Clutter can be the number one reason many kids rooms remain to look messy despite many cleaning attempts. Between toys, games, books and clothing a child's room can become disorganized very, very quickly. Organization is the key to success inside and outside the home. If your family life is disorganized, how can your business outside the home thrive? An organized home will give you daily peace of mind and a feeling of control over your daily schedule. One key to maintaining control and organization in a home is not necessarily to run around children picking up their toys, but teaching children that they must be responsible for picking up their own toys and valuables. Children do need to know their own responsibilities and a parents expectations regarding the privilege of having nice toys. Not only will a parent benefit from a well behaved child, but they also don't have to go through the daily struggles of repeatedly telling their children to pick up their things. Teaching habits at a young age will help children develop decision making skills that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
The price of everything seems to keep going up, and well made toys in particular keep getting more expensive. In particular, the toy parts seem to get smaller and smaller as the children grow, making them more likely to be lost faster. Doll toys such as barbie doll accessories can easily get lost without organization. What use is one barbie boot without the other? One set of barbie doll clothes alone can cost upwards of 5 dollars. Adding up all the accessories can become costly to have them not taken care of. Games become useless without a full deck of cards and board games without the essential pieces.
Children do not know the price of toys unless parents show them their worth through their own actions and rules. Too often play rooms become a jumble of miss-matched toys, and a pile of toys thrown together. Children will take for granted their toys, if they are allowed to repeatedly treat them badly. A privilege then becomes a right in children's eyes. Often times, if ground rules are set before children regarding their toys, they become more valuable to children.
When designing your child's room, storage should be the first consideration in the overall plan. Every magazine featuring kids rooms always features a select few toys perfectly placed, with coordinating colored furniture and perfectly placed matching accessories which is unrealistic for the most part, UNLESS you have ample storage.
Most parents do not want their living rooms or basements taken over with toys, so they are left with the only justified solution, which is just to live with the mountains of toys. Today more than ever, space is something very expensive and it is very important to make the most out of what you have to work with.
There are a number of solutions available which will clean up the mess and keep your children's rooms clutter and mess free on a daily basis.
1. One of the very best ways to optimize the space in your children's rooms is to create ceiling to floor bookshelves. Built in storage would be ideal in any room, but often too costly for most people to consider. Bookshelves on the other hand can give you this look of luxury often seen in designer homes and magazines. Bookshelves are often great for optimizing living space as less floor space is consumed, while taking advantage of a home's vertical space, which is often not used.
The best rule of thumb when it comes to interior design basics and bookcases is they should fill the wall space well.
Bookcases should be the main focus of the room. Putting a row of bookcases gives a presence of a built in cabinet. Choosing a wall which you can line up the bookcases from one wall to the other is the most ideal design. With this look, the design does open up the opportunity to hang curtains from the ceiling which function as a door exposing only the decorative elements rather than the functional storage. Sliding doors also become available in this situation, making this design become more constructed and intentional.
As many people would discourage tall bookshelves for children, they make sense if they are properly bolted down and secure giving no opportunity for movement. The book shelves near the ceiling can serve as a decorative space which also can be made secure with a board nailed from one end to the other so no larger toys are able to escape. The lower shelves are then kept functional for a child to reach and utilize the space throughout the day.
Bookshelves come in a number of different sizes, colors and designs. It is better to have wooden bookshelves than it is to have shelves made from synthetic materials. Although, if you are working in a budget, synthetic materials are more widely available at lower prices. Personally, I have built a wall of bookshelves using IKEA shelves which I collected off of craigslist. If I were to ever do this project again, I would collect the same size bookshelf for a unified look, rather than whatever I could get my hands on. When my husband and I moved into our first apartment we wanted something that looked nice, while being functional, so this fit the solution. I had kept my eyes open and picked up bookshelves over several weeks, spending a maximum of 20 dollars for each shelf.
(I guarantee you that if you are patient, and are thrifty checking your local classifieds, you can get these shelves at a bargain prices). It takes a bit of persistence looking online and at local classifieds daily.
To be very honest, pressed board is only good if you set it in one place, bolt it down, and never move it again, so I would not suggest buying these at full price unless you have looked through your local classifieds first. Ikea does carry the height extention shelves which sit sit on top of the regular Billy bookcases giving you the illusion of floor to ceiling shelves. Ikea is the only store which carries them, and they are not usually found secondhand. This is the only part of the project I would personally splurge on, as the other details are widely available.
If you do decide to buy your set of bookshelves second hand, you will have a variety of colors, or woods that you will want to paint your bookcases.
Please do not make the same mistake as I did. I painted before sanding, and only a week later all the paint peeled, making my project only good until we moved on to our next home. Paint will not stick to the common pressed board, so you will need to sand it down to give the paint something to stick to.
To give your room a built in look, paint the back of your wall and the bookcases the same color. To do this, you will need to take off the back of the shelves, and secure them against the wall with L brackets. The overall color will create a dramatic look.
Some challenges with with book shelves is they can become cluttered and an unsightly mess of color and objects. Having too much color and things displayed on the shelves can make the room look too heavy. The solution to this is to incorporate baskets which will serve the purpose of mini toy boxes. Baskets are perfect because they hold the smallest toys and crayons which can become messy quite quickly without organization. Sort the heaviest toys near the bottom shelves.
Creating rows of storage boxes which all match, and baskets which match one another is the very best way of utilizing bookcases in children's rooms. Choosing one object to fill each remaining shelves is the best way of displaying nice toys. Try not to display large collections of toys on bookshelves, as the design can become too heavy and messy. Pick and choose the best toys, or the toys not often played with to display.
2. Under the Bed Storage is another way of utilizing space often forgotten about. Floating a bed in the center of the room allows the opportunity of utilizing both sides of the bed.
Smaller toys work perfectly with under the bed storage bins. Since the boxes are designed to slide under the bed, they are obviously smaller and lower to the ground, making it easier for kids to clean up their toys. Under the bed storage is also perfect for bulky jackets, sweaters and childrens extra seasonal clothing. It also is perfect to quickly convert winter storage into summer storage with plastic storage containers.
See-through containers have the advantage of being able to see what is in the container, but is not a recommended storage solution for small objects. Even though each box is contained and stowed away nicely, it will always look like a jumble of mess from the outside. It is recommended from an aesthetic point of view to have one color or complementry storage container colors. Labels can also dress up your containers giving you the appearance of a professionally designed space. If you are matching several containers, spray paint is the perfect solution to coordinate your storage containers.
If you are on a budget, slowly save up shoe boxes to store away smaller items. Large stores that sell discounted labels, such as Ross Dress for Less take their shoes out of their boxes to sell and then throw away the packaging. I have picked up 25 boxes from their store all at once which I have painted the exterior of the cardboard boxes to perfectly coordinate with one another. It is an inexpensive solution.
Another inexpensive idea is keeping the food containers you often buy on a regular basis. Safeway and Giant sell large tubs of clear plastic containers which they sell their salad in. They would be perfect containers for boys action figures, or crayons. Consider buying hat boxes secondhand and painting them all the same color.
Think out of the box when it comes to storage solutions. Organizing your closets with like boxes, baskets, and containers will go a far way in organizing your children's rooms from a cluttered typical child's room, to an organized designed room that will keep well as they grow.
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