(Embarrassing side note: Please ignore the obvious fact that we STILL have yet to paint the wall behind the stairs. That will be happening with the entire upstairs hallway repaint we hope to do in the next few weeks.)
It's been a while (a loooong while) since I've found the time to write a post (no joke, this one took me a week to write). I miss it, I really do! Life has been a whirlwind filled with preschool, working from home, holidays, crappy weather and sickies after sickies. Most of my days are long and it's usually just the girls and me for 12-14 hours while Jordan is at work. When the girls go to bed, I usually start my work day. Working from home and working at night has left little to no time for blogging. If you follow me on Instagram, you can see how I fill my days.
I'll admit that at mid-February we are starting to go a bit stir crazy. We've had snow, rain, bitter cold, nasty winds, anything and everything keeping us indoors. We try to sneak outside when the weather cooperates (which is rare these days), but often we are stuck inside and have to make do with the toys and crafts we already have. With Christmas came a whole new set of toys, and while they are great for entertaining our kids, Jordan and I definitely had a "where are we going to put all this stuff?" moment.
Little by little I still try to work on our house. Sometimes it's a simple as Mila takes a nap and I'm zoning out, staring at the wall drunk on no sleep and a caffeine buzz and I get a sudden idea to create a gallery wall in our upstairs hallway. Being at home all day, every day can be a curse for a DIYer like me who is constantly surrounded by all the things I want to change/paint/replace/decorate. Not only that, but having two young kids and being surrounded by toys everywhere was starting to wear on me. You can see in some photos of our living room that we have a coat closet under our steps that lead to the second floor. For the first few months of living here we used it as that, a coat closet.
We also used some of the narrow space under the steps to store extra toys that didn't fit in the baskets and toy box that we had in the living room.
My parents bought us an awesome new console table for Christmas from CB2 to replace the vintage dresser we had against the kitchen wall. That simple swap has started to transform our living room/entryway into a real space and I quickly decided that the toys had to go. Don't get me wrong, I love/adore/cherish my kids, but when you enter my front door I don't want you to know I have them (kidding.. sort of). Jordan and I hate clutter, and kids = toys = clutter. The toys needed a new home.
Since we enter the house through the garage/mudroom, it's really inconvenient to have a coat closet by the front door. Jordan and I agreed that it would be a better use of space to turn that closet into a toy closet. We took out the coat hooks and moved them into the mudroom. We then purchased a few pre-cut, stainable shelves from Lowes (the same wood I used for the fauxdenza) and some simple brackets. Within a few hours of hanging brackets and organizing toys, we had this:
Lucy calls it her 'closet room'. It's beautiful and organized and all the toys with the exception of the oversized ones like bouncer, walker, etc. fit in here. Lucy knows where they go and each night before bed all the toys go back in the closet. It's AMAZING.
There isn't a ton of reasoning behind where I put things with the exception of keeping toys with small parts either up on a higher shelf or stored in zip lock baggies in the baskets on the floor. The wicker baskets hold a lot of Mila's toys for easy access since these days she wanders into the closet and starts digging around. Books, board games and puzzles are grouped together but aside from that, things find their way back on some shelf in some order and I'm ok with that.
The set-up was easy. Because of the slope in the wall, we had to do some quick thinking to make it work and still look nice. The closet simply has a 3' shelf, and two 4' shelves, one of which connects perpendicular to an already existing 3' shelf that I installed months ago.
The photo below shows the pre-existing shelf. We decided we wanted it to butt up against the existing shelf, which left a gap on the left side. It conveniently worked out that we could use that space to tuck away fold up tents and tunnels. It seemed almost like it was meant to be that way.
With the exception of board games and puzzles, I like to discard the boxes that toys come in. So if you know me personally you've probably heard Jordan make fun of the fact that I have a freezer bag addiction when it comes to organizing toys. Things like tea sets, magnet dolls with a million articles of clothing, My Little Pony and their dozen hair accessories, and other toys that come with too many pieces are neatly zipped up and put away in the striped baskets. It saved me a lot of anxiety when we had the toy box as I hated the idea of a box full of loose toy parts.
I even added hooks to hang Lucy's Doc McStuffins costume and any of her princess dresses she might bring down for the day. I snagged those lion hooks on clearance a year ago from Anthropologie for $3 each, knowing I would eventually find a home for them.
Our new home is the perfect size for our family, but it isn't huge. Living in a house without a basement or 'playroom' dedicated to all things toys, we need to maximize our space and do it in a smart way. I really think that the toy closet was the absolute perfect solution to our toy storage situation. It might seem that for two kids we don't have a ton of toys, and maybe we don't. That's sort of intentional as I have learned that too many toys means that 75% of them don't ever get played with. Also keep in mind both girls have a number of toys that are kept upstairs in their bedroom closets as well for days when we are playing upstairs. My craft closet keeps us fairly busy on some of those cabin fever days, too.
You can see in the first photo we snagged the bench from the mudroom and put it along the steps where I had originally put my Target bench (now in our master bedroom). With the toy box empty, it replaced the mudroom bench to double as storage for hats, mittens, scarves, etc.
The girls now bring their toys out and play on the rug while I make dinner, do dishes, even clean. It actually makes the perfect little play area.
It feels good to post! I hope this post is the start of more to come. Bear with me. :)