Toys! where should they live?

(66 Posts)
mumoftwoboysS Wed 30-Jan-13 10:36:26

I've been thinking about all the toys cluttering up the lounge and was wondering where do most of you keep your kids toys? In their bedrooms and bring them downstairs to play, or mostly in the lounge? My boys have plenty of room for toys in their bedrooms but toys seem to migrate downstairs and clutter up the lounge...(they're 3 1/2 and 2 years) I'm not that fussed, just wondering if I should be stricter and make them keep more upstairs to stop the lounge from getting swamped!

IrnBruTheNoo Wed 30-Jan-13 10:55:28

"seem to migrate downstairs"

My two boys also seem to be doing this on an almost daily basis!! They're 5yo and 2yo. I did a huge clear out just after Christmas, and put most of their toys in their bedrooms. I do somehow seem to have just as many back downstairs again though. Also watching thread with interest!

lljkk Wed 30-Jan-13 11:21:24

Where do you keep your stuff, OP? How much of it do you allow to lie around the house communal areas, sit on chairs, tables & shelves? I think kid stuff deserves equal presence to adult stuff, anyway.

BertieBotts Wed 30-Jan-13 11:25:15

Most in DS' bedroom but a few things downstairs... lego because otherwise the tiny pieces would get lost. Pens/crayons because I'm not sure I trust him to use them unsupervised, and toys which need input from an adult.

Also we have an extra toy box (just a plastic crate) which lives in the living room and at the end of the day all of the loose toys which belong upstairs get slung in there. He can take toys out of here to play with but when it gets full I take it upstairs and empty them into their proper places.

getoffthecoffeetable Wed 30-Jan-13 11:30:59

We have upstairs toys and downstairs ones. A big ottoman toy box upstairs and then we've got one of those ikea units with boxes in it and we tidy the toys away in those before bedtime. It's nice because all toys are accessible to DS but are off the floor when he's gone to bed

Fuzzymum1 Wed 30-Jan-13 11:42:41

All toys except the big box of brio live in his bedroom. They do migrate downstairs but every so often they get rounded up in a laundry basket and taken back upstairs.

95% is in the lounge because we love playing with her and I have arthritis so hard to keep going up and down stairs. We bought an Ikea shelving unit so it does stay tidy. She is nearly 4 and understands about putting stuff away before getting something new out. Her father on the other hand... Her train set is upstairs as there is more space for her to keep the masses of track out ready to play.

nickelbabe Wed 30-Jan-13 12:09:16

we're going to get a huge box/tub under the dining table.
at the end of the day all toys will go in there.

but we will also make sure that not every single toy will live in there - every few days, a bunch of toys will go upstairs into their permanent home. (just to keep the box tidy)

rrreow Wed 30-Jan-13 14:10:37

Half in the living room, half in DSs room. The key to not feeling they're taking over your personal space: boxes. DS can make as much mess as he wants when he's playing with his toys, but when he's done, stuff has to go back into the boxes. Can also be helpful to print out pictures of what goes in what box, so clearing up is easy (and can also be a fun 'sorting game').

Where do your children play? Most of my DS(3)'s toys are downstairs because that's where he plays. He rarely plays upstairs so upstairs he just has some soft toys, a fey cards and the playmobil he plays with in the bath.

When he's older, they'll start to migrate upstairs.

Agree with lljkk, he has as much right to have his stuff in the living room as we do, so long as it's stored tidily. We've got an old drinks cabinet which we put his toys in, so they're out of sight at night.

notso Wed 30-Jan-13 14:28:48

All of DS1's toys live in his bedroom, it's mostly lego and DS2 would wreck it and DS3 would eat it.
DS2&3 have a big toy chest and some books on a shelf in the front room, the rest is all on shelves and in trofast storage, DS2 chooses what t bring down and it goes back up at bedtime.

Astr0naut Wed 30-Jan-13 14:38:06

The kitchen and the living room. We have plastic drawers for little bitty things - cars, bob the builder sets, octonauts etc. THe rest of the stuff is on the ottoman. There's also a wicker toy box in the living room for dd's stuff.

Dcs are 3 and 1 and I can't wait for the day you can actuallly move in our kitchen again.

