I have a dream. In my dream there is a big playroom, with all kinds of toys, neatly organized in color coordinated and labeled bins. The boys share all the toys happily and everyone cleans up the day’s play messes together. Something like this lovely creation from homeedit.com:
In that same dream, boys’ bedrooms are toy-free and serene. Restful, clean, organized. With desks for thinking and schooling and drawing, a cozy spot for reading, and a comfy bed for sleeping.
I know it is unrealistic. I know the picture in my head comes from too many late nights on Pinterest and Houzz. But I’m hopeful that somewhere between the Pinterest dream and my current toy-ridden reality, there is a practical, real-life way to get our playing and resting a little more organized.
The drill-sergeant side of me wanted to just announce to the children that from this day forward, all toys will be shared and no toys will be allowed in bedrooms. But the side of me with a heart (albeit the smaller, weaker side) held back. I have talked to them about it a few times. The three-year-old is oblivious. He plays with whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and his ideas about what life should be like are thankfully still somewhat malleable. The seven-year-old thinks it is a fabulous idea. “You mean, I get to play with ALL of THEIR toys?!? YES!!” The oldest two, eleven and nearly thirteen, are understandably terrified of the idea. They’ve been accumulating toys the longest, so they have the most to lose. They both love the idea of a clutter-free bedrooms and a big play space, but they hate the idea of sharing their stuff. I told them that we could put up some high shelves for displaying their creations that would be out of reach for little ones, and that maybe we could display some of their favorite things that don’t really get played with on shelves in their rooms. And after talking it all through, they are willing to try it!
So, friends, I need your help. I want to hear from you. Have you done anything like this? What are your experiences with playrooms and shared toys and multiple ages? What are your best toy organization tips? Favorite play space ideas? Things to avoid? Anybody try to go toy-free in the bedrooms? How did that work for you?
-written by Kendra
Ahh, I have that same dream! Unfortunately I don’t have much advice (okay, I would be the last person to ask), but I am curious as to what other people have found that works.
The dream picture is quite lovely! As a mother of 3, now all teens, I have to say the most painful part of keeping clutter at bay is managing the quantities of the toys. I did not learn this lesson when my kids were young. I allowed grandparents to buy great numbers of toys for my children. Limit the numbers and you will be happier.