Monday, December 17, 2012

Our Version of Perfect Toy Storage

When we were moving from our 1100 sq ft house in IL, to the 700 sq ft duplex we would rent in IA.
I knew a big part of successfully fitting our things into a smaller home was figuring out the toy situation.

Toys can take over any house, especially a little one.

I discovered pinterest a few months before we moved and was all over it trying to find a good solution for us.

Most the toy storage solutions I saw were for bins. Like those square-holed bookshelves with canvas bins kind of thing.

I was just kinda "meh" on the look of these type of things.
But the bigger issue for me was the fact that many of the toys we had at the time for our toddler were larger than those bins. 
This shelf would only hold the small toys, what would I do with those pretend guitars, toy ambulances, all-one-piece little toy villages that were much larger than those boxes, that we had?

I needed to figure out something better for us.

Then I saw this:

This is actually a laundry solution (I bet you figured that out.)
And its actually an ingenious laundry solution for people like me who don't ever feel like folding laundry right away.
I love it for that idea.

when I saw those laundry baskets
 I knew our big toys would fit in there perfectly.

I was very excited!

I fell in love 
and made a plan with Blake
 for how we were gonna make these into actual furniture for our living room, 
so we could store away the toys.

I started looking for inspiration pieces to help us turn these basic cabinets into some more "put together" modern furniture.
(If you are curious here are the ones I liked that inspired our end result.)

I had wanted it done ASAP once we moved.
We didn't get it made until Ruby was already born.

Part of my super-busy post-pregnancy-nesting bonanza I had been talking about.

I don't really recommend it.

I was trying to get these puppies painted while my freshly turned two year old and my barely one month old slept -- I wasn't sleeping ever! lol!

But these cabinets were worth it!

Blake was awesome and basically learned how to make stuff out of wood just because I wanted these!
That's love!
He did a great job!

He had to tweak the original plans we had found for these cabinets 
in order for there to be room for the doors to close over the baskets.

And he did a great job figuring all that out.
Taking into account my need for unseen hinges.
I'm so proud of him!

Know what else he did?
Made a specialized cabinet just for our DVD player and DVDs
Check that out...
he made working drawers!
I asked for this cabinet, but even I didn't imagine something so snazzy!

Anyone notice we are watching Sleeping Beauty, so mommy can take pictures?

Also, I don't know how noticeable it is, 
but it looks like the cabinets aren't quite level,
the little legs are adjustable and we need to lower the right cabinet a pinch. I think the weight of the TV presses the other cabinet down into the carpet a bit.
Blake did get theses all made evenly.
Just needed to declare his quality workmanship.

I'm not sure how into this two tone look anyone else would be, 
including the natural wood fronts,
but I'm in love with it.

And I've always believed in decorating for yourself (and your family) not others.

Here's how the baskets are held up.

Then for some of our smaller knick-knacks
I went to the dollar store and bought three different sizes of food storage containers
to organize different types of toys.

So we have tools in one, doctor stuff in another...that kind of thing.
And since I've been doing that, our floor has stayed cleaner. Jasmine is surprisingly willing to play with only one bin at a time before putting it away to get a new one!

Our living room is really small so it keeps rotating, as Ruby grows,
 before we had a rocking chair in this spot, now we have her jumper thingy.

We also keep more toys in two square storage ottomans you can {sorta} see in front of our "love seat." Those are great too. Perfect for little people learning to walk, because they are padded for face-falling-into-them purposes. And they can also hold a coffee cup if you flip the lid!

Here is our Christmas Tree up on our cabinets.
(We haven't had a real sized tree since Jasmine's first Christmas...this 3 ft prelit tree is just our speed in the young family days.)

And for fun...
My thrifted vintage Christmas table cloth!
Love it!

So that's our classy toy solution!
I'm really glad we did it!
It's perfect for us!


  1. Very good, Dr. Johnson! and i do love the tablecoth.

  2. That's awesome! I've been staring at the toys lately wondering what I am going to do with them. Christmas is coming and with that means..more toys. Do you have any thoughts on what to do for a guestroom. I am kind of thinking about getting rid of ours and just having a pullout couch or something. I hate not giving guests a space to be in when they are here but they are hear maybe a total of 5-7 days per year. Hardly seems worth it to have a room reserved for that purpose! Thoughts?

    1. We only have 3 bedrooms rooms here, and 4 people, so we don't have an official guest room. We have our bedroom, Jasmine's room, and the "everything else room" (I'd say it extra, really counts as "everything" seeing as how it was where Ruby was born!) In the everything room we now have a computer desk, a sewing table, a cedar hope chest full of my fabric stash, a rocking chair and crib. They are placed around the room so the center is clear, so when someone comes to stay we can put up the air mattress. (To make it comfy, we put a down pillow-topper on it, and over that a foam egg create.) When not in use it goes in our linen closet. (Once Ruby sleeps in there consistently, I imagine Blake and I will sleep on the air mattress in her room, and give our bed to the guests, to keep it simple.)
      We keep all Ruby's stuff (clothes, blankets, diapers) in Jasmine's room. So only the crib is in the "everything room."
      It works great for us. I just had to be ok with a "multi purpose room" in my mind.
      The trick for us fitting in this place was to be very picky about what we keep -- furniture and belongings wise. I actually love living here because of that very reason, I don't feel guilty about editing down our belongings. We do keep extra stuff in the garage (kids clothes/maternity clothes in bins) and a little bit of over flow stuff. But I try to keep it all at a minimum. I'm always editing things down more and more. We are actually really happy with the closet space there, so that helps a lot.
      Anyway, that's a ton of rambling.
      I say there is no need for a "real guest room" just a rotating space.

  3. Great post, really enjoyed reading it. Storage ottomans are great for storing loose items like toys in and they also provide additional seating.


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