Playroom Purge

When Spring arrived I had the itch to purge and organize. I’m not as much into the “cleaning” but I love a good declutter to start off the summer.

One of the biggest and messiest areas in our home is the playroom. No matter how many times I organize, label, tidy, it can be destroyed in a matter of minutes with the right amount of kids. Most of the time I don’t mind, I mean, that’s what it is there for, right? But it got to the point that new toys came in for Christmas and birthdays and nothing was going out. Those new items did not have permanent homes on the shelves or in the cubes, so the kids didn’t know where to leave them once finished with them.

I decided that I would take my Spring fever and channel it into organizing their toys. I already had put a lot of time into the storage ideas down there but it was long overdue for a refresh.

We went through all the toys, one by one. We created a box for donating and a box for garbage. Anything broken, torn, one time use, etc would be thrown away. All the “baby” toys that the kids no longer played with, we boxed up to donate so they can be loved by other children. Once the purge was completed it was time to organize and label for all the leftovers.

My wall to wall shelves made room on the bottom for all of our “Little People” sets. The kids still really enjoy them and our collection has grown. Craft supplies continue to be at the very top to avoid unnecessary messes. We added an “appliance” shelve for imaginative play, we also needed to make room for the new Home Depot toolbox set.

The day bed got all it’s bedding put in place. And some rogue accent pillows made their way onto it for a comfy place to play or watch cartoons.

Our Lego table got a new, fun rug added. This is the most popular play area when kids come over, and because there are only two stools, it can get crowded. Having the rug all around makes it a bit easier for everyone to play together and be comfortable, even when not on the stool. This entire table now stores Lego on one side, and Mega Bloks on the other. Previously it had imaginative play items (wooden food, pots and pans, etc) but that was integrated into the cubes under the TV instead. It seemed to work better with all building blocks in one place.

The kids had a new circus tent added this year so it was placed by the window as it needs quite a bit of floor space. Because all of the walls have designated spaces or centers set up, there were limited options for that.

The Barbie area got shuffled a bit to make room for the tent, and the car carpet now has actual ramps and cars to play with. When the carpet was originally purchased we had very little for vehicles, mostly the kids would use it to land their Little People plane.

And that is pretty much it for the purge and refresh. A few small tweaks here and there to the original plan made it work much better for the kids. And if you walked into our house today and headed down there, it looks identical to the pictures. Every toy now has a home, making it easier for clean up. (It also helps that Kennedy is now reading and can read the labels put in place for easy organizing).

 

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Playroom

As you know, we have a large room on our lower level that we designated for the playroom. We felt it was important for the kids to have their own space in the house. It will start as a playroom and maybe as they get older it will transfer to a homework room or a space to hang out with their friends.

My biggest struggle was to find ways to utilize a long rectangle of a room with 3 large windows and 2 large openings/doorways. Where to place furniture? How to make the entire space flow as one? It was something I have been struggling with and altering since we moved in!

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As you can see from this photo, there wasn’t much in the room to work with. Cement floors, no ceiling, partially finished outer walls. And we dove right in to address some of the immediate issues. Let me refresh your memory.

We had put down laminate flooring throughout the entire level which added some much needed warmth and functionality. We had also installed some upper cabinets for craft supply storage (over a large kitchen table for a work space).

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As we used the space we learned what worked and what didn’t. We found that although we had tons of cube storage for smaller items, we didn’t have much for larger toys. So storage became an obvious need. The kids rarely used the kitchen table that was taking up an entire wall. They would always bring their puzzles or games to the child size tables, the floor, or up to our kitchen table for supervision. The pull out sofa we had gotten for a steal of a deal wasn’t doing the space any favors by accumulating cat hair and keeping adults butts sunken into the abyss underneath.

So we decided that we would address the issues, and work on a redesign to correct. And here is what we came up with.

We started by removing the cabinets and kitchen table and used 5 “Billy” bookcases from IKEA to add storage and function. I used the top shelves for the craft stuff to keep out of reach of curious kids. The bottom shelves we utilized for larger toys, books, and puzzles. A fun rug below gives the kids a place to take the toys that’s nearby.

A cork board was added for coloring pages, crafts and other homemade items to be displayed. All craft supplies are labelled for easy clean up.

A TV was mounted above the cube storage and a finished Lego table doubled as a coffee table for anyone using the space. Some IKEA stools were added making it easy for the kids to use. The stools are light enough that they can even bring them over and play with the cubes directly. A table and chair set have been placed under each window so that it is not wasted space.