DoodleAlley Wed 30-Jan-13 14:59:25

We use trofast from ikea mostly in the lounge. I don't want DS to end up hiding away in his bedroom I want him to feel like the lounge is his space too

Cat98 Wed 30-Jan-13 15:08:36

DS (4) has toys in the spare room and in his room. We have no toys stored in the living room, he is of course free to bring as much as he wants down to play with but we tidy them up at the end of the day and put them back in their places upstairs. We do this with our own stuff, too - I don't leave my books out in the living room, for example.

We are lucky in that we have space at the moment, if we ever have another child the age gap will be quite big so they will play with different things, so the toy volume will surely increase - if so, some will probably need to go in the living room and we will get a large toy box I guess.

TantrumsandBananas Wed 30-Jan-13 15:10:30

Most toys kept in dining room combi bookcase with an sort of open box underneath. Along with play kitchen, tent etc.

Front room big pine otoman under front window, when toys migrate in here, they get chucked in here at end of day.

Dolls/Dressing Up/Most cuddly toys in bedroom. All in a fitted cupboard, so they can be put back.

Don't care at all in dining room, its more a playroom anyway.

Front Room, just like some semblance of order at end of day - hence the ottoman.

Bedroom, she can pay as she likes, I just chuck em back in the cupboard and close the doors.

At the moment - one big toy box in the living room, and one 'soft toy' hammock in LO's bedroom. But he's only 9 months old!

Peetle Wed 30-Jan-13 15:52:41

Tubs. One each for for animals, train set, big lego, horses, dollies and their impedimenta, etc. And loads for soft toys. No toys live in the lounge (dining room instead, which has more room anyway) though they can play with them in there if they want. It doesn't take long to put the toys in the right tubs at the end of the day. Of course if you're five being asked to put them away is like being asked to build the pyramids single-handed, but the DTs will get there eventually.

KatoPotato Wed 30-Jan-13 16:01:27

We've got a 5x5 expedit bookcase at what would be the 'dining end' of our living room. The bottom row is those canvas boxes to store all the loose toys, with the next row up for DS's books and the remainder is all ours!

We also have a tall narrow trofast in the adjoining 'back room' which is a play room of sorts.

The Thomas the effing tank engine table that took over the living room in our old house is now in his bedroom so he can get up and play with it in the morning! He's also got a soft ikea toybox which is filled with 'non-frustrating' toys for him to play by himself in the morning before popping through to see us!

Alaska77 Wed 30-Jan-13 16:58:20

We gave up on the dining room and turned it into a playroom. Bought Northcote storage from Great Little Trading Co and everything fits in beautifully. No toys stored in the lounge but they are often played with in the lounge then tidied away again in the playroom. A bucket of soft toys in DS's bedroom but when we tried to put a basket of trains/cars in his bedroom he got upset and said that toys belong in the playroom! Dah!

louisianablue2000 Wed 30-Jan-13 17:05:44

In the sitting room: books (I think it's important to keep our books together to facilitate the transition to adult books when they become teenagers), DVDs, CDs, jigsaws and board games. In the study: art materials and the toy kitchen. In the dining room: recent artworks. In their bedroom: everything else. The next house will have a playroom and all their toys will then go there (except the books). We tidy up every evening before they go to bed.

neontetra Wed 30-Jan-13 17:12:54

Got a massive wooden chest in the lounge - all the toys are in there, apart from most of the soft toys, which live in dd's bedroom. She mostly plays downstairs, and I got sick of carting things up and down.

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Wed 30-Jan-13 17:20:01

The only toys that are kept in the sitting room are ds' table and chairs for drawing and a tiny little A4 size basket on a bookcase with a few loose toys in. Everything else is in his bedroom but gets brought into the sitting room/ kitchen/ bathroom etc during the day then put away before bed. I like having clear space in the evening to relax in.

I do like louisianablue's idea of keeping books together though, seems right somehow and may have to have a change around at the weekend.

EmpressMaud Wed 30-Jan-13 17:20:06

We keep toys in the playroom. A few more in toy boxes in the bedrooms.
There aren't any toys in the sitting room, other than an old model toy theatre and a music box.

Louisianablue that is such a great idea about books.

Making mental notes about storage furniture - trofast and expedit are both IKEA, is that right? And Northcote from GLTC. We are just about to refurbish our family room (play room / guest room) and am looking for inspiration so thanks everyone!

