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Playroom - Please help!

(29 Posts)
Valsoldknickers Mon 10-Nov-14 09:45:53

Big family occasion coming up and I would love to have all downstairs rooms open and tidy.

My older children (eldest ds 9) have a playroom which is like a gigantic cupboard with stuff shoved into it and the door just shut (out of sight, out of mind!)

There's lots of lego - half made sets (which were expensive as you know). We have always sorted lego by theme so I need to get kids involved to help to tidy that part of the mess up.

Please can you give me tips on how to approach a room that is bulging with tons of stuff? It's like a mental block I have just not knowing how to start. It gets me down a little bit, tbh. Throw into the mix a 10 mo who doesn't nap much!

I would post a photo but because of the, er, distinctive wall colour I would be outed in a heartbeat.

Many, many thanks in advance.

ClariceBeanthatsme Mon 10-Nov-14 09:58:31

Maybe write down a plan ie tackle a certain area every day (nap time)
Get hold of some cardboard boxes and label...bin/charity shop/keep.

I think storage is key. Ikea style storage with drawers labelled.
We have a large wicker basket with lid that at the end of the day you can tidy toys away hide

Maybe large coloured plastic boxes that stack to store separately the different lego sets?

whattodoforthebest2 Mon 10-Nov-14 10:01:44

I used a large toolbox for lego and Knex bits and pieces, ones with different sized compartments and drawers for different parts.

Muchtoomuchtodo Mon 10-Nov-14 10:02:25

Get rid of as much as you can.

Dc will need to help organise the Lego, otherwise it all can be put into large tubs.

Valsoldknickers Mon 10-Nov-14 10:06:09

Agree on the storage (could namechange to Queen of Storage!), have two argos pine things with six large plastic boxes in each one. I also have a large Kallax unit (16 pigeon holes) still in it's box in the utility room (unmade as I can't get it into the playroom, too cluttered!)

When mess is overwhelming is it better to work on set tasks or bursts of tidying activity based on time (for example 20 min slots of doing anything to try to tackle the mess?)

whatsagoodusername Mon 10-Nov-14 10:14:43

Boxes. Lots and lots of boxes.

We've got four Ikea Expedit shelf units (Ikea has now replaced with Kallax) and lots of their Drona boxes - so 32 boxes. Most of the time, the toys are not in the boxes, but it can be tidied away, and quite quickly if I'm not being fussy about toys being in the boxes they belong in.

whatsagoodusername Mon 10-Nov-14 10:16:36

Throw all toys into another room, build the Kallax, return toys to the playroom. Put them all away as you're doing it, bin anything that doesn't have a home at the end of it.

Valsoldknickers Mon 10-Nov-14 11:48:20

To remedy this it has to get nasty doesn't it? The one and only time that the room looked nice and tidy I had to do what whatsagoodusername says. It was hellish in the kitchen and sitting room for a week or two ( I was redecorating with the 'interesting' wall colour and painting the furniture at the time).

I have attempted to tidy before but my DH sarkily congratulated me on rearranging the crap into an interesting different formation (ie not making a dent in the tidying of the room) blush

I will have to banish baby ( who wasn't here the last time it happened) to his playpen while I try to do this. I almost feel like puking at the prospect of it!

erin99 Mon 10-Nov-14 12:10:03

You're right, it has to get a LOT worse before it gets better.

Don't be afraid to split things. It's ok to get rid of half a train track, or half the dolls. Use the box as a limiter. You don't need more than one box full of any one thing, and it shouldn't be crammed in either.

My solutions usually involve buying a load of new ikea boxes, somewhere along the line. Try not to do this!

MangoBiscuit Mon 10-Nov-14 12:18:56

I would get dronas boxes, then fill them up with the toys, in some kind of order if possible, but I wouldn't be too fussy to start with. Then move the boxes out, or pile them up somewhere, and make the kallax unit up. They're super easy, but I recommend using a hammer and a bit of scrap wood (as a buffer, so you don't dent the surfaces) to get the shelves fully in place.

Get the boxes in place, fill any non-box cubbies with books or whatever. When you have the floor back, you can then take your time sorting stuff one box at a time. Or get your kids to do it. Bribe as needed.

We use a lot of dronas boxes, different colour for each DD, and a rule that you can only get one box out at a time. If lots come out and a big mess is made, then I tidy it up. Which means I sort, tidy, and donate a LOT to charity. Leaving it for me to tidy is usually avoided at all costs.

CiderwithBuda Mon 10-Nov-14 13:41:11

Do they play with all of the toys? Sounds like there is so much they might be overwhelmed? Rotating the toys is a good option if you can store in the loft or something.

So clear some out into boxes and put them away.

Get a bin bag and throw away anything obviously broken.

Have a box for bits thst need to go with other bits - lone jigsaw or game bits etc.

