Marni Elyse Katz is the blogger behind StyleCarrot, a blog devoted to art and décor with a contemporary bent, along with a sprinkling of street style. A Boston-based writer and editor, Katz is a regular contributor to the Boston Globe, Boston Globe Magazine, and Boston Home. You can follow @StyleCarrot on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Now that the kids are out of school, even if it's just for a week before camp starts, the state of disarray in our playroom has become all the more prominent. Even to the kids! I'm not kidding. Earlier this week, one of my sons asked if we had any bins that he could use to organize the playroom. (Note: They didn't necessarily want the toys to be orderly; they needed to clear the floor in order to wrestle.) Needless to say, the request motivated me to pull these images and ideas together.
Ledges make grabbing a book so much easier than when they're packed onto a bookshelf. Displaying them on the wall turns them into an ever-changing artwork installation. You can store overflow out of reach and out of sight. Then, swap the selection every month or so for a fresh, new library. It's a great alternative to a bookshelf when space is tight, too.
No need to stop with one dresser! Why not line a long wall with several? It's especially nice to have ample storage for off-season outfits. These look like inexpensive pieces that were spruced up with paint and new colorful knobs. Along the same lines, you could also use a pair of low vintage credenzas, which are perfect for toy storage.
Baskets and bins have a place, for sure. But I love the idea of using oversized and monogrammed canvas totes for toy storage, as does stylist Erika Brechtel who uses one in her daughter's room (see left). Not only will it put the bag to use in the off-season (I mainly use ours for the beach), but it's amazingly handy for moving a select group of playthings into another room, temporarily. It makes clean-up fun too--tell your kiddo to go "shopping" for toys when it's time to tidy.
Kudos to whomever designed this ingenious system of baskets on pulleys, maximizing otherwise unused space. It adds color and interest to the room and is surely fun to operate, upping the odds that the room's occupant will agreeably tidy up!
Art supplies can quickly get out of control. Designate your child's plethora of pencils and sparkly stickers to canisters and affix whatever you desire right to the wall. This includes a hefty roll of paper, which is a lot more manageable than flyaway sheets.
Wall pockets can be lifesavers pretty much anywhere, from a closet to a workspace. In addition to storing shoes and costume jewelry, they're ideal for action figures, Matchbox cars, and odds and ends, like yo-yos and marbles.
Spray paint a vintage school locker (or buy one new), for a shot of color and a lot of storage opps. I've seen mudrooms completely decked out in the fashion of a school locker room, complete with gym-style flooring and a drinking fountain. What a way to store sports equipment and outerwear! Here (see left) San Francisco-based designer Tineke Triggs goes with a multicolored model in a boys' room.
Little girls' clothing is pretty enough to display, so don't fret if you're short on closet space! A rolling rack does the job just as well. Consider one in a playroom, or a permanent bar, for dress-up clothing. It beats the tangle that comes out of a chest--the one that will eventually land in a heap on the floor.
Make the bed serve double duty by opting for a platform style complete with built-in drawers (see left). I find it ideal for storing bulky blankets that take up too much space in a closet, but it's also great for toys, giving kids easy access to their playthings. Under-the-bed drawers help eliminate the inevitable problem of stray toys, dirty socks, and dust bunnies taking up residence in the void beneath the bed.
Last but not least, don't forget about cubbies. There's a reason they're beloved in preschools around the world. You can display toys to entice, or pile a load into well-fitting baskets. I love the assortment of colorful and patterned paper that decorates the back of this shelf (see left).