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Old 06-17-2012, 06:53 PM   #1
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Default Overwhelmed and need inspiration!

My stamping area is in our family room in the basement. It used to be all mine, and it was a nice, (somewhat) organized, peaceful space.
In February we adopted a little boy, then in April, his sister joined our family. Our family room is now an exploded area filled with toys, my stamping stuff, the tv, and our computer.
I am looking for ideas of how to make the space multi-functional, as well as safe for the kiddos. I have locks on my cabinet doors, and pretty much everything else is up high where they can't get to it. It's one gigantic room, and I need ideas on how to make it work for all of us.
Also, when I am creating, clutter and mess really distracts me, so I usually end up doing a massive clean before I get started on my crafty time.
Any ideas are appreciated!
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Old 06-17-2012, 07:01 PM   #2
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If your kids are "toddler" ages, maybe fencing off an area around your crafting table would work? Hook a bunch of baby gates together or something? Secure enough they can't knock it down but you can still see and supervise while they play in the rest of the room? Seems nicer to fence yourself off then to corral the kiddos!
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Old 06-17-2012, 07:50 PM   #3
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Small kids and crafts, you either have to let them join in or protect your space. Maybe make them their own desk area and stock it with things you no longer want/need to use.

My motherly advice is that you may have to learn to be creative no matter what is going on around you or you may never be creative again. You will work it out. Try not to be overwhelmed. The important thing is being a mother - congratulations! The rest is just extras.
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:07 AM   #4
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Thanks guys- the kids are 14 months and three years. They do play with me quite a bit when I am crafting- well, my three year old does. My son is more into just putting things into his mouth right now.

I meant that I am looking for ideas of how to store all the STUFF (their toys and mine) and arrange the space so that it is (somewhat) organized and contained, and doesn't look like a bomb just went off.

People have been so, so generous with gifts and donations of toys and such that it's a shame to pack it all away. I am also trying to condense my play area so that the kids have more of the basement as their zone.
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Old 06-18-2012, 10:43 AM   #5
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OK.

If I were in your shoes I would look at Ikea for storage solutions. Quite reasonable and they have some really fun ideas for children's toys. I like storage cubbies and plastic bins for kids things - it is something that will be part of their early learning years. Unless you want to stop every 5 minutes to sort them you need need storage that is accessible to them and label with pictures/words for the ID - it will also make tidying up quicker and maybe a game for the 3 year old etc.

I was going to do my craft area with items from Ikea but we already have so many large pieces of nice furniture (inherited) that I just repurposed what we have (I'm in the corner of the large family room). At the moment my things are in a pie safe my great grandfather built (with plastic dividers/drawers inserted) and two drawers of a chest of drawers and I work on a mat on my Grandmother's kitchen table. It works really well when I tidy up and put it all away!!!

FWIW I never mastered the not looking like a bomb just went off. For me that was part of having kids. Good luck.
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Old 06-23-2012, 03:28 AM   #6
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Congratulations on your new family!

I would agree that IKEA is a great place to start. When my kids had a play room, I lined one wall with the short Billy bookcases. Then, I put baskets on each shelf for the various toys. They also fit some of the larger toys (like all of those great Little People houses, cars, etc). Now, my kids have the book cases in their rooms, and they house books, art supplies, Barbies, lego in the same way. We also got a little table that went between the bookcases, so they could craft and play at that. They are great and you can really customize them - doors, different sizes - and they are very reasonable. They are also thin, so that they don't take up too much space and can they can be attached to the wall for safety. This way, you could line the walls with the storage, and still give them lots of play room.
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Old 06-23-2012, 05:50 PM   #7
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I love Ikea but the nearest one is quite a drive, so I don't actually have anything from them (except some magazine files from a generous fellow SCSer). I have had great luck with inexpensive bookcases from Target (I think similar to this - they are usually around $30) and square fabric bins. If you look, some are more like 12x12 and those are great for larger toys. The lower shelves are filled with bins for toys that my son has free reign with and the upper ones hold his craft items. In your case, you could put YOUR less commonly used craft items on some of those upper shelves as well. In his closet I have heavier plastic shelving that fits his taller toys (like Imaginext or Little People).

I have found that the more relaxed I am about WHERE his toys go, the better he is about picking them up. Some things have a specific place, but a lot of the bins and buckets can be filled with whatever. I do have some smaller plastic boxes with lids for some of his smaller collections of toys as well.

Another option would be to put some sort of lower shelving either facing toward your crafting area with your items, or away from your area with THEIR items (maybe safer this way) to delineate the space better. You would be able to see over them, but it might help section things off a bit. Something like this (which can definitely be found cheaper) might be a good idea, especially if you put toys for the little one in the lower bins.

I admire what you are doing and congratulations! I stopped crafting entirely from the time my son was 2 1/2 to almost five and am just getting back into it. Don't let that happen to you!
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Old 06-23-2012, 06:16 PM   #8
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Congratulations on your new family! ! ! There are some really great tips and suggestions on the craft room thread - great pictures which may help you. Give kiddos a hug.
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Old 06-24-2012, 07:12 PM   #9
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My craft room is 1/2 toddler and baby play area (I have a 2.5 yr old boy and a 6 mo old girl) and 1/2 craft space. What I do is have bookcases - some with doors and some without - lining the walls on the craft side. On the other half of the room, my son has a train table. It has his train stuff or other toys on it almost all of the time but it looks contained being on the table. And then the other toys, we have those plastic milk crates that sit under the table to keep them out of the way. Then we have things like a bouncer, etc near the train table. My son normally plays at his table or on the floor near by but things stay pretty contained that way. I can also give him crayons and coloring books, etc and he can color at the table while I'm at my craft table (though often he wants to sit at my table too).

So, I'm not sure if that is helpful but I find having a dedicated play table and storage underneath works well for us.
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:09 AM   #10
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My suggestion would be to put some of the toys in tubs and if possible store them in another part of the house. Then rotate them out once a week or once a month. Your room will be easier to clean up and less distracting for you and your kids. As soon as the youngest outgrows a toy pass it along to someone else.

Good luck. I hope you can find the time and the enery to continue your crafty life. It is easy to lose yourself in the busyness of motherhood.
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Old 06-25-2012, 06:48 AM   #11
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Congratulations on your new family additions! So exciting. Maybe get a small desk for the kiddies that you can unroll paper onto and have kid friendly stuff for them to "create" with... Toys in a tub is a great idea. Just make sure all high bookcases or heavy tv equipment are bracketed to the walls and anchored. I have all mine from Ikea as well. I love bins and even foot rests with built in storage. It can all be hidden away!
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Old 06-26-2012, 05:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RAWS View Post
My suggestion would be to put some of the toys in tubs and if possible store them in another part of the house. Then rotate them out once a week or once a month. Your room will be easier to clean up and less distracting for you and your kids. As soon as the youngest outgrows a toy pass it along to someone else.
My four kids are now teens, but when they were little we would rotate toys and it worked great. They acted like it was Christmas when I got out a container of toys that they hadn't seen for a couple of months! Plus, when they decided it was time to dump all their toys out (everyday, right?) there wasn't as huge of a disaster. It also can be a big help to have a couple of totes filled with toys that they only get to play with when you are away from home. This helped save the day for me more than once!

Your kids are not too little to start learning that some of the craft items are everyone's to use, but some are just for Mommy. It helps to have easy access storage for the kid items and have the things that are just for you or require your assistance in a closet or cabinet or up on shelves.

Best of luck!
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