Airy, well-flowing, open concept floorplans were the only kind my husband and I looked at when building our house. We'd walk through show homes noting how our furniture would fit here and there, imagining the finishes we might choose instead, and never once thinking about the incredible amount of, for lack of a better word, STUFF we'd accrue once children came along! Over the course of three years I've learned a lot about mitigating kid clutter but I'll never say no to great inspo and I know there are sooo many parents out there who could also use some tips, so I called upon a few of my most picture-perfect blogger friends to ask how they were keeping toymagedden at bay. Whether you too are in an open concept or you're just trying to find a balance between life and play, this post is for you.
Andrea, Mamma Mode
I prefer play areas that blend into the living spaces and can be whisked away when company is over! To create play space in a shared area consider using a corner with several baskets of different shapes and sizes. These can be filled with toys and create a beautiful design statement when they are not being used. Thai floor cushions make a cozy reading corner and a fun play space that can double as a fort. A long roll of IKEA paper and a box of crayons can make any room into a huge art area in minutes which can be rolled back up and worked on over time!
Jacqueline Conway, TrendBlazer
Managing clutter when kids are involved is something I think every parent is battling on the daily. My disposition is to be tidying regularly and I'd say I clean my home easily for 30 minutes to an hour each day (not all at the same time). However, what has made the biggest difference to managing baby and kid stuff all over our home was reading "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up".
After reading that book, I prioritized our lifestyle vision alongside what the kids need. Then I shopped for economical pieces that didn't sacrifice the continuity and flow of our home while providing ample storage with style. So, yes, we have puzzles, art supplies, stuffed animals, play kitchen within our main space, but I've managed to find a place to "hide" these things or disguise them easily when I want our space to feel airy and tidy. And hot tip, I organize by activity. So, games with games, musical toys together, etc. That way I find it's very fast to get things put away when my husband Dave and I want to chill like we're 25 again.
Another strategy I've used to manage toy clutter is to rotate often, and sometimes after birthdays or Christmas, we introduce new things over a couple of months, so our home isn't bursting from the seams.
Stefani Rose Martin, Bold Motherhood Club
Running a business and working from home with 4 kids means our house is always busy!! During the summer the big kids have to get all the morning chores done before any play time or screen time can happen. Things like feeding the dogs, putting the clean dishes away, folding laundry. This helps us start each day off with a clean house. Doing little jobs every day means we never feel like we have a ton of house work to do. Simple things like wiping down the counters and the stove after each meal keeps the kitchen fresh and more inviting. I love working at my kitchen island. I am also constantly tidying up the baby and toddler toys to make sure things never get too crazy. Sometimes if I am super busy with work stuff the living room starts to look like a tiny toy war zone. But if it keeps my toddler busy while I work - it is worth the extra clean up time. We shoot videos, run social media accounts, write and record music. We are very creative people and encourage our kids to be creative with us. It's important to me that the kids are not just sitting in front of the TV all day so I try to encourage them to play, read and be creative themselves. We have quiet solo creative time screen time but most of the time we are loud and crazy!!
Rachel Gordon, Twinsie Tips
I am a neat freak who loves design, so when we were looking for houses, an open concept was a must have. That was before kids. Fast forward to a house filled with 15-month-old twin girls, and I am still glad we chose an open concept because now I have an eye on my girls at all times. The decor has changed a bit, but I love having my girls play in the family area it makes the home will warm and loved.
I always swore I wouldn’t be one of those people who let toys take over their home. So first I had tiny little chest with a few toys in our living room, but it just wasn’t practical. I needed to find a balance between aesthetic and function. Instead, we utilized the area between our living space and kitchen in our open concept home. We have a shelving unit with storage baskets (super affordable- it’s from Walmart), as well as a play kitchen, and comfy area for sitting/ reading. It’s easy to clean up and not a major eyesore. Win win.
In my own home, I find using area rugs to dictate designated spaces like my living room and entrance works well for play, too. The space in front of the stairs, for instance, has been home to a couple iterations of "playrooms", first with toy baskets and a reading chair and later with a little kitchen. Both times, I felt that so long as everything stayed on that mat, the rest of my house held a semblance of normalcy. Now, a credenza full of games, toys, and books lives there, but it hasn't put a dent in our bookshelf's workload... a piece of furniture that, incidentally, doubles as a stage.
Thanks to my fellow bloggers for contributing their tips to maintaining a bit of order while making a shared space kid-friendly. If you haven't already clicked through to their blogs, here's your chance to do so! Mamma Mode // TrendBlazer // Bold Motherhood Club // Twinsie Tips // Kelsi Kendel.