Does your living room feel more like a battle zone where the war is waged over who gets control of the space? You want a grown-up space free of toy clutter and sticky messes. Your kids want a space to be able to play unencumbered with their favorite toys.
The trouble is your kids want to be (and play) near you, even if that is exactly where you want their toys to be. Instead of trying to banish kids (and kid toys) from your living room, why not find a way to integrate them into the space while maintaining the appearance of an adult-only space?
How to Create a Multi-Functional Space for the ENTIRE Family
With a few design adjustments, a set of clear rules and a consistent clean-up routine, it is possible to create a multi-functional space that works for the entire family:
#1: Source Sneaky Storage – Integrate storage solutions that looks like furniture into your space. Think ottomans with built-in storage, storage cubes that double as side tables and coffee tables with pull out drawers. Consider bins over drawers for small children who tend to dump and pile and run the risk of pinching fingers in closable storage.
#2: Limit the Number of Toys – Allowing toys in the living room doesn’t mean turning it into a toy room. Keep bedrooms and playrooms as the main storage centers by limiting the number of toys that live in the living room at any given time.
#3: Set the Rules for Appropriateness – Designate “Yes” and “No” play items. Give plush toys, puzzles and books the “Yes” nod and gooey crafts, hard edged toys and anything that bounces a definite “No”. Remember, the idea is to maintain a space that is easily tidied up and maintains the semblance of adult-only.
#4: Rotate Toys to Maintain Novelty – Rotate toys into the living room toy storage to maintain novelty and prevent new toys from being dragged into the space due to boredom. Because you have limited the quantity of toys, replacing the old toys with new toys from the playroom should be easily done. And by new, we don’t mean “brand new”. It is amazing how a toy that has been in a drawer or closet for a month or two becomes “new” again.
#5: Create a Pick Up Routine – Teach your kids to respect their toys and family spaces by creating a pick-up routine either immediately after play or before bedtime. If clean up is a battle, focus discussions on the kid’s benefit of having room and permission to play in this now shared space.
Consistency is the key! Not having to spend your adult-only time cleaning up and instead get to sit down and relax is your reward.