Do you live in an apartment that used to be neat? Was it also big enough before you had kids? Today’s post will focus on how to fit kids (and their stuff) into your apartment without feeling like you live in a storage unit. See below for 5 tips and tricks to achieve your goal.
1) Constant Vigilance! - Unlike adults who can wear the same clothing for years on end and have very few toys (:)), kids are constantly cycling through what they wear and what they play with. While an adult closet decluttering session needs to happen about once a year or two, kids need to declutter about every 3 months.
And for those of you in the uncertain territory of holding onto items for possible future children, my best advice is to hold onto the best stuff; if there were toys that annoyed you, it’s time for them to go. And when it comes to toys and clothing, your next child will also receive gifts so there’s no need to hold onto absolutely everything.
2) Space Savers - If you need to fit the majority of your child’s toys into their bedroom, make sure that you’ve strategized well. I love this 5pc Fold-n-Store Set from Cosco, which folds up neatly and can be pushed to the side when not in use. What I like about this table is that it allows for a large play table, which can be brought out and put away with ease rather than constantly taking up precious floor space.
Another way to provide extra floor space is with bunk beds or a lofted bed (if your child is old enough). That way the space underneath either goes to a second child or can be extra play space. If you have high ceilings, make the most of out of it!
3) Proper Toy Storage - When it comes to kid’s stuff, proper storage is key. If you want them to see and play with it, put it in an accessible clear bin (yes, I know clear bins aren’t the prettiest). If you want it hidden (i.e. play-doh and glitter – the scourge of humanity) go with opaque and stored high up. That being said, you still need to know where it is/what it is in when you need it. I also love the Container store’s line of clear plastic storage bins, which comes in a ton of different sizes. The most important thing when it comes to choosing storage bins is to go with one line that has various sizes and stick with it – that way the bins will fit nicely stacked together.
When it comes to furniture, I’m a big fan of the Ikea kallax series, which are 13-inch cubes in a series of formations. You can leave the cubes open for books, use light bins for toys and there is also the option to add drawers and doors.
4) Be a Grinch With Gifts - Although it’s awkward, it’s time for you to have the talk with family and friends. You appreciate how much they love your child and how they always bring gifts but there’s nowhere to put them! Instead create an Amazon wish list of items you’d like your child to have or if the person lives nearby, have them go on an adventure with your child instead.
Another aspect of this is editing your child’s gifts they receive; rather than opening gifts at the birthday party, make sure you look over what they received before they have a chance to get into it. You can put certain items aside to regift and/or strategically give them gifts throughout the year rather than all at once. You can also count this as pre-planning for a rainy day!
5) Involve Your Children - At a certain age (around 6), kids can help you make the decisions about what to keep and what can go. Often I hear from parents that they wish their kids would play with _____ but they never want to. Understandable that it’s frustrating but if they don’t want to play with puzzles, then does it make sense for you to be taking up space with 78 puzzles? This is a great opportunity to teach about charitable giving; just because they don’t want to play with the puzzles, doesn’t mean that someone else wouldn’t really enjoy them.
Donating kid’s toys is a bit of a to-do – places like Goodwill will only accept unopened – but try your local place of worship or nursery school.
Apartment living with kids and their stuff is no easy feat but if you stay on top of the accumulation and strategize about best options, it's doable!
Try my tips above and let me know how it goes! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me on Instagram @toritheorganizer.