Picking up the Playroom

Good morning! Yay for Friday!  I'm really excited to share today's post, only because I finally made real progress in the kids' playroom project.  I'm not done - not even close - but I got started and that alone is big, big news.

As part of my 2014 home resolutions, one of the biggest projects I wanted to tackle this year was to get the playroom in shape.  The playroom is a really great space on the lower level of my home: it's not a basement because it is ground level and has great light with a big sliding door to the brick patio.  Here's a picture when I first moved in - and that's only about 1/3 of the room.  This room is huge.

It also has a nice sized storage closet where the hot water heater and furnace live and where I can store my "stuff" and tools.  That closet is another area of the home that I need to tackle (but I consider it a separate projects from the kids' playroom).  Even after living here for almost 2 years, I've never really devoted much time to the playroom.  I had other, more public, areas of the home to address and the playroom is a place just for the kids.  I've sort of thrown together various storage solutions for their toys, but nothing was really thought out, as I knew I needed to spend some real thought and time making the space make sense, and I just didn't have that time.  Which is why the room often looked like this:

Because there was no real storage and no organization, the room would be OK and then ... not.  And because no one saw the room except the kids and me when I rode the trainer, I didn't really care.  Over the past few months, as I've done my many, many bike rides on the trainer, I've had some time to really think about the room and how to make it into a great space, how to organize it in a way that would completely avoid a toy disaster, and what it was that I wanted out of the room.  I realized the room needed nothing short of a complete overhaul in every sense:
  • I needed to go through all of the kids' toys and donate the stuff they no longer play with; 
  • I needed to organize the toys the kids do play with;
  • I needed to add and assemble two more tall bookshelves for storage of said toys; 
  • I needed to make the little TV area into a more functional TV watching/Wii playing area and bring in another couch/couches/chairs and furniture;
  • I needed to add more curtains (already purchased) to the sliding doors; 
  • I needed to set up the DVD player and cable; and 
  • I needed to hang stuff on the walls and make the room into a nice room rather than a random space.  
You can see why I put this off right?  It was overwhelming, and I was dragging my feet primarily because I think I wanted an instant perfectly organized, Pinterest-worthy room, but I knew I had a lot of work to do to get there.  So on [yet another] snow day when the kids were home, I got to work.  

The first thing I did was to go through all of the kids' toys and donate things the kids no longer play with.  I had their help in this process, and it was a great teaching moment about charity.  I was very impressed with their willingness to part with some of the toys they once loved.  And we donated this:

One of the challenges of having a boy and a girl is that they are interested in completely different toys!  What I've done is assign each kid a section of the playroom:  Little's area is in one spot and Big's is in another.  Once the toys were edited down, I separated them into groups: Barbies, kitchen, cars & trucks, games, Lego, etc.

Next, I built the two tall bookshelves that I've had for months.  I bought these from Target over a couple of trips there.  They are only about $30 each and I already had one in the room.

I'm pretty impressed with these shelves - they're a lot cheaper than the "Billy" shelf from IKEA and just as easy to put together.  The quality isn't quite as good as the Billy, but it's just fine for a kids' playroom.  I moved the one shelf I had in the room and positioned it next to its two new friends to create a nice wall of bookshelves.  I use "L-brackets" to mount the shelves to the wall so they don't tip over.  I then filled the shelves.  This is temporary - I pretty much just put the toys in the open spots and definitely will have to go back and do some real organizing.  But it's a good start.  This shelf area, by the way, is Big's toy area on the left two shelves and Little's art supplies on the right.

I organized Little's toy area too.  All temporary but a great start.  I had an old scrap piece of pegboard that I am going to paint and hang behind her kitchen so she can hang some of her kitchen things on the wall (you can kind of see the brown pegboard peeking behind the pink kitchen).  And I have an IKEA ledge shelf that I will hang over her baby station. She has asked for hooks somewhere to hang some of her purses, so I'll add some hooks under the ledge.

I've had this cubical organizer for Little's toys since I moved in.  I need to buy more bins for it.  And I moved her little playroom table to the side to hold her small easel and slid her tub of dress-up clothes underneath of it.  Now I just have to bring in a larger table for the middle of the room, where she plays with her kitchen and art things. I found one at IKEA and need to make a trip there.  I'm putting off the trip to IKEA because IKEA is danger.

I took a few minutes to hang the extra curtain panels at the door.  I had two of the grommet drapes hanging, but they just barely covered the window and I didn't like the look, since 99% of the time, the curtains are closed.  Months ago, I bought one more set of the drapes when they were on sale at Target, and they've sat unopened since then.  Here's a quick before and after.  The after looks so much better.

before ... someone was jumping up and down

I moved around the TV area too.  I'm still playing with placement of furniture and I ordered a matching little navy couch to increase seating.  Once that arrives, I'll figure out where things will go.  The chest is out from the wall a bit because at the time, I was working on setting up the cable, DVD player and Wii.  It was more of a challenge than I thought it would be to do this and I briefly considered paying someone to do it.  However, I did not give up and figured it out myself.  Yay!  The rug in the TV area is not staying.  I am bringing in a different one. That one is an indoor-outdoor rug and I think it will be better outside on the patio.

That is all so far.  What is left:
  • buy more storage (bins, baskets) for the toys
  • organize said storage with labels so the kids know where things are and I can avoid the "mom, where are my Barbies? where are my Beyblades?" questions
  • bring in and paint furniture in the TV area
  • buy a new rug for the TV area
  • hang shelf over TV (?)
  • hang pictures all around the space
  • play with furniture placement in the TV area
  • buy a new play table and perhaps a few more chairs for Little 
Oh, one more thing.  This little nook under the stairs is where I keep my craft stuff. It *should* look like this:

However, it now looks like this and is a dumping ground for frames (for my stairwell art gallery project) and bags to donate.  I need to get this area back under control.

So, progress made, but still a lot more to do.  It feels really good to have momentum on this bad boy.  Oh, and as a little post script: here is what happens if you leave your camera unattended while doing projects.  This is just one of approximately 324 pictures of various Barbies and their friends.  Have a wonderful weekend!

See you swoon,

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