As any busy parent knows, tidy homes and toddlers don’t often play nice together. It’s bad enough during the baby and crawling months, but when toddlers find their feet and learn they can move things from one place to another the tidy troubles really start.
This is when you need to make friends with storage solutions. Because while you might not mind having toys strewn around the living room during the day, after bedtime it’s nice to transform the space into an adult area, preferably without too much fuss.
Storage Furniture and Boxes
Anything that has storage space inside it, from coffee tables to end tables and fashionable chests or trunks, makes the ideal toy storage receptacle. Another handy benefit is that you can keep TV remotes, laptops or tablets safely stowed away from sticky fingers when you’re not using them.
A downside can be the heavy lids, so they’re not totally suitable for little children to use on their own. For storage toddlers can safely use themselves, opt for plastic storage bins with rounded edges and light tops. They’re usually stackable which saves space, and the see through ones make it easy to see what’s inside.
A third idea is to get slightly older children involved in the craft of making their own storage boxes. Shoe boxes, for instance, can house all sorts of small-toy collections, and are easily personalised or decorated in a morning’s painting or cut-and-stick session. Having a hand in creating their own storage boxes might also encourage kids to use them. Well, you can live in hope.
Storage Ideas for the Bedroom
Children’s bedrooms don’t have to resemble a bombsite, although admittedly they seem to like them this way. Parents however, especially the one who does the vacuuming, prefer to keep things up off the floor.
Hooks and shelves are the way to go. You could consider building a toy and book nook in a corner of the bedroom, using fitted shelves to house games, collections, and books. Provide beanbags, or one of those nifty indoorwigwams, and it’s a cosy place for either solitary games or playing with friends.
If you’ve got lots of sports equipment as kids get older, think about swapping traditional bed frames for an ottoman bed with a lift up mattress. That hidden space takes care of a multitude of items that aren’t used every day but need to be within easy reach.
Flexible Off-Site Storage
Having a growing family puts you in a permanent state of transition. Year on year needs change as the youngest members grow, and as their needs change so do parents'.
In the early years, you want everything safe but that might mean getting rid of precious furniture or other items you’d rather keep. As the kids grow and become more responsible and able to recognise danger, it would be nice to bring those items back into the house. You can’t do that if you sold them or gave them away.
It would be a far better idea to pop them into self storage until you want them again. Self storage is a growing phenomena that it seems people are only just discovering for mundane, everyday storage needs.
People overwinter expensive garden machinery in small storage rooms, or keep precious family heirlooms and paper documents in large lockers. So why not put grown-up furniture into store for safe keeping while you’ve got babies and toddlers around the house? There are plenty of reasons, from a safety aspect if you have glass-topped items, or simply because you don’t want something valuable covered in fruit juice or scribbled on. And especially if you don’t want to spend those precious, early years constantly nagging and cleaning up.
Storage in the home is a personal thing, with some preferring shelves, some liking cupboards and others preferring boxes. Whichever you like best, getting it organised so you can find stuff and keep a reasonably tidy home will save your sanity.
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