Unless you’re supremely organised, keeping a tidy house can be difficult when you share it with small people. From hundreds of tiny items like building bricks or crayons, to bigger things like book collections or Wendy houses, finding space for everything can be a challenge.
If children’s possessions are giving you one or two storage headaches, we have a few solutions.
It’s a good strategy to organise storage depending on how often an item is used. So, choose easy-access storage for the favourite toys that they reach for every day. Storage kids can easily reach on their own also encourages them to put things away when they’ve finished. For older children’s bedrooms, consider divan beds with drawers or, if you don’t like the style of divans and would rather have a framed bed, use baskets or shallow storage tubs on wheels.
Book storage can be a problem. Physical books take up a lot of room and are heavy so you could create a reading nook in a bedroom with low shelves and a nearby beanbag for quiet solo reading. Not having to carry books away to sit and read them can save them ending up strewn all around the house. Portable but contained book storage is achievable with a mobile book cart or box on wheels, and of course you could use this for other things too such as a teddy cart for soft toys or a mobile garage for toy cars.
With larger toys being expensive, it’s not always practical to get rid of them as soon as interest wanes. On the other hand, keeping them means giving house room to items that are left to gather dust.
Have you ever considered self storage for out-of-favour toys? It’s actually a really good idea. For one thing, out of sight can be out of mind for children as well as adults. Put toys kids are no longer using into self storage for a few months, and when you bring them back they’ll seem like new again.
You can take a similar, seasonal, approach with other larger toys and equipment such as bikes, paddling pools or climbing frames. These things tend to languish in the garage over winter, taking up valuable space. There’s also the potential for damage whether through damp or accidental crushing or scratching. Keeping these in a storage unit is an excellent way of keeping them in good condition until they’re wanted again.
Sometimes you have to think outside the box to find extra storage space, and it doesn’t get much more out of the box than underneath the kitchen cupboards. These hidden spaces have lots of room for storage of all kinds, from tennis racquets to board games. Providing the space under your kitchen cabinets is clean and damp free, all you have to do is remove the kick boards and replace them with either hinged or sliding doors.
Or what about that awkwardly shaped cupboard under the stairs? It could be an ideal secondary cupboard for toy storage if you add a few shelves and storage tubs. Alternatively, add a few low coat pegs and put a plastic tray on the floor for wet or muddy wellies and you have a handy, small people-friendly cloakroom.
If kids enjoy table top activities in the kitchen, install narrow shelves or hooks for tubs or baskets to the sides of kitchen cabinets. Everything you need for favourite activities will be handy, and the shelves or containers are low enough for small people to help themselves and clear away afterwards.
Sometimes you need a bit of experimentation to find what works in your individual circumstances. If children are old enough, get them involved and consider their preferences. Even toddlers can have strong opinions about colour or shape, and choosing storage that fits in with what they like will encourage them to use it.