OP - to answer your original question, board games in living room, toys in family room, garden playhouse or bedrooms but can be played with anywhere as long as tidied up at night. Mind you the DDs are 9 and almost 7 now so there is a lot less plastic tat.

piprabbit Wed 30-Jan-13 17:46:11

My DCs tend to play in the lounge, but I do try to clear all the toys out into what used to be the dining room before it turned into a branch of ToysRUs. However, I do have a light at the end of the tunnel. DD is 9yo and I find that her toys are smaller and tend to live in her bedroom. Most of the stuff that still lives downstairs are the bulky toys for younger children that my 4yo DS plays with.

i have 3 kids- two boys aged 8 and 10 and a baby aged 6 months.
the older kids toys are in the cellar and in their room, the baby's toys are in a box in the living room

JollyRedGiant Wed 30-Jan-13 18:44:55

DS has his own books in a bookcase in his room and a wee pile in the living room. Our books are in a bookcase in our room.

During the day we usually play downstairs. He has a toy box in the living room. The rest of his toys stay in his room. There are upstairs toys and downstairs toys (and cupboard toys as we have too many). I rotate every few weeks so all the toys get a chance to be downstairs.

JollyRedGiant Wed 30-Jan-13 18:45:34

DS is 21mo. Once he has a sibling his small, more dangerous toys will stay in his room.

Zappo Wed 30-Jan-13 19:32:39

I have a very small house. I cannot keep anything upstairs in DC bedroom beyond a few books and cuddly toys. Everything stays in the living room. We are lucky to have one large storage cupboard in living room and have a shelving unit and plastic boxes. We also have a shed. DH regularly takes stuff out to the shed (he hates clutter), I regularly bring it back in (I'm doing the most entertaining).

I know people whose sitting rooms are so toy free that you'd never know they had kids. I like having a messy child friendly house though. I've given it over to them and will get some adult space back if we manage to move (would love a playroom to put everything in!).

FullLegBikiniandUnderArm Wed 30-Jan-13 19:38:44

For smallest DS (20 months) I have 4 boxes/crates of toys which stay in his bedroom. Every morning I bring out a different box for him to play with and every night I pack it up and put it back in his room. The older two DS's (6 and 3.5) keep their toys 2 big material hampers / sacks in their bedroom with books and jigsaws kept in a bookcase in their room. Same again, every night I just chuck any stray toys back in their hampers because I like to reclaim the kitchen/living room for us in the evening. I have a small basket under a coffee table that I keep a few books for DS3 in just so they are to hand during the day. Having said that, I live in a bungalow, so I'm not traipsing up and down stairs to do this.

Dancergirl Wed 30-Jan-13 19:40:28

The dds have some toys in their bedrooms and we have some downstairs. We have built in cupboards under the tv so everything can be stored in there. Also have some bigger toys that are just out - dolls house, toy kitchen etc.

TBH I can't see why so many people get upset about having toys around. Nice to have everything put away of an evening, but if it doesn't happen it's not the end of the world. After dd3 has done a puzzle she likes it to stay complete for a while.

I'm enjoying it while it lasts. One day they'll grow up and leave home and bet I'd do anything then to have a few toys around!

Matildaduck Wed 30-Jan-13 20:03:03

Good simple storage is the key. Splitting the toys by type and giving an easy to use tub, box or basket. If the cars for example always go in the blue box it's easy. Never buy a new type of toy without allocating storage. It also helps to have less categories, it's the random crap that causes problems. bin it all less stuff also helps.

Children find it easy to tidy them away when everything has a home. We have lego\ duplo downstairs, games, arts and crafts.

The remainder in bedrooms to be brought down and returned. Their stuff they need to learn to manage it.

marking my place for later.

Organised toy storage is up there with perpetual motion & turning base metal into gold grin

ceeveebee Wed 30-Jan-13 20:30:09

We have a pretty large living room and have cordoned off a quarter of it for the DCs, with foam mats, big push a long toys,pop up tent rocking horse etc and a tox box.
We have another toy box in the nursery and regularly rotate toys around with the one in the living room.
Some books are upstairs (the ones that are used for bedtime story reading) and some downstairs on our bookshelves (the noisy/activity books)

JollyRedGiant Wed 30-Jan-13 20:52:14

I agree that toys shouldn't all be hidden away. This is DS's home too.

