Virtual classes. A sudden discovery of your inner DIY-er. Improvised mealtimes split between picky eaters and your own work deadlines. Everyone is busy adjusting to a new routine at home, but for those with kids, that has taken on a whole new meaning. One area that might fall to the wayside while trying to juggle everything? Organization—especially as it relates to messy playrooms. Keeping that area neat may just seem like an unnecessary stressor during this time, but the good news is it doesn’t have to be. We’ve cracked the code.
Or rather, Laura Fenton has: The former Parents magazine lifestyle director is sharing page after page of inspiration in her new book, The Little Book of Living Small. We zeroed in on the section about tidying up the nursery. “I follow a two-part philosophy of ‘less is more’ and ‘let kids be kids,’” explains Fenton. “When my son’s deep passion for construction meant that a fleet of toy trucks began to fill up his room, I didn’t obsess about finding the perfect storage solution: We just decided we’re okay with some excess on the floor for the year that diggers and dumpers are his obsession.”
Right now she’s taking small measures to keep the routine: Creating Lego projects on a baking sheet so everything is contained, for example, or doing one big cleanup sweep at the end of the day. Of course, all this is possible because she already has an organization system in place, built on simple fixes that make the whole thing less of a chore. Here’s a peek into Fenton’s process, as seen in her book.
Pull Inspo From the Classroom
Take a look at your child’s preschool. I bet everything is in a labeled basket or clear box or sits directly on a shelf. Try this at home to prompt your child, the babysitter, and grandparents to put things back in their proper places.
Ditch the Clichés
Avoid the classic toy box. I have never once seen one being used as an efficient way to store playthings. Instead, you open it up to find a wasteland of disorganized toys.
Catalogs are filled with all manner of cute storage bins, but beware: Most bins are too big! As with toy boxes, the problem with big bins is that it’s hard to find a toy within, and when they inevitably get dumped out, they create a huge mess. Choose a greater number of small bins.
Adopt an “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” Mantra
Under-the-bed storage is a good way to store toys that are not played with every day. A bed with built-in drawers is great, but you can also use simple crates. Place felt furniture pads or small casters underneath to cut down on the scraping sound from pulling them across wood floors.
Wall-mounted toy and book storage is a space saver. Because kids’ items are usually colorful and graphic, they can double as wall art if you style the display (and keep the PAW Patrol figurines out of sight). I usually group by type, since that makes it easier for both children and parents to put things away, but I’ll try to find a visually pleasing arrangement.
Shop Fenton’s go-to picks:
See more ways to organize your home:
3 Freezer Organizing Tricks You Haven’t Heard Before
4 Pro Organizers on the Projects They’re Tackling Right Now
How a Pro Organizer Overhauled Amber Lewis’s New Pantry