Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Back to cleaning....

I certainly have not forgotten about Operation Organization that I started back in January and I certainly have not forgotten about this blog.  This has been a crazy 2 weeks with a recent Spring Break and this week trying to get ready for our upcoming trip.  While I have been posting about every holiday and some summer fashion ideas, I have been diligently working my way through my house to get every single room organized.

Here's where we've been so far in case you missed any of the posts:

1-  Operation Organization Part 1 - Setting up a family binder and schedule 
2-  Operation Organization Part 2 - A schedule for your cleaning
3-  Operation Organization Part 3 - Rules of Organizing
4-  Operation Organization - The Kitchen
5-  Operation Organization - The Linen Closet
6 - Operation Organization - The Junk Drawer

There are a few other areas I want to tackle in the next few weeks and wrap up this series on organization including the playroom, the office, bedroom closets, the car and a wrap up on how to keep it clean!  If you can think of any other areas you're struggling with, please let me know.

Today I'm going to focus on the playroom.  I usually organize our playroom twice a year- right after Christmas when we have new toys and once over the summer.   This is when I purge and rotate toys.  I keep some toys up high in the closet in the playroom and save them to bring down throughout the year to keep it fresh.    Our playroom is actually an extra bedroom in our house, so it has a big closet which comes in handy.  I really don't let my kids keep many toys in their bedrooms.  I don't want them playing in their rooms with friends and creating a second mess, so that's the only way I can seem to avoid it.

 The playroom is a room that always gets messy and I've had to come to terms with the fact that I'll never be able to stay on top of it.  But....I have come up with a way to make clean up much easier.     This was a little mess generated by a certain 5 year old in about 2 minutes.  As you can see, I use lots of bins....but I'll get to that later.

I've come to the point with the playroom that I spent a little time to make our clean up job easier and in the long run save some time.  Now I know there are some who think it's crazy to clean up a playroom or any room for that matter, but I find it so much easier this way.  No longer are we missing a piece of a puzzle or of a board game.  No longer am I dealing with tears because we can't find the most important action figure as we are heading out the door in a hurry.  Do what works for you.  That's always been my motto for organizing, but hopefully this will give you some great ideas!

We have a few key pieces in our playroom that really help with organization.   I am all about bins for different pieces of a toy or theme of toys and LABELS.  Even though my son cannot yet read, my daughter and husband both can (lol) and they can put things away far easier when they know where to put them.  When I redid our playroom a few years back I invested in a bunch of these great fabric cubes from Target.
They come in TONS of different colors and while they are $6.99 each, they often go on sale.  I have to say they are worth every penny too.  They have held up not only to toys, but being sat or climbed into (yes my son can fit inside still) and every other imaginable thing possible with small kids.

Of course they are not labeled so....I bought small round thin wooden pieces from the craft store and I painted them with my chalkboard paint.  Then I just hot glued them onto the bins.  Super simple and I can change them as we rearrange our playroom and switch out toys.  I tend to put the toys with tons of parts in these because then we're just throwing them in a bin at cleanup and it's far easier than putting them back in a box or other container.  Easy out, easy back in!

I also invested in this this unit from Land of Nod with a center hutch to hold our TV and 2 large bookcase to hold toy bins and bottom storage for books, etc. which they no longer carry.  It is great and has tons of storage.   The only down side was that I (yes, I) had to put it together.

Here it is on a day when we had not yet cleaned.

I was able to fit 15 of our bins and they even fit perfectly in the bridge piece at the top.  I also have additional bins on top that are not labeled because they hide the things I don't want to get down often.  I also bought a storage unit from Ikea like this one that you can custom with large and small bins.  You can customize your own configuration and use different color bins.

And in our closets, I invested in 2 small bookcases from Home Depot.  They look like this.

Lastly, I love these large and bright baskets from Land of Nod.  They are incredibly sturdy (I often find a small child hanging out in one) and hold TONS.   

So despite all of my organizational tools, our playroom still gets really messy VERY quickly.

Here is what it looked like the other day before clean up...a total mess!

The cleanup only took us a few minutes though (thankfully or I'd be doing it alone every time) because the kids know where things go or at least I can tell them where things go.  We also tackled the messy kitchen and accessories.  Here is our before.

I would have a heart attack if my kitchen sink looked like  They don't seem to care though.

This is the little hutch (my dad's amazing garage sale find from many eons ago) that houses our "accessories" for the play kitchen.   It usually gets to the point where they shove something in and quickly try to shut the door of it before it falls out.

We started our clean up with this kitchen and hutch and dumped everything and sorted.  With the help of my  two literally took about 5 minutes.  We took out the miscellaneous items that mysteriously made their way into here on a clean up, sorted and re-stocked it.  The 3 clear plastic Tupperware containers are invaluable in here.  While they were empty it gave me a chance to wipe down the kitchen and shelves too.   Here is our after...

One of our bins...all fruits and veggies.

Now I know it won't stay this way for long, but I find when it's clean the kids are more excited to play.   Not sure why that is.

We also cleared the floors and returned everything to either the closet shelves or bins.  Much better.

We put all of our dress up and play "weapons", light sabers and capes back into the storage bin...

We put our books back on the shelves of our bookcases...

We put our toys back onto the shelves in the closet...

Oh, one other great storage item I have to share are those tiny colored boxes you can see on the shelves in here.  I use them for play money, card games, etc.  They are from Ikea too and super cheap.  Here they are...

We put our baby clothes and "accessories" back into the storage unit.  

We put our arts & crafts back into this guy.

And here is our final product after a very short clean up!

You may notice a pinata in the picture....don't ask!  Let's just say my husband has a VERY hard time saying

I'd still like to add a bigger TV to this room as my kids grow and want to watch their own shows, but in due time.  My favorite part of this entire room is the wall on the right side of this picture with art work from my daughter from years ago.  She painted these and I LOVE are a few!

Now if you're wondering where I keep the arts & crafty things that are messy and that I need to supervise like Playdoh and paint?  Well, they are on the top, unreachable shelves of the closet in bins.

And how about those small toys that don't belong with anything or little goody bag gifts or McDonald's toys?  They are all in this bin in the corner.  They rarely play with them, but I'm not allowed to get rid of them until the bi-annual purge session...

And that's our playroom.   It's been this way for about 5 years now and I want to eventually replace some of the carpet tiles with a more masculine feel since my son was so little when I originally planned it, but for now...they love it!

Here are some other fun ideas I found...

Fun and bright...reminds me of our playroom.  It even has similar carpet tiles....

I love the use of clear bins in this one from The Container store.  It allows kids to see what is in each one.

Another fun use of color and labels.

Here's a cute idea to use pictures of toys to help with clean up.  Notice that they are using the same containers I showed you that we use.  Love them.

I'm not sure if you could tell from this photo, but we store our card games in their original boxes and all of them together in one clear bin.  (They are on the left side of this picture and are a mess in this photo before the big cleanup)  I like to keep the original boxes for directions and to know how many cards belong in each set because often they are all dumped out together and we have to put them all back where they belong.

I also loved these 2 ideas to store games.  Notice that the first one uses the same Ikea boxes I mentioned earlier that we use for small toys and play money.

And a travel soap container...genius!

I hope some of these ideas will help you find a way to make your playroom clean up a little easier.  Or...if you have some great ideas to share...please pass them on!

Poshed Up


  1. Looks like you have a great system and a fabulous toy room! I have tried many times to organize our toys....but after a week it's chaos again. Some great ideas here!

  2. Love all of the wonderful colors in the playroom! So bright and inviting!