We've all been there: you leave the little ones to play for half an hour whilst you wind down, make a cuppa, maybe even read the paper - if it's quiet enough. Just a quick, thirty minutes - no more, no less - but by the time you check on them, anyone would think you'd been gone for a month.
Books strewn across the floor, crayon on the carpet, fancy dress stuck on the lampshade...ouch, lego underfoot. It's a nightmare. Well, my friends, no longer -there are ways around this, and I'm here to show you how.
With a little help from some of my fave DIY gurus, I've rounded up 10 of the best and simplest storage ideas out there, to help ensure you never have to say 'IT LOOKS LIKE A BOMB'S HIT' again!
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Create a tidy toy area
Kids have so many toys these days, they could rival most Disney Stores. Whether their preference is for Beany Babies, Lego or both and everything in between, chances are they don't keep them all in one place. Try as you might to make them put the little figurines back in their allocated spots, a task so trivial seems so, trivial, after 'playtime'. The answer? make toy tidying fun! Here's how:
'Over-the-door' Barbie Organiser
Um, this is so good, even I'm a little bit jealous. We know how much little ones love Barbies, and the company's annoying ability to reinvent means your kid's collection is forever expanding. Sigh. Where to put them all ? An 'over-the door' Barbie Organiser, of course!
Why I never thought of this is beyond me, however, luckily for you, A Girl And A Glue Gun, did. Taking something so simple, Kimbo used an 'over-the-door' shoe organiser to make her lucky daughter the best Barbie storage solution you've ever seen. While she made her own, you could easily buy one, making this the easiest DIY ever.
It's quick, it's cheap, it's easy, and most importantly, the Barbies look SO pretty arranged in their individual pockets that your kids will actually want to put them away - success!
Lego is probably the most painful toy of them all - poor you if it's your child's favourite. Not only are the pieces so small that it's almost impossible to pick them all back up, but if you've ever happened to tread on one, it's a wonder you didn't ban them completely.
The solution? Glue lego 'baseplates' onto shelving, that way, you'll kids will actually be tidying whilst playing (you can find a range of colours and sizes on Amazon). Make it even more fun by challenging them to make all kinds of scenes and set-ups on there - they'll love letting their imaginations run wild.
Knock-up some smart stationery storage
If your children are still allowed to use felt tips in their rooms, congratulations to you! Very brave indeed. Whilst we all want our little ones to practise their creativity, what we most certainly don't want are rainbow striped carpets.
Keep your pens, pencils and whatever else tidy with some nifty stationary solutions:
Can pen holder
Baked beans are one of the best, easiest and arguably tastiest suppers in the world, and now you can get even more for your money!
I love doing all things crafty has come up with a way of completely transforming your empty Beans cans (other cans are available) into unrecognisable stationary storage - perfect to go on your mini me's desk. Not only is this a great craft project to bond over, but they're customizable, so you can make them as crazy as you like!
Hanging plant pots
If table storage is something you're running short of, look to your walls for help. Wall storage ideas can look brilliant - who needs Art - and be a perfect space shortage solution.
By using pots, jars and any other containers you already have, you can create some unique wall storage holders, fit for all your pen and pencil needs. Just drill up a sturdy rail and hook them on over (IKEA kitchen wall storage is great for this).
Design a dressing up box worthy of its contents
If you've already attempted keeping your kid's dressing up attire in a wardrobe, you'll know it a helpless case. Putting clothes on hangers just seems to be too much to ask, and the delicate netting of those surprisingly expensive gowns and magician outfits get left to be trampled on and torn across the floor.
Why not try an easy storage solution, which requires no hanging whatsoever:
Recycled cardboard boxes
Everyone has a cardboard box or two lying around, and now you can finally put them to good use. Grab your box, your craft supplies and your little one(s) and get creating.
I know I'm always saying DIY projects are easy, but it really doesn't get much easier than this one by Handmade Charlotte. Showing you how to turn your cardboard box into speedy storage car in just four quick steps, create a storage solution your little ones will love not loathe.
Customise a wooden crate
If painting is more your thing, an old crate could be your perfect starting point. If you don't have any lying around, pick one (or two) up like these 'KNAGGLIG' ones from IKEA, which are a snip at £5.
Now take inspiration from the rainbow, and transform your box. Not only will this provide a smooth surface to prevent splinters and fabric pulls, but your little ones will love making their storage solution their own.
Create a space to store books & board games
We all want our little ones to read, and love doing so, but it's hard not to nag upon seeing their hardback Beatrice Potters strewn across the floor. Bookcases are the obvious solution, but these can be hard to reach, with books ending up in more of a 'towered' fashion rather than lined up neatly. Hi Sugarplum's solution? Take storage down low:
DIY Book Caddy
I bet that's something you thought you'd never see: kids loading up a drainage rack. Whilst it may be with books, not plates, you've got to start somewhere.
Cassie glammed up her old wooden drainer to create the perfect book storage solution. Both colourful and practical, it's low enough to access for even the tiniest of tots, so no excuses for untidiness.
Board Game Wall
There's nothing better than sitting down as a family around a game of Monopoly...only to find about 5 pieces left in the box. Let's face it, the lids on game boxes never stay put, so why not bag up the pieces instead? That's what Laptop to Lullabies did, and wow, the results are fantastic.
Bagging up all the games' bits and pieces, they hung them on small nails in the wall, then hung the corresponding game boxes on another, larger nail over the pieces. Not only does this create the best artwork any kid could dream of having in their room, but no more losing pieces - yes!
Craft a crafting area and somewhere to store it all
Paint on the floor, artwork everywhere - believe it or not, craft time doesn't actually have to be panic time. In fact, with some time spent making both a place to craft and a place to keep it all, doing art with your kids can be a truly enjoyable thing.
Chalk Board Wall
Eliminate the need to cover up your floors and walls when the paints come out, in fact, why not forget the paints entirely. Make your tiddlers their own, wipeable, larger than life chalkboard canvas and they'll never want to work on paper again.
Felt So Cute did just that, even adding some of the IKEA wall storage I mentioned earlier to finish it off nicely. It's a great way to encourage your kids to get creative, without having to sit biting your nails waiting for the inevitable paint-pot-on-floor accident to happen.
If you want to go on step further, keep your carpets safe from dusky chalk clouds by investing in some specially designed chalkboard pens. My favourites are from Stantionary Island, who have a range of pens in fantastic, vibrant colours. Best of all? They come clean off with a baby wipe! I tried them out myself and, as you can see, thoroughly enjoyed myself! They get the thumbs up from me.
Paper Bag Portfolio
If you've ever tried to sort through your kid's artwork with them, you'll know they get so distraught at the concept, the idea is quickly forgotten. But where to store it all? It falls off shelves, fills up valuable drawer space, and there really isn't a smidgen more space on the fridge door. The answer: paper portfolios.
They couldn't be easier to make - if you don't believe me, just check out Art Bar Blog's own creations. Tocraft her's, Barbara used large paper shopping bags, some tape, scissors, and that's it. They keep everything in one place, and what's more, have the little artists in your family feeling like Picasso!
I hope you've found some of these ideas useful - I know I did! I'd love to hear from you if you've got any other ways of keeping your own kid's room tidy - tell me all about them in the comments below!