Tuesday, July 17, 2012

new play space

I have a problem with clutter.

Which is kind of amazing considering that, in my younger years, I couldn’t keep a room clean for 24 hours at a time. Ever.

But, anyhow. I have a problem with clutter.

This is problematic, I have learned, with children, or at least with my children, who have more than a handful of toys each. I can find ways to store the little toys well, but the larger ones give me headaches.

Ray and I instituted a rule - no kids' toys in the living room - when we moved into the house. And that has worked out pretty darn well, up until last fall.

It's not that the children and their stuff are not welcome there, but any kiddie stuff brought into the living room must be put away every day. When we lived in the apartment, up until Lola was a year and a half old, her toys filled our living room. I mean, to the point where, even though I would clean them up every single night, the room was cluttered even when it was so-called “clean.”

And it drove me - and Ray, I think, too - crazy.

So, when we moved, we made this decision, deciding that Lola’s toys would stay in Lola’s room.

Then we had Millie. And, slowly, as we fully expected, this “rule” has been bent and, yes, broken. First it was the Jumperoo. Then a standing jungle toy. Then, the wheely toys that move best on the wood floors.

Even though it was all picked up and organized every night, the toys were beginning to take over the living room (OK, really, they covered on little corner, but I felt like they were moving in on me).

Things came to head after the girls’ fantastic birthday party. We temporarily moved their gifts into the living room so I could unpack and clean them before putting them away where they needed to go.

But before I could do that, I’d have to address Lola’s room. I knew she didn’t have room in her room for all of her new toys, so I prepped myself for one my twice-annual toy binges. Pack up the ones she no longer played with and, in their place, move in the new ones.

The problem is that she plays with all of them.

This is not an exaggeration. My rule of thumb is that if I haven’t seen her play with something in 3-4 months, it gets boxed up for a while, perhaps even until millie grows to the point where she can play with them. The problem was that Lola really does play with all of her toys.

Already, Lola’s room had become too cluttered. She has really gotten into twirling and dancing now and I’ve noticed how hard it is for her to dance too much in her room because of the table and chairs, the train set, the bookcases, the toys that sit on the floor, patiently waiting their turn. She loves those toys, yet they also are in their way.

She just doesn’t have a lot of floor space yet.

So I created a playroom.

We don’t have extra space on the main level of our home. But we do have a giant-sized bedroom space (about the size of two small bedrooms) in the basement. Before, the guest bed was set up on one half, near the fireplace, and the air hockey table was in the other half.

I’ve thought about having a playroom there before, but it’s in the basement and Ray has always convinced me that it was a stupid idea, that we would never actually go down there and use it.

This time, though, I just went ahead and did it.

Admittedly, the new playroom, now, is very cluttered, especially since Ray insisted that the air hockey table remain in its place. But it's a playroom. It's supposed to be kinda' cluttered, right?

Anyhow, that was more than a week ago. So far, I'm loving it. The convenience of having available  Millie's and Lola's toys together in one space - instead of having to drag Millie toys into Lola's room or Lola's toys into Millie's room - is awesome.

Ray, too, is coming around. He woke up on Saturday - his day to sleep in - so confused because he actually got to sleep in. He didn't hear us girls stomping or running around the house because were playing - loudly - down in the basement.

Lola hasn't quite gotten to the point where she is willing to go down there alone, but she and a playmate did play down by themselves for well over an hour last week.

So far, so good.
- Bethany :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It sounds perfect...and basements are perfect for playrooms too! Glad your messy years are over...haha!