Zappo Wed 30-Jan-13 21:02:11

If you've ever though you just have too many toys etc, there's lots of good stuff in here about decluttering your environment

MortifiedAdams Wed 30-Jan-13 21:08:49

We use the larger one of these which holds most of dds toys. She is 1.1 and looks so cute stood up at it bringing stuff out and putting it back in again.

After shes gone to bed we chuck everything back into it and put a throw and some cushions on. Makes a great sturdy seat too. We use the smaller one in our room for linen but will go to DD too when she is needing more storage.

Her ride on toys are stored in her room and we usually bring one into the lounge for a week or so and then swap it witg another one. In her room, she has the other ride on, a little pile of.softtoys on the bottom of her bookcase, and a pile of.books.

MortifiedAdams Wed 30-Jan-13 21:08:59

We use the larger one of these which holds most of dds toys. She is 1.1 and looks so cute stood up at it bringing stuff out and putting it back in again.

After shes gone to bed we chuck everything back into it and put a throw and some cushions on. Makes a great sturdy seat too. We use the smaller one in our room for linen but will go to DD too when she is needing more storage.

Her ride on toys are stored in her room and we usually bring one into the lounge for a week or so and then swap it witg another one. In her room, she has the other ride on, a little pile of.softtoys on the bottom of her bookcase, and a pile of.books.

MortifiedAdams Wed 30-Jan-13 21:09:40

oops sorry for the 2x post.

Iamalmost40 Wed 30-Jan-13 21:22:01

Ds who is 4 always plays in the lounge so most of his toys are down here. We have fake leather ottomans from Argos which were cheap and hold loads. Also good because they don't have sharp corners. I can't really imagine him playing alone in his bedroom but he does have some things up there that he can play when he has friends round or he can bring downstairs.

thunksheadontable Wed 30-Jan-13 21:34:27

This is the kind of thread that a few short months ago I would have looked at and thought "what, discussion of the day, must be a slow day on MN" but having had a recent renaissance in terms of decluttering, I now can answer this question in exquisite and painstaking detail!

Kitchen - we have a 50's style pantry and in it we have an Ikea duktig kitchen that houses: playdough, baking equipment, "cleaning" equipment (and some real cleaning stuff for ds to help out in kitchen with), toy food, a toy kettle/toaster/kitchen utensils. We also made a bench using an Ikea storage thingy and it houses the arts and crafts and jigsaws as I don't want the kids getting into these on their own because they throw paint everywhere and lose all the jigsaw pieces need some supervision with them.

Lounge - We have a trofast storage thingy from Ikea. This used to have tubs of toys in it but we have stripped it way back and put in shelves so there are now five or six books, an Octopod, duplo, some stacking cups, rattles and a shape sorter. When the kids go to bed, we throw a table clothover it and it functions as a coffee table and we can pretend that the room is kiddy free.

Bathroom - Bath toys, of course!

Boys' room - we converted their wardrobe which was a built in when we bought the house into a reading nook. It was a really odd shape, deep and very wide but with small doors so it was very hard to get into the corners, so we built in some shelves ourselves by hacking some ikea storage. When you open the door, you can see a blanket hanging on the wall and some arty farty bits decorative features hmm, giant cushions and a cosy fleecy blanket with stars on it that is hanging from a Grundtal rail. To the sides there is a trofast hacked storage shelf with animals, bricks, vehicles, musical instruments, puppets and "little men" (e.g. firemen sam and the like). On the other side there are book shelves. Up high there are flexible buckets with more flashy toys in that don't come down everyday but are great for when you need a break! We have two night lights in there and chalkboard paint on the door and a hung abacus so they can draw on the doors. Big hit. We call it the "play and read" nook.

Finally, we have an expedit (four bits) between the beds. This is empty and they can make things with bricks etc on it - my 3 year old makes it into a shop, a castle, a hospital etc. I got the idea on Pinterest, as I did most of these ideas!

thunksheadontable Wed 30-Jan-13 21:35:30

exquisiteLY painstaking detail. Not suggesting it is in and of itself exquisite hmm

MortifiedAdams Wed 30-Jan-13 21:39:04

Ooh yes I love Pinterest for ideas. Live the expedit dolls house.

