Okay, it’s time to admit that I’m obsessed. As you can see here and here, we love Lorena Canals rugs in our house. Why? They’re cute, comfy, and most importantly machine washable. When you have allergies, that last one really matters. In fact, when you have kids (and/or pets) that last one really matters. Being able to wash our rugs has been a major game changer for my allergies and the cleanliness of our house for that matter.
A few months ago, I decided it was time to get rid of the shag carpet in our family room. It was weighing down the house, literally. Did you know that carpet can gather up to 40 pounds of dust and dirt (and we’re not even counting spills here) a year? Apparently you get about 85% of that out with regular vacuuming but that’s still six pounds of yuck. Carpets weigh up to four times as much going out as coming in. Are you grossed out yet? I sure am- we still have wall to wall carpeting in our upstairs and just thinking about it makes me want to sneeze. This is about more than just carpets though so I’ll get on with it. Once we replaced that thick carpet with a Lorena Canals rug, I knew I had to tackle the playroom next. Mom confession: I hadn’t properly organized the playroom since before baby Hey J was born. It was a job needing to happen but boy was I dragging my feet.
The promise of new healthier carpet brought new life to the project and off to hobby lobby I went. There is something about reasonably priced decor that just makes me happy. Plus, I’m the kind of person who pretty much fills every inch of wall space and then rearranges and fills it again. In fact, the only reason I can figure out that this room hadn’t been properly decorated was that I didn’t want to be in there. Dusty carpet plus chaos are not my happy places.
I’m not saying my organizational skills are perfect and neither are my decorating ones (I love love, did I say love? antiques and stuffing as many things as possible into all the tiny rooms in my home (really why are there so many rooms in this house?). However, here are a few tips I’ve found that really help me keep things organized and under control. (Get ready for some poorly shot before pictures- taking pictures of messy, chaotic things is not my forte which really throws a wrench in the whole makeover process.)
- Bins. This has been the single most helpful organizational practice in my home. I don’t know if your kids are like mine but my children love small toys. Squinkies, shopkins, littlest pet shop, tsum tsums, you name it- they have an undying love for them. We have dolls for dollhouses, Calico Critters, and princesses everywhere. Don’t even get me started on the train, car, and dinosaur collections. Instead of outlawing tiny toys (if you’re smart you’ll do this from the start), I have started storing them in clear pins. The my little ponies go with all the other my little ponies and when it’s time to clean up, they’re easily returned to their home. This does require some upkeep. You either have to keep bins stashed away for individual play or sort them out occasionally (I do the latter). However, any way you look at it, this organizational tip will make playing and cleaning easier for everyone.
Here’s one before picture that I’m sure all the moms can all relate to:
After (it’s been a week or so, how long do you think we can keep it this way?):
- Beanbag covers for stuffed toys. This one is genius and multipurpose. Instead of trying to find homes for the millions of stuffed toys that gather in your home, buy a beanbag cover sans insert and fill it up with soft, squishy stuffed animals. Not only does it provide a comfy place to sit but it also keeps your kid’s favorite lovies clean and dust free.
The homeschool room before (spoiler alert we mostly just straightened up in here):
After (quick tip: find cute ways to hang children’s pictures to turn trash into art):
- Everything in its place. I tell the kids that everything must find a home. If it cannot find a (neat, tidy) home, it has to go. I am not perfect at this rule but it helps for the big things and makes it easier to decide what stays and what goes. And, for the record, in the midst of this makeover, several bags of toys were collected for giving away. Part of this tip, is clean and rehome often. The one in two out rule works pretty well too.
Before (and, I mean this was before with the rug but after I had picked up one day and then one right after we took the rug out):
- Keep it pretty. When you’re planning out birthdays and Christmas for the kids, think aesthetics. Buy toys that make pretty decorations, that you don’t mind looking at. I, personally, like playhouses. A line of Calico Critter houses mixed in with fairy cottages and dollhouses looks quaint and cozy not cluttered. Since our playhouses live out, I’m not constantly cleaning up from them, they’re just part of the decor.
Eliminate knick knacks. This one is a rule for the whole house. Everything must have a purpose. The only thing that escapes this particular rule is an occasional picture frame on a table.
Before (so many stuffed things everywhere):
After (a much cozier reading nook):
Stuffed friends: c/o Apple Park Kids
- Hang it up. This goes with the last tip and helps keep surfaces clear. If it can be hung, hang it. This is why at my house pictures are normally on the wall, not on side tables. I love pictures and print and hang them everywhere. I couldn’t do this if I used them on horizontal surfaces. By the way, quick tip: to hang pictures quickly, pull off the back (I even cut the backs of velvet ones and turn them around to create a smooth stickable surface) and use command strips. This makes them sit flush with the wall and you won’t find yourself constantly straightening them.
If you skip all the rest, do yourself a favor and get yourself a washable rug because cleaning up the playroom can be a real headache, but sitting comfortably with your kids shouldn’t be.