Any parent knows that the older your child gets, the more toys he acquires. Every birthday or holidays brings a plethora of more puzzles, ride-ons, books, dolls, and art supplies and as the child grows in size sometimes the toys do as well. Don’t get me wrong: toys are great. They keep your child entertained, encourage independence and cooperative play, and facilitate learning. The down side is: where do you put them all? This is especially a challenge when your living room doubles as your common family room and play space. Here are some tips for not letting your child’s toys overrun your home, while keeping them accessible:

1. Go through your child’s toys every 3-6 months: In the blink of an eye the favorite toy your child could not live without has been replaced with the hot new toy grandma gave him. Sort through your child’s toys every 3-6 months and put the ones that they no longer use or have outgrown in storage. They are great for hand-me-downs or can be donated to many charitable organizations. If he loves all of them and you are short on space, keep a few out of reach and then swap them out. It will be like Christmas all over again!

2. Invest in some heavy duty canvas storage bins. These are great for use in so many different places in your home: in closets or cubbies, on shelves or under furniture. Choose a neutral shade canvas fabric that you can’t see through for a cleaner look. Organize the kids’ toys and label each one so they are easy to find. I love the Open Canvas Bins from The Container Store.

The Container Store Open Canvas Bins

3. Dedicate a corner of your living room as a play space: It is possible to walk into a home that is kid-friendly and not necessarily see that in every square foot. Lay a modern kid-themed area rug to divide the spaces and provide practical kid-sized furniture and hang odern kid-inspired wall decor to make it their own.

Giggle's Pinwheel Round Rug

All You Need is Love Wooden Sign on Etsy

4. Lose the bulky toy boxes and benches: A toy bench takes up way too much floor space and makes toys hard to find. A better option is a cubby-like cube organizer like ClosetMaid’s 9 Cube Organizer. An organizer is great to push into a corner: its height and minimal floor space is practical and space-saving. Fill each cube with fabric drawers and toys will be accessible, but camouflaged in a modern way.

Closetmaid 9 Cube Organizer

5. Find a more functional coffee table instead of adding a kids’ table: The coffee table gets a lot of action in a family room, especially one that doubles as a play space. Opt for one without sharp edges that includes storage like this one by Land of Nod. Add a fun pouf for seating like these for a pop of color.

Land of Nod's Round Coffee Play Table

Land of Nod's Faux Leather Seats

I hope these tips help you accomplish a space for both you and your kids that is small on square footage, yet big on style and fun.

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About LaurenD

Lauren Deneroff is the founder of mama{love}, a maternity consulting and baby planning firm in Manhattan. She lives in the city with her husband, Joe, and two children, Brody & Harper. www.mamalovenyc.com
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