Children come in to our lives and fill our hearts with so much joy, but on the flip side, they fill our homes with so much of everything else … toys, noise, blankets, more toys, mess, books, bottles, and even more toys. It’s amazing how many things you accumulate when you have children and your home can change beyond recognition.
So where do you put everything? And how can you stop your home from resembling a scene from Toy Story? Well, it’s all down to clever storage solutions – although, I’m not going to lie, a good clear out often works wonders, too.
I recently shared some of my top storage solutions for small spaces on the MoreThan website but I thought I'd put together a more detailed version for you in case you're looking for some tips, too. And there's a mood board at the bottom if anything in my living room catches your eye.
1. Choose multipurpose furniture
For example, a coffee table with drawers or shelves underneath – these are perfect for hiding away smaller toys like building bricks or colouring pencils. Beds with built in storage are also ideal for tidying away games and figures at the end of the day and keeping bedroom floors clutter free.
2. Make use of unusual spaces
There are lots of hidden spaces in our homes that we tend to forget about, but if space is at a premium, we need to hunt them down. I’ve seen bookshelves placed in the gap above doors and below ceilings, perfect for toys and books that aren’t played with or read on a regular basis.
Spice racks placed on the inside of cupboard and wardrobe doors are also great for holding books and trinkets. And command hooks stuck to the side of cupboards are great for hanging toy-filled tote bags off … a pretty way of keeping rooms tidy, particularly if you buy or customise the bags to match your décor.
3. Attractive storage baskets
Big, plastic containers are so functional and reasonably priced but may not make your living room look particularly pretty. Wicker or canvas baskets and boxes are a tiny bit more expensive but won’t be an eyesore in the corner of the room. They also have a more grown up feel to them so you can still use them for storing books, magazines and remote controls when your children are older and don’t have so many toys.
4. Invest in vacuum pack storage bags
Vacuum pack storage bags are an inexpensive and brilliant investment. For clothes and toys that are only used on a seasonal basis (you don’t really need garden games and sun hats taking up valuable space from November to March, and likewise winter coats during the rest of the year) simply place them in the storage bag and using your vacuum cleaner, suck all of the air out of it. You’ll be left with a reasonably flat storage bag that will then slide easily under a bed or can be placed on the floor of a wardrobe, or in the loft, if you have one.
5. Make a feature out of them
Obviously, for this to work well, you need to use the better-looking, cuter toys. Both of my children have a series of wooden picture ledges in their bedrooms and they use to them to display their artwork from school, and a lot of the little figures and cars they collect (I nailed the ledges to the wall at an accessible height so that they can easily reach everything). The toys aren’t hidden away but simply having them off the floor makes such a difference.
If you want to steal my living room style, here are the products pictured (I've included alternatives where something is no longer available).
Happy sorting ... and shopping!