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Playroom Makover, Pt. 2

Week three of my organizing frenzy is finally here.  If you’ll remember, week one I went crazy with my hall closet switching out my pull out drawers for a spice rack to organize my medicines.  Week two I went nuts organizing our small kitchen pantry exchanging the spice rack for jelly jars and adding a snack bin.  And today, we finally get to the playroom.  For some reason I decided to tackle all of these rooms at once which was both crazy but beneficial as I was able to switch organizing tools not working in one room with other organization tools in another room to create a much better fit.  So without further ado, let’s get onto the playroom.

If you will recall, last fall I shared how we transformed our sun room into a playroom–one of our first stages in making the transition for homeschooling.

Sun Room Before
How the play room looked last fall with Peanut enjoying her breakfast.

While it had the beginnings of enjoyment there was a lot more I wanted to do before complete satisfaction. For instance…
1.  The tile floor was very cold to play on, especially for my little Teacup.
2.  The books, placed on end, kept creating a mess as Peanut found it hard to put the books back or find the books she wanted to “read.”
3.  I needed to add labels, for my own sanity if no one else’s.
4.  We needed a place to display Peanut’s artwork.

I set out to see what we could do to remedy these issues.  The result is what you see below.  We now thoroughly enjoy playing in here every day.  In fact this is quickly becoming more of hangout room for the entire family than the family room.

The finished playroom with Teacup showing off.
To begin we found a cheap alphabet interlocking foam mat at Ross to cover the play area floor.  It’s soft, easy to vacuum or sweep, and so much warmer than the tile floor.
Teacup demonstrating the warm alphabet foam floor mat.
Next I moved Peanut’s books closer to our reading area (a large recliner, which is not visible in these pictures but to the left of the above children’s table).  I found these baskets at the Dollar Tree that were just the right size.
Book baskets found at the Dollar Tree
 I liked the idea of basket book organization as presented by Troy Hill but knew I needed to pair down my basket labels to just a few basics.  We choose the categories of animals, music, classic children’s fiction, Winnie the Pooh (Peanut’s favorite character), Level 1 readers, Bible stories, flap and finds, fairy tales and nursery rhymes, and ABC, 123, and color books as our beginning categories.
Our book baskets complete with category labels.

This has quickly become Peanut’s favorite area to hang out.  She loves being able to easily find any book she is looking for, read it, and put it back on her own.  For the first few days after the book baskets were in place this is all Peanut would do.  We didn’t even touch the rest of her toys.  Needless to say I can’t wait until she can really read by herself.  She’s going to fly!

Next I took Goose’s old protein powder containers from the kitchen and used them for extra storage of smaller items and craft supplies.
My husband drilled a small whole in the tops so I could add some ribbon handles.  Peanut can carry them so much easier this way.  To complete the ribbon handles I threaded the ribbon through the small whole and then tied a knot on either side of the whole to hold it in place.
Protein containers for storage w/ ribbon handles.
Third, I added labels to our other storage baskets that we had previously purchased from the Dollar Tree.
Toy baskets with added labels.
The labels have a description with a photo background of the item to be included for easy recognition.
The labels are adhered with clear zip ties.
Fourth, I took a Rubbermaid drawer that was previously in our medicine hall closet and added it to our art storage area to hold construction paper, art paper, old magazines for collages, etc.
Teacup staring at our art paper drawers.
Lastly, I hot glued a few clothes pins on our brick wall, strung ribbon between them and then added loose clothes pins to create an art line.  Peanut now enjoys coloring and painting so much more because she knows it will now go on her art wall for all to see.
Clothes pin line for Peanut’s artwork.

And that’s it.  Now we have a play room we thoroughly enjoy.  Believe it or not, it stays pretty clean now due to the fact Peanut can easily put things away for herself.  The next project will be to create some form of window treatment to help regulate the light and temperature better (as it is a SUN room)–that sounds like a future post in the making so stay tuned.

On a totally random note, I just had to include this next picture…

Teacup at 6 months.

Isn’t she just adorable?  Teacup’s now 6 months and loves to sit up on her own. She reaches for everything and is going to take off crawling any day.  She wanted to be in my playroom pictures so badly I figured I’d just end on the cutest note of all.  Enjoy!

How about you?  What have you found as successful storage for your children’s toys and books?

