Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Top 5 storage tips for your child's room- for real children

You may recall that in my last post I mentioned that I am doing a blogging course. I am finding it very inspiring and it is really making me think about how I want my blog to be and how I can make it more enjoyable for my readers. Hopefully in the next few months you will start to see the fruits of my labour in that course come into play here. Please let me know if you have any comments, criticisms or suggestions- and also if there is anything you'd like to see me cover.

As part of our homework this week, we have been asked to come up with a list of our top tips or suggestions in our area of expertise. I thought I would share my top 5 tips for storage in children's rooms, not just from an interior designer's perspective, but also from a mother's perspective. We have all had a quiet chuckle looking at beautiful photos of kids rooms and thought "yeah, but give it half an hour with my 5 year old then see what it looks like." Well, the chance of keeping it looking good is in direct proportion to how much storage you have. So, here are my top 5 mother tips to having a great looking kids room.

1) You don't have to use wardrobes for clothes. I used old school lockers in Jake's room for clothes storage.(see the picture above taken from his Shop 4 Kids shoot) As a boy he really doesn't have much to hang up so everything can be folded. I wouldn't recommend this for girls though because as soon as they can stand up they need hanging space for all those dresses! In my experience, girls seem to need about twice as much clothes storage as boys. I know, it's not fair, but they do. In Lola's room I have a huge chest of drawers and a small-ish wardrobe. You could also think about drawers under the bed (try Domayne's Charlie bed) , bookcases with pull out sections to use for clothes as well as open shelves for books and toys, like Ikea's Expedit System (see above). Just remember, whatever you choose needs to be accessible. You will hate any storage system that requires you to be a contortionist whenever you have to put the laundry away!

2)Put away clothes (and toys) you don't use. Store the out of season clothes in drawers under the bed, in the attic, in vacuum bags, anywhere but with the rest of the clothes,. It just makes life so much easier to keep them separate. If you can do this with toys too then that's great, but I find that the "rotate the toys" system really only works for very young children. Over about the age of 3, the minute you store one of their toys it will be required for immediate use and you'll be getting it out again,

3)Cull, cull, cull. Every time you change the clothes over for the season, get rid of the stuff that is too small, worn out or simply not likely to ever be worn again. If they didn't wear it this season, they are unlikely to ever wear it again, so give it away, sell it on ebay or donate it to charity. If you can convince your child to do the same with old toys, you are very lucky. I sometimes offer to buy a new small toy for every 10 old ones donated to charity (or to a younger friend.) I also point out to my kids that if Santa thinks you have too many old toys that you don't play with, he might not bring many new ones. Mean mummy, but it usually works for a pre-Christmas clean up.

4) Give kids room to store their junk. My kids have several tubs with lids on that they can store all their own bits and pieces that I would be inclined to chuck out. McDonalds toys, broken hairclips, unidentified craft projects, you name it, they go in there. Then every 6 months or so they go through it and get rid of the things that aren't important anymore. What seems like junk to us can be very precious to small children- it's important to remember this, and give them somewhere to put it all where it won't drive you crazy.

5) Bulletin boards. My kids are not allowed to stick things on the wall, but my son in particular is a huge hoarder of every flier, party invitation, canteen menu, business card etc that he comes across (his favourite store is Officeworks- do I need to say any more?) We put up cork bulletin boards on the back of the kids doors and they can put whatever they want up on them. (Although I drew the line at the Jim Beam bumper sticker- I mean, he's 6!) And unless I am in their rooms with the doors closed, I don't have to look at them, and no-one knows they are there.
If you want to try to pretty them up, cover them in fabric to match the decor.

There you go- hope that helps! And remember, although it sometimes seems easier to let the kids rooms slide into disarray, the more you teach them to keep them tidy, the more likely it is to eventually sink in, and they will do it themselves. That's the thought that's keeping me going, anyway!


  1. hey
    popping over from BYW.
    Great post, my kids rooms drive me crazy and I must come up with better solutions. Would so love to find some lockers and paint them up.

  2. Thanks Janina, I had a look at your blog today and it is gorgeous. I have added it to my blogroll. Isn't the BYW course great?

  3. good ideas. we love our artboard for putting up best of the month's drawings!

  4. Thanks Elisa, they are great, aren't they? Just subscribed to your blog too and will add it to my blog roll- it's absolutely beautiful!

  5. Stopping by from BYW. I would love to find a Lego solution as it's overtaking our house! I'm a big fan of the Expedit bookshelves.

  6. Love these suggestions as I stare at a small toy box that is now overflowing with little bits and pieces of things that "must" be saved. A cleansing is a comin'. I love your idea for the bulletin board on the back of the door and regularly scheduled edits. I hope to make a good habit of that. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I participated in the Blogging Your Way workshop too, although a little late. Posting on a regular basis is tough for me too. Your storage ideas are great. Keep up the good work.