LapinDeBois Wed 30-Jan-13 22:20:24

Quite reassured by this thread. We've always had a bunch of toys downstairs and a bunch of toys upstairs, but most of my friends seem to have perfect, adult-only living rooms and I was beginning to feel a bit inadequate (even though perfect houses aren't really my thing). I'm glad to see that others also treat the living room as a shared space with their kids. That said, we have one of those foam letter play mats in the living room which stays down all the time, and I HATE it. It's so useful, though, not to mention educational, that I can't see DH agreeing to get rid of it for a couple of years yet. Roll on that day!

Arthurfowlersallotment Wed 30-Jan-13 22:31:29

Flexi tubs are good.

isthisacrazyidea Wed 30-Jan-13 22:39:17

Everything is downstairs except books and teddies. I've accepted that my lounge will look like Toys R Us for the next few years! I'd like to store some stuff in DS's bedroom but he is a bugger with sleep and won't get into bed if there are "playing with" toys in his room. Every so often one gets up there by mistake, so DH or I try to sneak them out without him noticing grin

MrsPear Wed 30-Jan-13 22:45:22

Louisanablue that is such a great idea about books. We are moving soon and need new storage for mine anyway so will be adding his too.

Anyway toys - during the day they are everywhere and then the first job of the night time routine is to tidy them all away into his bedroom.

We are also using the dining room as a playroom at the moment, especially since I'm on maternity leave and dd (3yrs) can use the table for her play doh, colouring, making stuff etc - we're doing a lot of craft stuff since I've been home. Unfortunately most of it just gets pushed into an ever growing pile at the end when it's mealtime... Also in there are dd's kitchen and baskets of playfood and two sets of shelving with other toys on.

In the living room there is a lidded toy box with her stuff in it, a small basket of octonauts and the baby's toys (he's 4 months) so a playmat and a basket of toys. The hallway is knocked through to the living room and has a small sideboard where we keep board games and jigsaws (and plenty of junk!)

In dd's bedroom are most of the books - the newest ones are in the living room - a bouncy zebra thing (that I can't bear to look at downstairs!) and a small basket of toys. The bathroom has more octonauts...

It's clear as soon as you walk through the door that children live here and I like that - I do see it as their house as much as ours and I want them to be able to access their things easily. I don't however want to live in a toy shop, so lots of storage!

As for our books, we have 'done an ikea' and have shelves everywhere! There is a tall bookcase in the living room, a short bookcase in the bedroom, 2 billys in the dining room (though they don't just house books), 3 shelves at the bottom of the stairs and a long shelf up high running the length of the hallway.

Murtette Wed 30-Jan-13 23:17:31

We have a playroom but it should actually be called a "place where the toys live room" as DD hardly ever plays in there, preferring to play in the sitting room where we are... which I like. I think that as she has (baby) DS get older, they will play more in the playroom and eventually it will become their den but I do like us all being together. I sorted the playroom just before DS was born and it now has a lot of the Argos equivalent of IKEA Expedit (as it saved a trip to IKEA!) with a mixture of their fabric storage tubs (for things like mega bloks, dolls & dolls' clothes and other things which DD has enough of to justify a whole cube) and then clear plastic food storage tubs for things like cars, animals, people as then she doesn't have to open them all to find what she wants. Things like books, games & jigsaws are just stacked.
The sideboard in the dining room is the one cupboard in the house with a lock on it and contains alcohol, cleaning products, paint & play doh! A kitchen drawer has paper & crayons in it as then, if a meal gets delayed, DD can do drawing. In her bedroom she has more Argos storage with toys & she plays with these in the morning between waking and disturbing us or when I'm upstairs cleaning or tidying & she's got bored of helping. These toys are all selected to be quiet! Most of her books are upstairs.
And there's the loft which has toys she's grown out of and I'm saving for DS, toys she didn't play with much and which are having a period out with the plan being that, if she doesn't ask for them, they'll go to the charity shop and some favourite toys & games that I'd got sick of (like the Shopping List game which DD would happily play 20 times a day).