Update August 12, 2012

We still love our sun room turned play room, but we had a disappointing turn of events that I wanted to share with you so you don’t have the same problem we did.  While most dollar store purchases are well worth the money saved, I cannot say the same for these book baskets….
Broken baskets
Yes, all but two baskets cracked and broke under the weight of the books within a matter of months.  As a result, I ended up going to Walmart to purchase some Main Stay (aka imitation Sterilite) baskets which have held up much better.
Main Stay baskets
While I was at it, I updated the labels and created a reading corner which we now use to read in every day.
New reading corner
All that to say, sometimes quality is more important than the price tag which was definitely true in this case.  So, make sure if you do decide to use book baskets (which has still been very effective for us), make sure you find a sturdy enough and large enough basket to hold up against the book abuse.
But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. 1 Corinthians 14:40


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  1. says

    This is my first visit to you blog and I already am in love with your organizational skills and blog!! Thanks for sharing!! And Teacup is adorable!!

  2. Alana Taylor says

    What an awesome space for your girls! I am hoping to create a playroom/homeschool room soon and this post has given me lots of ideas. Especially those book baskets! Genius!

    • says

      Thank you. I have to say its fun opening those containers now as they still smell of vanilla. Gives you extra enjoyment for your senses. Ha! And thanks for the Teacup compliment. We happen to think she’s pretty cute too. 😉

  3. says

    I love this! Totally using it as inspiration… We’re moving into a new place with a patio/sun-room and it’ll get so much more use as a playroom =) thanks for sharing!

  4. says

    Looks very cheerful!

    We’re revamping our playroom and bedrooms too, but slowly. I labeled our toy bins temporarily for my own sanity. I thought I would have to make picture labels later since we only have 1 reader–but it’s worked GREAT so far, since clean up time is a joint effort. She reads the labels and keeps the littler ones on track. We use a basket for our little paperback books too. The hardback ones we just put on the lower shelves because they’re a bit easier to put away. (Our kids are 4, 5, and 7, though, so that’s part of it.)

    Love all your natural light!

  5. says

    I like that you made the sun room into a playroom and how you organized and labeled everything. But don’t you ever get the idea that your children have too many toys? You own more than a kindergarten and I am not sure whether it doesn’t overwhelm your children. Do they actually play with all that? Jule

    • says


      Since you asked, no we actually do NOT play with all the toys you see in the pictures. But, I am very thankful for the toys we do have and know we will use all of them in time. First of all, these are nearly ALL the toys we own. The girls have a few toys in their bedrooms (a couple of stuffed animals and grocery cart) but not much. Secondly, this playroom is storage to our toys and manipulatives that we will begin using this fall as we start homeschooling so some is being saved for that. Third, my mother-in-law works at a second hand store so we get many of our toys from her. In fact, I find your question somewhat a bit humorous because if you knew how little we actually buy for our daughters you’d probably choose to criticize me about that instead. For her birthday in a few weeks our present to our daughter is going to be a new swimsuit. That’s it. There is no way we could afford or even desire to afford some of the toys we have. With that said, we have two daughters of completely different ages and we still only play with approximately 10 of the baskets shown. The rest is being saved for as they get older (we have no other place to store these things). As far as the book baskets we DO use ALL of them. My oldest is a book lover already and we probably read a basket of books a day.

    • says

      Our playrooms look very similar and I have had comments made when visitors see it that we also have too many toys and overwhelm our children. However, my response is very similar to yours. We garage sale so we pay next to nothing for our toys. And we also have no other storage area, as our playroom is our primary means of toy storage. We have also been VERY selective in what we place in our playroom, trying to keep it educational and purposeful. As I was looking at your pictures, I noticed that we have MANY of the same items! :) Also, like you, I have tried very hard to keep things organized, in containers, to keep it clean and tidy looking. I think organizing your playroom this way streamlines things and keeps our little ones from getting overwhelmed. There is a method to the way your room is set up, so it more than likely does NOT overwhelm your children. Lastly, since we pick up stuff at a fraction of the cost garage sailing, I do tend to buy too much at times. Therefore, I purge OFTEN, several times a year at least, getting rid of broken toys and books and then selling whatever isn’t being used or the girls have outgrown at consignment sales. Yes, some moms who have more of a minimalist view or have more storage space probably do have less items in their playrooms. But what I say OFTEN to MANY things as a parent, what works for me may not work for you and that’s ok! I think your playroom looks great and it looks like your little ones enjoy it as well! Hope you are having a great day!! :)

    • says

      Totally agree Carolyn. One thing about having MIL working at a second hand store, I usually have at least a copy of boxes (or more) of giveaway items every time we see her…we’re constantly purging here too. It’s just part of having little ones I suppose. Thanks for the encouragement by the way. It was much appreciated.