The other side of the room (which has the third window) now has a carpet for playing cars, and also has the DIY dress up area (pending mirror being hung). Having both windows so close together takes up a large amount of wall space, so we really tried to utilize the floor as a play area too.

And finally, we sold our pull out sofa and replaced with a much better option.

The Hemnes IKEA daybed is what we decided on. Now this is deep enough for cuddling while watching a movie with the kids, but if anyone ever needs to stay over (or if the kids have a sleepover with friends), it can be pulled out to a full size bed.

So as you can see, we have been very busy!

Here are a few photos of the room all together. Slowly getting closer and closer to having it complete. Next, doors. Then finishing up walls for priming and painting. Ceilings will probably only happen later on. But let’s be honest, with all the toys in here, no one is looking at a naked ceiling!

DIY Dress Up Wardrobe 

I’m sure you’ve all seen the adorable dress up closets and wardrobes that flood Pinterest on a regular basis. And if you’ve got a princess obsessed daughter, like mine, you may have looked into purchasing or making your own. To buy one you would be looking at at least $100. Although the ones with tons of storage go for double that. And naturally I didn’t want to pay anywhere near that.

   

The DIY version is to use an old dresser or TV unit to turn it into a little girls dream dress up closet. But after pricing out a closet rod, paint, a wallpaper for the interior, hardware, a mirror AND the cost of a used piece of furniture, it didn’t seem like the best option for me. I threw away that dream (secretly I kept it on the back burner without telling Dave). But then one day while searching the local classifieds online I found something that quickly brought that idea back into focus!

  

At first glance it really doesn’t look like much. But if you look closer you’ll see what I saw. A closet rod/bar already in place. Removable/adjustable shelving. And it’s already white! (Which matches my playroom furniture).

I scooped this up for $20! I’m not going to lie to you, it was pretty rough looking in person. I’m guessing it was previously used as a pantry. There were lots of food stains, rusty circles from canned goods. The bottom even looked like some kind of laundry detergent spill had been left to die. But after an amazing clean up it wasn’t bad! I picked up a can of flat white spray paint and used it to touch up any rough spots that didn’t clean well.


The hinges and hardware were in terrible shape. We looked at replacing but we couldn’t find a hinge small enough. Hubby ended up sand blasting them which removed all the rust (we got lucky there!) I did end up purchasing two new door pulls.

Now to put it all together!


Brought it into the playroom and wiped it down with a wet cloth. Now the magic happens. My daughter had been previously gifted with a package of Princess wall decals. Since her room had no available walls for them I decided to set them aside until I could find them a home. And what better way to dress up a wardrobe fit for a princess then with the Disney gals themselves.


Since the side panel is the most seen (based on the location of the wardrobe) I decided to place my daughters favourite princesses there. (Ariel, Aurora, Snow White and Rapunzel). This photo shows the first princess decal going on and you can even see my new chrome door pull (the doors had not yet been attached).


Now I realize that decals are not the most glamorous thing on a piece of furniture. But ultimately this is for a three year old and I felt that saving money, and using what I already had were the right choice. Once she’s 6-8 I can easily update with something more long lasting and mature.


Next I added a princess to each door. Each princess came with a few accent stickers based on their story.

Here you’ll see a close up of two stickers that joined Cinderella on the right door.  And then it was finally time to add items to the inside! I placed my shelves and began adding our extensive collection of crowns/tiaras, headbands, necklaces and bracelets. I placed a shelf at the bottom of the closet bar as well. Eventually it could house shoes or purses.

I also had two remaining princess stickers that I placed on the inside of the door as well.



Ta-Da! It’s all finished! I am beyond excited for my daughter to see it completely finished and ready for her. She’s enjoying a visit at her grandparents house for the week but I’m counting down the days until she’s home and I can surprise her!

The end cost of this was around $40. Which was much more reasonable in my eyes. $20 for the wardrobe itself, $5 for a can of spray paint, $8 mirror and the new handles which were a couple bucks each. Not bad if I do say so myself!

So Many Toys… 

Just a quick refresh of the post I made not long ago about my terribly messy and unorganized basement. I told myself I would get it cleaned up (a little each day) so that it could become functional again!

Now, it’s still a work in progress but I have in fact been doing just that (although I admit, I haven’t spent as much time down there as I would have liked). I’ve focused a lot of my time and effort in the play area. It always seems to get messy and in order to have the time to work in other rooms I need that room functional to entertain the kiddos. 

