The hot cocoa is brewing, festive playlists are on a loop, and lines at department stores are growing. It’s that time of year again!
If you’re a parent, chances are your extended family has already reached out and asked what the kids want for the holidays.
While your children are reciting their list to grandparents, aunts, and uncles, you’re probably thinking …
“Wow, where am I going to put all this new stuff?”
This is especially true for smaller spaces, or in kids’ rooms that are meant for playing and storing toys.
No need to feel like a total toy-grabbing grinch, though. You can still allow your kids to enjoy the holidays while curbing the clutter (and saving your own sanity).
So grab a cup of that cocoa, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to make your kids’ playspace holiday ready:
1. Purge, purge, purge
Every year after opening gifts, it seems like my home looks like a department store after a Black Friday sale. There are just so many toys.
So before Christmas, I have my older kids participate in the holiday purge by picking at least 10 toys (that aren’t broken, of course) to give away and/or donate.
We also go through their clothes together to determine what they still wear, what they don’t, and what doesn’t fit. Anything that doesn’t make the cut gets tossed into a big box and donated to the local Salvation Army.
This not only reduces clutter, but it also teaches my kids to be more charitable. And it’s helped my kids realize the value of what they own. This year, they have asked for fewer presents and focused only on the things that they really want on their wish lists.
2. If you don’t have space, MakeSpace
Rearranging your space can do wonders for creating ample room for holiday gifts.
Move your child’s bed into the corner of their room to create more room in the middle for play. Add some bins to their empty bookcase shelves for more storage potential.
Here are some other smart ways to make use of that extra space:
Use stylish floating shelves to store toys and your child’s favorite bedtime stories.
Cube furniture is another perfect fit for storing toys and books. It also makes any space look more organized. I love cubes for their multi-functionality, and my kids love them because they make cleanup time easier.
I also recommend investing in seats that double as storage, like a storage ottoman that serves two purposes in half the space.
Have a knack for DIY?
You could always craft your own custom storage furniture.
DIY Network shows how to convert an unused piece of furniture with wheels into a kids’ toy workbench. Roll in for playtime, roll out for cleanup.
Or dust off the paint brushes and give your kids an entire wall for expressing their creativity. Chalkboard paint is easy to use, and chalk is a quick clean.
And let’s not forget about the ultimate space-making hack: MakeSpace.
Simply schedule a storage pickup (your first pickup is free), pack anything you don’t need in your home right now (like your window A/C unit and summer gear), and leave the rest to MakeSpace. They’ll pick up, store, and deliver your stuff back so that you have more space in your home to do whatever you and your kids want.
3. Use what you already have for storage
Skip buying a bunch of baskets and bins to organize the play area. Up-cycle what you have on hand to save money.
Use an empty diaper box to create a beautiful fabric storage basket. Or paint an old dresser to convert it into a beautiful dress-up station.
Have old Easter baskets lying around?
Use them for small toys, cars, hair bows, and even jewelry. There are infinite possibilities when it comes to repurposing items in your home.
4. Maximize your closet space
Many of us are guilty of only using our closets for clothing and shoes — and that’s okay.
At the same time, bedroom closets can also be wonderful storage spaces for other important items, like linens and toys.
I like storing linens on the top shelf of my kids’ closets in baskets, which keeps them organized and out of the way when not in use.
If you don’t know where to put that dollhouse that your little one just loves — but that takes up way too much space — consider putting it in your closet. Your kid will be happy knowing she can continue playing with her beloved toy, and you can relax in a less cluttered space.
5. Buy less stuff
In the end, a holiday-ready playroom really comes down to this: buying fewer things.
Having less stuff means you have less things to clean and organize.
Consider a toy rental service, like Green Piñata Toys, as a gift option for little ones this season.
Or gift an experience — like a trip to the zoo, aquarium, or a theme park — instead of something material. Buying less means less clutter, more space, and more time to spend with your loved ones.
Jillian Johnson is Green Piñata Toys’ savvy digital marketer, a military spouse, and mom of three with a passion for the creative, and a penchant for the domestic. When she’s not sharing innovative tips to make lives easier, she loves to cook, sew, and create. Check out her other works on The Piñata Blog.