to be able to keep things tucked away and it's high enough that she can't get up there and pull it all out herself. Because she would.


The Usual
And this is what it looks like right before nap time, after nap time, before dinner, and until bed when we have another round of racing to clean up. Organization and tidiness don't come naturally to me. I have to work extra hard to instill those habits into my kids but I also want them to be able to enjoy making productive messes. Messes mean you're having fun or something.

What are some of your tricks for keeping ALL of those Thomas trains and legos from taking over?

xoxo,
Rachel

21 comments:

Christina said...

Their room is so beautiful and well resolved! You have such a great eye for colour.

I am forever picking up toys too. There are two big baskets at the bottom of my two year old sons cupboard, so that he can help me pick up his toys and put them away. Boxes of blocks and puzzles get packed away after play and put on the top shelf so that pieces aren't lost. I try and keep clutter to a minimum in his room. I rotate his toys, putting some away for awhile, then bringing them out again a few weeks later so that they feel 'new' again.

Will be checking back for everyone elses suggestions! :)

{ Nina Designs } said...

LOVE the colours and the little clothes hanging in the closet!

Miss C said...

"...but I also want them to be able to enjoy making productive messes."

I think that's really awesome. There is some good in being tidy but some great creations can come out of messes as well. I think it's great that you try to embrace and teach both.

Stefan, Sarah and Lukka said...

love how you 'hid' everything in that huge wardrobe, you really made great space.

We have a small storage room off of our stairs' hallway (sounds weird, but it's really perfectly out of the way!) and we keep a chest + a suitcase full of toys there. We give them the choice of having 4-5 toys in their room at once, then 'trade' again in a week or two. We also use baskets for almost everything, which is easier on the eyes, too. I've noticed they have NEVER gotten bored of their toys doing it this way.
Plus, we keep toys extremely limited. We buy them a toy for their birthday and for Christmas, and a few odds n ends I might find at garage sales or on consignment, but that's about it.
Sarah M

Sparrow's Nest said...

I'm a Pre-K teacher, and we put labels (a picture of the item and the word) on the tub it goes in and the spot on the shelf where it goes. It works really well. Kinda makes putting things away a matching game.

MargaretB said...

What a good idea about hiding some of the toys in the bottom like that. Recently, I went through and put all of my son's toys out on several low shelfs for him. The ones that wouldn't fit go into storage until he is ready to rotate them back in. Seeing them displayed like this has really helped him keep his room straightened on his own and keeps me from going crazy with toys everywhere. It also naturally limits his toy selection, so he doesn't get several things out that he isn't interested in at the moment. I LOVE the little kitchen. I've been searching and searching for one like this for a couple of months now. Hopefully I'll luck out soon :)

Emily said...

Rotating toys sounds like a good idea. I'll definitely be checking back here for more suggestions! We keep a few toy baskets throughout the house and pick up periodically but I like how you keep the madness out of sight in cupboards. We have a problem with board books everywhere and half torn-up National Geographics...

Mandi said...

You did an amazing job with their room!

Summer Ryan Doyle said...

We employ two of your tricks - "hiding" toys in a nice cabinet and picking up at the end of every day. My kids are roughly the ages of yours and we ask them to help with this task every night before bath. (With more or less success.) Just modeling the clean up behavior has inspired my 15 month old daughter to start putting things "in" instead of always dumping out. What a milestone!

Like you, little clutter can drive me crazy! But knowing it will all be gone by the time I sit down with a beer at the end of the day helps me trudge through it the rest of the time.

Lovely, lovely room by the way.

Lia said...

What a happy place to play. I love the chalkboards, the kitchen, the mobile and especially the sweet Ashley G print (love her).

I have no advice for picking up toys. I admit I'll let my girls (5, 8) play for days in a big mess. They create tiny little houses that turn into towns and I just don't have the heart to tear them down. When the arguing begins I can tell it is time for a clean sweep. We pick up and start again.

simplemittens said...

that room is just too cute. I have 2 year old son (and another boy on the way). I make a pretty good effort to have him put away his toys once we're done. He has a vintage fischer price western town (that was his dads) and a basket of little toys that go with it. After he's finished he puts everything back in the basket and I put in on the shelf. After we read a book its his job to put it back on the shelf. You get the idea. He seems to kind of think its fun :) Also I go through and get rid of toys just before Christmas, after Christmas, and after his birthday. Its pretty much slim pickens in there. ha

craftattacks said...

Oh goodness, I have no idea. I've neglected my kids' room for a bit and it's the biggest mistake I've ever made. The toys are leeching out into the rest of the house! I'm waiting for the Spring Cleaning bug to hit me so I can do a great big toy purge!

letter A studio said...

I've learned not to fight with the mess. If the kids want to watch a movie/cartoons or play the wii on the weekend, then their rooms have to be clean. If they bring a toy or other belongings out of their rooms and forget to put it away, I pick it up and put it in a large basket we keep in the living room. At the end of the day, we have "Basket Time" and I put each child's items in piles. They have 5 minutes to put everything away. It works like a charm!

margot said...

the room looks absolutely incred!!!

Anita said...

I love their room; so very sweet! I don't have children, but I do have one of those houses that kids love to visit, with a massive hand crafted wooden toy collection, a doll collection and a putting green down the center of the game room. I also work from home, so I rarely ever say no to a play date or babysitting request! I find that bribery works best, but I only bribe with something that they would get anyway. One of my girlfriends regularly tells her 4 year old not to take something out unless she plans to put it away, and when you remind her that she agreed she does it immediately.
Have a lovely day!
xo, A.

Tracie said...

Honestly I have learned to live with a lot of the mess. We encourage our children to keep their toys in their rooms or in the playroom. When they were really little the toys would end up all over our bedroom floor and all over the family room. We encourage them to clean their own rooms at the end of the day, before bed. They are definitely not as clean as I would like, but they are learning to at least straighten up after themselves. It does get a little easier as they get older!

Kori said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brooke said...

I decided after Christmas, when Isla's toys were taking over our new living room, that things had to change. I've now got one cane basket on the floor with her toys and only have one large toy out at a time (like an activity centre or similar). If they don't fit in the basket then we cull and put some away to rotate later, or, better yet, donate to a charity. We keep the books on a bookshelf in the family room and she has a chest of dress-ups etc in her bedroom, as well as a rocking horse. Everything has a place, which makes it easy for me and her to tidy up.

All that being said, I really don't mind seeing her things spread out during the day, as it means she's playing and learning and exploring. Plus, it's their house too and I want her and Toby to feel like they can explore and be creative. Mess is fine, as long as its not left over night. I don't fancy picking up yesterday's mess before I've had a coffee in the morning!

Brooke said...

Letter A Studio - that's an awesome idea!

michael n. said...

Seems to me like you're an organizing genius! Everything has a perfect spot but is still easily accessible, and cute to boot! AMAZING! You have motivated to me to get on the ball and put the kids toys in reach but not annoyingly in the way all the time. And I love how you have the little shoes together, visible, and in reach, what great ideas you have! Thanks! -Carrie
(BTW, LOL at the "date line" title!)

SewTara said...

I'm so glad you posted this 'behind the scenes' tour. I've been drooling over your beautiful decorating and thinking, 'wow why can't I do that, 'oh there's too many toys!' or 'I'm outnumbered and can't keep up with the mess of 3 other people'.

So while it probably doesn't make you happy to have toys all over I feel a lot better knowing it's happening at your house too! :)
Thanks for giving me inspiration and planting the seed of 'I can do it too!'