Mumto3dc Mon 10-Nov-14 13:47:53

For now I would probably not try to sort Lego - that task would be guaranteed to drive anyone insane, let alone with a 10moshock.
Just put Lego in boxes to be sorted at a later date.

I would also be very ruthless, either charity shop lots, or box up and put in the loft if you can't face getting rid.

I would probably zone the room and tackle little areas at a time. I would also order the dc around giving very small specific tasks at a time. Eg get them all putting Lego in boxes until all Lego is clear etc.

Valsoldknickers Mon 10-Nov-14 19:19:45

Thank you for all the advice so far. I am getting very motivated!

The screenshot will give you a bit of an idea of what I am dealing with. Not exactly teenager's bedroom territory I know (no food or clothes involved) but I have a problem with knowing where and how to start. There are so many little bits and pieces of stuff (esp lego) everywhere confused

ClawHandsIfYouBelieveInFreaks Mon 10-Nov-14 19:24:32

Prepare for throwing a lot out. Really, really cut back. My DDs had a room like that and I binned anything with pieces missing and donated anything not played with for 6 months.

Now they have two large boxes of toys plus puzzles and games on shelves...a shelf each.

it is MORE than enough.

lightningstrikes Mon 10-Nov-14 19:32:44

I think you need to declutter - when kids make huge messes it tends to be because there is too much there and they get overwhelmed.

In my playroom I have used an expedit unit and various other bits to partition the room by type of activity - this helps to make distinctive 'areas' for play and seems to stop the worst of the toy stray. So I have a car track rug in one area with the toy cars, wooden bricks, lego, small animals etc for building and small world floor play. In another area I have a faux sheepskin and some beanbags next to a bookcase with books for a quieter reading area. I've also arranged the play kitchen so that it is kind of enclosed like a little home area with a rack of dressing up clothes. Games and art supplies are in a cupboard near the door to the dining room so that those things can be brought through to the table. I also have a low cubby unit in that area they can stand next to and use the top as a workspace.

They still make a mess of the playroom, but they know where things go and I'm careful to clear out stuff regularly (anything broken, missing pieces, too many of one type of toy, etc). I also make them clear it up daily, so giant messes don't get out of control. I hope that is useful and good luck with it!

erin99 Mon 10-Nov-14 21:05:04

That does look intimidating. I think you need to get stuck in to remind yourself what's there. Once you've pulled it all out and seen it all, your brain will start to think up ways to group the stuff into some sort of logical order, and what you can chuck. Sleep on it for a couple of nights.

Stuff like games and puzzles you can sort through, keep a few, store away a few, bin/charity shop the rest. But the trickiest bits are the random bits that don't fit anywhere else.

Oh, and don't forget a box for random party bag/ stocking crap. Essential!

dreamteamgirl Mon 10-Nov-14 21:14:10

15-20 minute bursts are good
Why not start with 3 bags, 1 each for rubbish, recycling and charity shop.
Go in there and just find 15 things for each bag. Then build one box and. Pick up - say- all the cars and out it in. Then all the dolls into another. Then do another 3 bag zone. All these can be done whilst the baby is awake.

After that set a timer for 15 mins whilst the baby sleeps and blast through one tiny corner sorting into keep and go. Then have a cuppa xx

Valsoldknickers Tue 02-Dec-14 20:02:48

Thank you for your words of encouragement and advice. I finished today after tidying, culling, binning and recycling. I am quite chuffed and the DC's are thrilled! Now for the rest of the house (gulp)!

Fourarmsv2 Tue 02-Dec-14 22:55:04

Well done!!

orangeplum Tue 02-Dec-14 23:13:51

Wow! What a difference.

Now I need to do the same!!!

What tips were most useful?

ItIsntJustAPhase Tue 02-Dec-14 23:15:48

I am absolutely in awe. That is an incredible transformation. You must be so so thrilled. I'm inspired!

Did you chuck loads?

sillymillyb Tue 02-Dec-14 23:23:46

Wow! That's incredible! Love the wall colour too smile

Valsoldknickers Wed 03-Dec-14 00:13:25

Thank you very much! I did throw away a good bit. I had to do it while the older DC's were in school or otherwise they would have hindered progress. They were great at sorting the Lego.

The Drona boxes and Kallax unit from Ikea are great because the toys are hidden in the boxes. The open shelving you see in the first picture was a disaster, it could never look tidy.

I am not naturally tidy and my eye has been off the ball for the last few years due to bereavement but I owed it to my DC's and DH to get my finger out.

Still have lots to do before the big family event but at least I won't die of shame if the little folk want to go into the playroom for a potter.

PinkSquash Wed 03-Dec-14 18:39:48

Wow, that is an amazing transformation. I need to do something like this in our playroom

Chasingsquirrels Wed 03-Dec-14 19:34:09

Another WOW from me, you need to keep those pictures to inspire you in case it gets out of hand again.
Are the kids using the room, and their toys, more?

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