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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Making it Work: Play Space & Toy Storage in a Small(ish) Living Area

EDITED TO ADD:  This is a long post but there are pictures if you want to scroll to the bottom.  Also, I want to thank Chad, he did an amazing job rearranging furniture, putting furniture up in the attic, making TWO trips to Ikea, and spending most of his Sunday afternoon building the storage shelves for our project.

I mentioned back in July that we decided to put our house up for sale.  Our plan was to ride out the summer real estate season and see if we had any interest in our house.  We only signed up for a three month contract with our Realtor that ended in late October.  Although we did have some showings and one near-offer, we were not able to sell our house.  The market is flooded with inventory and we were competing with many new houses in our area.

While three months is not a very long time to be on the market, it definitely felt like a long enough time for our family.  Keeping a house in show-ready condition with two infants is nearly impossible, and we often felt like our evenings or weekends were compromised because we had to plan on the possibility of being kicked out for showings.  Now that we've taken our house off the market we are enjoying the flexibility in our schedule and the freedom to live in our own home however we please.

Deciding to stay in our three story townhouse with our two growing babies did come with its share of new challenges.  Most importantly, the babies needed an open, fairly large, and safe place to play.  We also needed an appropriate place to store their multiplying toys.  We considered turning our first floor guest bedroom into a playroom, but we really like having a room for the grandparents to stay in when they visit.

We eventually decided to work with our large open-concept living space on the second floor and make some room for the babies to play.  We moved our dining table to another part of the living space, put a few furniture items away in the attic, and decided to use the recessed "dining area" for toy storage.  We also found an extra square of carpet in our attic that we saved when we upgraded the carpet in the bedrooms a couple of years ago.  It is thick and soft and makes a perfect area for the babies to play on instead of the hardwood floor.

We went to Ikea and found this book shelf and these baskets.  We bought two of the shelves and placed them longways side by side, making 16 cubbies for storage.  Our Ikea (not sure about other locations or how long this is going on) is currently donating $1 to children's education for every soft plush toy purchased, so of course we had to get two stuffed animals.

Here are some pictures of the end project:

Lots more room for toys!

Cubbies and baskets up close

Two out of three of these fuzzy animals were purchased at Ikea

All tuckered out from his Ikea shopping trip, poor buddy!

We still have a few projects to do around the house, but we feel like we've improved the living situation for the babies substantially.

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