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The ULTIMATE Guide to an Organized Play Space

If you're a parent, I'm sure you've been faced with the dreaded task of organizing your kid's play space! Whether they are in baby, toddler, kid, or teen years; it's a challenge to keep up with decluttering and organizing ALL THE THINGS.


After ten years of teaching elementary school and having three kids of my own, I have compiled the ULTIMATE guide to an organized play space for all ages. So, let's dive in!


As with many things in life, it's nice to have a basic plan. This gives some intentionality for the play space, the ages and needs of your kids, and how to best utilize the room! During the planning phase, keep organization at the forefront of your mind.


I've said this many times so I will say it again, everything needs to have a home! This is KEY for organization and your sanity, plus it helps your kids clean up, too.


The ultimate guide to an organized play space

Shop by clicking any of the photos below!


Setting Up The Space


I can't stress this enough...LESS IS MORE! The more that is crammed into a space, the more overwhelming it becomes. The combination of too much stuff + no system to organize it leads to a lot of chaos for parents and kids.


Here are the SIX things to consider to achieve an intentional and organized play space ...



ONE: Systems to CONTAIN + SORT


There has to be a system in place to store all the stuff! This is the foundation to optimal play space organization. Count on furniture like cube storage units, stackable baskets, drawer storage, a cabinet or somewhere larger to contain the things. Then you'll utilize baskets, bins and smaller containers to sort the things into categories. For example, wooden blocks go inside a basket that is set into the cube storage furniture unit. I have all of this linked in this post, too!


Games and puzzles can take up a lot of space really fast, so I love using these bags to help cut down the bulk. They are great for little pieces too. When it comes to a collection of toys or crafts like beads, calico critters, little people, collectable cards, barbie stuff, legos - these bins are helpful and fit inside a cubby perfectly!



TWO: Open Space to PLAY


Another key to optimizing your play space, is making sure there is ample space to play. Lay down a cozy rug or have open carpet space to get on the floor. In Montessori schools, you'll often see work mats which are smaller rugs used as a child’s working space to play or work on activities and define their space. This is helpful in modeling how to work on one thing at a time and put it away before moving onto something new! Whether you want to try a work mat or just have free open space, uncluttered open area is essential!


THREE: Desk or Table Space to WORK


I'm a big advocate for including a table and work area in your place space. We have and LOVE this table (and I have tried MANY tables) because of the size and how it grows with your kids. It comes in made colors and is sturdy! I also love the paper roll attachment which we always have rolled out for coloring! Whether kids are crafting, drawing, coloring or working on something special, a table allows for comfortable space to do that.


playroom table set up

FOUR: Accessible Crafts to CREATE


This one is based on age because we all know the younger ones would have a party with accessible markers! But, as soon as you feel your kids can handle it, keep crafting materials within reach. It doesn't have to be much (remember less is more) so focus on what they are into and enjoy!

art cart and art corner in playroom

I always have a caddy with markers, colored pencils, scissors, glue sticks, crayons, etc out. You can set up a craft cart like this one, to keep paper, coloring books, water colors, dot paint markers or whatever you'd like to keep out! I keep this close to the table and it's a great way to encourage creativity!


Now, what do you do with all the crafts they create? Display some of it! These wires are the best for clipping up art work. Ikea also has a version here - we have two of these! I use little clothes pin clips so I can layer a bunch on.


Every so often you can clear it out, save the ones you want and let the rest go. If you are looking for a way to organize school papers and projects over the years, check out my blog post on a school paper bin. Anything worth saving can be taken down and popped into your bin!


FIVE: Books and Comfy Spaces to READ


If I'm in charge of a play space, you will see displayed books on photo ledges! Ikea has a version of these here, that we have purchased and liked. Not only does this keep books at an arms length, it is also great as decor.


book corner and books displayed in play room

Swap out the books for the seasons or holidays and/or rotate books in and out, as these will be the first ones your little ones grab for. Create some comfy spaces to read with pillows, cushions, bean bags or chairs for an added level of coziness.


SIX: Calm the Clutter and make it a VIBE


What do you want the vibe of your play space to be? Colorful? Serene? Dark and moody? Bright? Whatever vibe you are going for, select your decor based on the energy you want to bring to the space.


Keep the room clutter free by continually decluttering, donating and getting rid of things that are old, broken or no longer played with and used. Plan to do this seasonally. The more often you keep up with this, the less clutter will accumulate making it not-such-a dreaded task!


Here is a tip...keep a donation bag in the closet (I use a grocery bag) and as you find things that are ready to go, drop it into the bag. Often we just put junk back because we think "where else am I going to put it right now."


Make a designated spot so you can always be on clutter control. This helps keep the vibe and the energy focused on the play and less on the overwhelm.



Now you have ALL you need to create your own ultimate organized play space, or to revamp your current one! I have linked many of the things I have in my own space, or that I recommend...and you most likely have plenty of things to use as well. Shop your own house, get rid of the excess, and keep your play space happy, organized and clutter free!



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