MildredIsMyAlterEgo Wed 30-Jan-13 23:23:41

Where do we keep the toys?
First glance would suggest everyfuckingwhere except the toy boxes
Second glance confirms it
<closes eyes and drinks gin>

MrsDimples Thu 31-Jan-13 01:05:19

Toys live in our living room. Ikea Ivar shelves with a variety of Ikea Samla boxes holding different toys. Everything has a dedicated box and a place on a shelf. Piece of piss to tidy up.

Also a plantable that Ikea Trofast tubs fit under.

We have lots of each type of toy, but not lots of different types of toy, if that makes sense. I find in DD's case, the more she has of one thing the more play she gets out of it.

I believe the environment is as much the child's and they should have access to their toys and be able to play.

Now can someone come and organise my stuff & life bits please blush grin

MrsDimples Thu 31-Jan-13 01:06:01




lolalotta Thu 31-Jan-13 06:09:34

If you feel overwhelmed have you thought about toy rotation? Pack a few of the toys away and then in a few weeks bring them back into play and pack a few others away. My DD, 3, responds really well to this.

In theory in the fake black leather ottomans in lounge as no room in bedrooms . Do try and declutter of night but done nights just to worn out and Want to flop

But must admit older ones well no toys any more unless count computers as they are teens

But still 3 younger ones and tbh I'm happy that they want to be downstairs and not in bedrooms like older ones

BeaWheesht Thu 31-Jan-13 07:32:45

Well we have far too many toys thanks to overly generous family members! Ds has just turned 6 and dd is 2.

They have toys and books in their rooms. The dining room is currently a play room so lots of toys in there and there and 3 big storage boxes under the coffee table in the lounge. However, looking at my living room just now it looks like there's been am explosion in toys r us! Will have a clear up later and then I'm going to try to be strict!

Pascha Thu 31-Jan-13 07:35:42

Most of it is downstairs in the toybox right now, plus a couple of ride on things, a fold up slide, trampoline and some Lego in a tub. Upstairs is his brio and some books.

We need to get some outside storage for some things to make room for DS2's baby toys now.

noviceoftheday Thu 31-Jan-13 08:15:06

Our biggest reception room is the kids playroom so the majority of the toys live there. The room is huge and yet we are still overrun with toys! They only have books and favourite soft toys in their rooms, otherwise on toys allowed upstairs in theory. We keep colouring books, crayons, a couple of puzzles in our bedroom for the occasional early morning visit when dh and I don't want to get out of bed.

thunksheadontable Thu 31-Jan-13 11:33:19

I would say get rid as many as you can. Rotation is a good way to start when you feel the stuff is too good to chuck. You will be amazed at how little small ones seem to really care about the toys when they are suddenly gone. The more they have, the less they attach to what they do have.

One thing I struggle with is resisting the urge to buy new stuff. I really wanted to buy new furniture for that expedit doll's house when I got the idea... but I knew it was just bringing more in and actually he uses the bricks/animals/vehicles he already has and is probably getting more out of it than if I bought a whole load of expensive high quality wooden furniture. We are finally going to give the family that list that they want too and ask for just the stuff we want - nice animal toys, nice bricks etc etc. When they get older I appreciate this will be harder but definitely while they are under 7 I want to pare back to half nothing, and after that, I want them to earn pocket money and learn to save up. Trying to stop this whole culture of excess. The amount of stuff we had accumulated for two small boys in three years was just crazy and totally unsustainable: for our sanity, our pockets, our living areas and the environment in general. It was realising I was breeding a sense of entitlement and consumerism that really woke me up to the need to just STOP. So far, so good...

reastie Thu 31-Jan-13 18:29:09

We try to keep it under control hmm . We have a little table and chairs in the dining room and that's it DD wise. In the kitchen she has a small cupboard she puts some toys in to keep her quiet (that's the theory) whilst I cook. In the sitting room we have a small toy basket with a lid with a select amount of books and toys for when we are in there and she also has a little wicker chair in their too. She has a playroom when we shove carefully place most of her bits. Upstairs she has a cupboard with toys in an abook case with books and artistically placed hmm vintage toys which were mine when I was little. We also have an under bed drawer in our bedroom with toys in to keep her occupied when she's up for the day too early and we are too tired to do anything with her blush . So they are all over the house but when things are tidy <hollow laugh> it doesn't feel like they are taking over the house.