Here are the chaotic before photos. 

   
    

I’ve focused a lot of my attention on a reading nook/book wall. That’s kinda my daughters go to right now.  So having it cleaned and somewhat organized was important. And with this many toys it’s always a challenge for me. What do I hide away, what do I leave on display? What can I donate and what should I hold onto? Until it’s done I really doubt I’ll have the answers to either of those questions. But let’s check out a few photos of my slow moving progress. 

   
   

Not too shabby! Soft circle carpets give extra seating for reading. A Lego table helps store and organize all those blocks. It’s coming along! So for the record I haven’t slacked off ENTIRELY…. 

Dumping Ground

I can’t believe I’m going to show you this. I’m embarrassed but I figured if I was going to shed some light on home renovating then I better be honest about all of it. 

As you know, we’ve been going full steam ahead upstairs (painting, organizing, decorating, etc). I believe we’ve pretty much touched every room in one way or another at this point. But, in doing so we have let our basement (or lower level) go unattended. We closed the door to the downstairs and forgot about it entirely. This meant that the entire lower level got messy, and dirty and pretty much became a dumping ground for unwanted furniture. Not to mention we were in the process of renovating down there BEFORE we let it get, well, bad! 

Now, I’ve made it a personal mission to clean it up. I’m going to devote a bit of time down there each day (while my son naps) to tidying, vacuuming and reorganizing (and eventually finishing) this space. So what better time to snap some photos and show you the disastrous lower level. Here we go! 

   
     

The playroom. 

   

The family room. 

   

The bar area. Also access to our backyard and hot tub. 

 

The hallway (office to the left, bathroom in the centre, storage room to the right. (Bathroom door in photo). 

 

Our bathroom. 

   

  

  

The office. 

   

Hallway outside of the playroom. Under the stairs storage and walk-in pantry to the left. 

 
The walk-in pantry.  

Well there you have it! Wish me luck, I’m honestly going to need it! 

 

The Playroom… Phase 1 

This space stumped us for a while. It was an open area with two large doorways, three large windows, an odd ledge that hid some pipes and just seemed really long and skinny. We debated putting a wall up to divide the space into two equal square rooms. We would have used one as a playroom and one as a guest room. However, we thought about how often we have guests… Maybe one night a year, possibly two. Then it was pretty obvious a guest room (for us) would be wasted space.

  

These are the previous owners photos of the play space. (Used for hockey practice).

The key to making this space work as a playroom was to have many “stations” of sorts. I designed the room for multiple children at a time. Enough fun things to do without the kids having to share all the time or be on top of each other. It was also designed to be practical and functional. Storage is a must! Let’s have a look.

I started with 3 cube organizers (2X8). I then chose an assortment of colourful canvas cubes to fill this organizer. This is located in the direct centre of the room. It’s located at the far wall, directly between the two windows. (Take note of the mirrored design of the cubes). This storage was purchased exclusively for toys. I figured that this would be a perfect way to display and hide the many pieces that normally clutter.

I also labelled the cubes for easy clean up. And for the cubes that are closed off (without the plastic window) it would provide an easy way to find what you were looking for (without having to remove all the cubes to look inside). We also mounted a 32″ TV, a white, floating shelf with a blu Ray player above this structure for our children’s Disney blu Ray collection.

Next I added come curtains (more for color and privacy than to keep the sun out). I chose to stick to my “mirror” design of the wall. I chose a white sheer and a bold yellow. It was missing something, so I added a white panel to the inside. It doesn’t stand out very much now, but once the walls are primed and painted I think this wall will really pop.

Please excuse the mess of toys in the photo, we were in the process of organizing the canvas cubes and finding homes for the toys.

The next “station” was for the aduts. When monitoring a child, child size furniture just doesn’t seem to cut it. So we placed a pull out couch/love seat and coffee table opposite the cube structure.

This coffee table later turned into a pretty awesome Lego table… But we’ll save that for another post.

Next is the craft station! A place for kids to color, put puzzles together, play with play-doh or clay. Basically do anything they can think up!

We installed laundry room cabinets on the wall for supply storage. This made it easy to keep the items on hand, without having a child be able to have access. Hopefully this will keep the marker to the wall incidents at bay. I selected this photo because it shows the inside of the cabinets as well as the outside. Each door hides a single shelf. Where you will find everything a child needs for arts and crafts! We also re used our old kitchen table in this room for the kids!