  6. says

    This is so impressive! What a great place for your kids to enjoy & play in! You are an organizing diva! LOVE this!

  7. says

    Wow, what a wonderful room! I love that you turned the sunroom into the schoolroom/playroom — such great sunlight for you and your little ones! I’m impressed with all your basket and jar labels. And what a great Bible verse — something I definitely need to remember day to day :)

  8. says

    Ack, I LOVE your library!! I wish I had the space to organize my books this way. I probably could figure a way to find the space somewhere. We just have SO. MANY. BOOKS! Hmmmm. I am making this my goal tomorrow! :) What lucky little ladies to have such a fun and ORGANIZED space to play and learn in, especially done frugally! Loving your ideas!

  9. says

    I love those ribbon handled canisters! I’ll have to try that somehow, someway in my classroom. Love! I use the Ikea Expedit shelf with one of their cheapest bins for the toys in the girls room. My hubby and I built (rain gutter like) wood shelves for the school room to house their books. Organization is great isn’t it? : )

  10. says

    I absolutely LOVE this space!!! What a great idea to transform your sunroom into a classroom/playroom!!! And I love how you organized all your books/toys!! Thank you for the tip about the Dollar Tree baskets!! I was planning on getting some there but now I will definitely be using a heavier duty one!!! Thank you so much for sharing your space!!!

    • says

      We do too. One thing that sold me on this house was the natural light available. Totally beats my old school room in which I had 4 walls and NO windows. It’s fun just to take breaks and watch the squirrels or birds or bugs whenever we want now.


  11. Jennifer says

    What a fun space! The foam floor was a fabulous idea…makes me wish I had a tile floor just so I could cover it up with fun foam letters! 😉

    {And don’t be discouraged by others’ opinions or critical comments. You have to do what works for your family. And we as parents want to give our children the best as well as facilitate imagination and exploration! What a great room for all of that!}

    You now have made me want to go buy protein supplements just for the awesome storage containers!!! 😉

    • says

      LOL. Well there you go. By the way, a tip on foam letters on tile floors that I learned–if you do not plan on taking the mat up and down regularly, apply some rubber cement to the corners of the mat (once connected) to keep it from moving everywhere. When you want to take it up later, the rubber cement will rub right off but will keep your mat stable until you do.

      As far as the protein powder, if you do buy some I have found a great no-bake kind of protein bar to make that we love. Remind me and I’ll be glad to share it. Tastes like no-bake cookies. Seriously. Maybe that’s why we’ve gone through that many containers over the last couple of years…. Ha!

      Thanks for the encouragement.


  12. Jamie @ The Unlikely Homeschool says

    Wow! I’d like to come and play at your house. So organized, bright and colorful! I agree about the Dollar store baskets…you get what you pay for. Looks like you are all set for a very productive school year.

    • says

      Thanks. Yeah, it’s so true. Only the small toy containers (which I also got at the Dollar Tree) have actually held up. The rest I had to replace. Aw well. Live and learn. Thanks for hopping over!


  13. says

    Love your organizational skills!! Everything looks awesome! I especially love your playroom with all the windows! Such a great place to play!

  14. says

    Looks awesome! Found you from the blog hop, just happened to pick a random blog to click tonight and it was yours! Love your ribbon handles on the old containers 😉 so cute!

  15. Patty @ Coming Up Roses says

    I used the Main Stay tubs in my daughter’s room for her books – how did you get your labels to stay? Ours keep falling off!

    • says

      I had that trouble at first too. I wished that it had holes on the ends so I could continue to use zip ties. That would have helped a lot. All that to say, I tried several craft glues and a hot glue gun. The final thing that seemed to work for us–packing tape. By putting the tape around the edges made it so Teacup can no longer get her fingers underneath the label to pull it off. It’s worked so far so you may want to give that a try. Hope it helps.


  16. says

    I LOVE the label ideas! I am awful about getting everything perfectly organized, only to realize that no one else understands my system so the room quickly becomes a mess. My husband has about a jillion of those ties, so we should be good to go!


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