Doitnicelyplease Fri 01-Feb-13 23:53:18

In our last house (we just left) we turned our kitchen/diner into a kitchen/play area, it worked really well with a big rug in the middle, play kitchen, armchair for adults, small TV up on the wall, trofast unit (with duplo, sticklebricks etc) and small table and chair set. I am home with the DDs all day so it made sense to have a dedicated area downstairs while they were young.

I also had a great hall cupboard that housed, art stuff, playdoh, puzzles, games.

We moved dining table down by the living area in order to do this. We were planning on moving it back once the DD were older, in school most days and played upstairs more, but we have moved now.

Trying to think of similar solutions for our new house we are moving into soon, it has a smaller less open downstairs. I think the dining room will need to be dining/family/play area (we will put the trofast in there and the play kitchen) and there are some cupboards downstairs in the basement for all the crafty stuff. Hopefully I can make it work as well as our old house.

mumoftwoboysS Mon 04-Feb-13 09:54:01

Sounds similar to me then- mine mostly play downstairs though they do play upstairs too. I too have an IKEA storage shelving system downstairs with boxes in them full of toys- plus a basket! I agree with someone who said you want the kids to feel like its their area too but I also don't want to be swamped and constantly tripping over toys! My mum is so the opposite- she used to clear all the toys from the lounge to make it look like you don't have kids in the evening - wtf?? But then her house is a show home so I guess she's always been like that!

thanks for all your replies. Good to know I'm not the only one trying to find a balance and constantly returning migrating toys to their homes!

Lins58 Sat 23-Feb-13 19:33:25

I had this problem some years ago and found the solution in an antique pine storage chest which doubled as a coffee table. Subsequently this went off to university and became the first piece of furniture in my son's home. I would recommend this as a lasting solution. However, antique pine chests are not easy to find but check out which makes beautiful oak ottomans and toy boxes which do the same job and are designed to become family heirlooms. I've used them for personalised memory boxes to be given as wedding/christening presents and all have been received with delight.

mumoftwoboysS Sat 02-Mar-13 20:19:22

Lins58 That's a great idea- something that offers storage and doubles as a coffee table. Our coffee table is looking a bit tired so I'll bear it in mind if we decide to replace it in future.

Inclusionist Sun 03-Mar-13 15:27:41

We are a bit Montessori-ish at home. DS (2.6) has very few, very well chosen, toys (maybe 5 - 10) out at any one time. We make sure these are good quality ones that closely match his development. We rotate what he has out and pass on things once he is fully passed them (allowing time for them to be 'easy' choices).

We have a 4x4 expedit and he has 6 shelves for individual toys (in trays or open baskets) 2 clear expedit boxes for train track/ accessories and 2 shelves for books.

He doesn't have any bulky plastic toys at all (or anything with an on switch!!). This does not seem to make him feel deprived in any way!

mumoftwoboysS Tue 05-Mar-13 20:11:28

Inclusionist I'm interested in your methods! How do you cope with well meaning friends/relatives buying those bulky noisy plastic toys?? mine have about 4 plastic helicopters of different shapes and sizes already, only one doesn't make a noise and that's just the flying vehicles (they love cars, trucks, trains, etc too) I do think that kids can have too many toys to play with and end up not knowing what to play with or not playing with any of them particularly well. I've tried the rotation system but we probably don't put enough toys away each time. So are your toys mostly wooden/blocks/ building things etc if not plastic and noisy?

Inclusionist Tue 05-Mar-13 21:46:52

At the moment (just looking round his shelves) DS has out:

a set of schleich farm animals and fence pieces in a green tray
a money box and coins in a tray
3 tubs of playdough and range of cutters/ presses in a basket
a wooden letters jigsaw thingy
an abacus (strangely popluar atm)
a box with some little wooden people and dolls house furniture

He also has access to his train set/ trains and a range of books at all times.

He has pens/paper whenever he wants etc and I do other things with him at home but I get those out and then we put them away again when finished.

I have a toy shift around once a fortnight or so switching anything that isn't getting used much. I'm afraid if people give us stuff we don't want I make sure we know we are genuinely, really grateful for the thought, let him play with it for a week and then it goes to the Children's Ward.

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