Nurseries and play rooms (or just any room where the kids tend to play) can quickly become disaster zones where the toys and books rule. Before I had kids, I always told myself that my house would never become dominated by my kids toys, especially those of the large, noisy, plastic ilk. While we’ve avoided the big, plastic monstrosities, there are certainly days where the toys are winning, trucks and legos strewn from one end of the house to the other. Knowing how messy Josh and I can be, I assumed our offspring might be as well (turns out, Bix is quite good at putting his legos away… maybe he’s rebel from his parents this way). While planning for the new house, I thought ahead and bought these great storage bins from Land of Nod, “Storagepalooza”, which make a quick clean-up at 10 PM so much easier, especially when you are so bleary- eyed from your long day of work, home, and baby that the idea of doing anything else seems nearly impossible. I bought two bins; now we have one in the “playroom” and one in Bix’s bedroom, but they can eventually be stacked and used for anything, so when Bix no longer requires an area for toys, they can be used for winter gear or shoes. (Although this seems like an ad for Land of Nod so far, that’s not my intention. However, I will say that I have been most impressed with the quality of their wood, construction, and finishes over most other kids furniture companies that I’ve bought from.)
I find it’s best to have specific storage solutions for specific things like toys, books, stuffed animals, ect., for cleaning up in a hurry, several times a day. If you don’t want to invest in wooden bins or shelves, baskets work great as well, while remaining pleasing to look at.
Bookshelves are very important as well. As I mentioned above, I prefer the ones where the books are meant to face out, children’s library- style. Since little one’s can’t read yet, it allows them to find the books by their cover art. I chose two styles- a gallery-style one that you might use for framed photos or magazines when the room eventually becomes more of an adult space and a simple book rack (we chose the Madison 4-shelf Bookrack at Pottery Barn Kids, but a simple plate rack will work too and might save you some money). They also take up less space than a traditional shelf (although you can’t put anything but books or magazines in them, whereas a traditional bookcase is more flexible for other objects).
I also would recommend trunks for things that may not be used everyday. We have a wicker Williams Sonoma Home trunk with magnetic leather straps that doubles as storage and end table in the play room. It’s not an easily convenient storage space, since we keep a lamp on top, but I use it to store a good portion of Bix’ toys, to keep the clutter down and so that we can swap toys in and out of rotation, so it’s like he’s getting new toys every few months. Although pretty pricey, Restoration Hardware has beautiful ones. However, keep in mind, although a sizable investment, they can be used forever since they’re not kid specific (also great for linens and seasonal clothes).