March 22, 2012

Cleaning the Play Room

I'm linking up with Jules at Pancakes and French Fries every Thursday as part of her 2012 William Morris Project.

A couple of weeks ago, I got sucked into the vortex of the playroom.  See, even though the kids received a bunch of new games and toys and Crayola Glow-things for Christmas, and even though I'd never "officially" found new homes for these things, I was living under the very mistaken notion that the playroom was really "not that bad."

The playroom is a small room right off the entryway, adjacent to the living room.  It used to be solely a very small guest room. Then I took stock and realized we very rarely had guests, and the space was going to waste.  So for the last several years, it's a "play room."  Which really means, the kids store toys and crafts and games in here, but drag them all out into the rest of the house.  And then I round it all up and throw it back in here.   The room also has a small Ikea futon that opens up into a full-sized bed, for our occasional guests (usually my mom or sister).

See, when you walk doesn't look all THAT BAD.



Come in and look closer...

This armoire holds kid sweaters and jackets, and also gives guests a place to hang their clothes.  It's getting rickety, after years of kids slamming its doors and cramming inside to pretend it some kind of Narnia-wardrobe portal. The bottom holds games, which hadn't been weeded out in a few years.  The narrow top part was crammed with old dress up clothes and more games.

More than the other cleaning projects I've tackled this year, I found this project  emotionally draining. It's hard to realize the kids have outgrown beloved games and books.  It's hard to get rid of dress-up clothes that no longer fit.  It's hard for me to man up and admit that I hate to do crafts with my children. 
Don't even ask: an unopened gift from 2009.

Sigh. (This stayed. Because I'm an optimist, & hope my daughter will try it out this summer.)

Also, I thought I could go in, fuss around and clean for an hour or two, and call it done.


More lies. 

I had Annoying Oranges, to mock me and keep me company. 
"You're an apple." 

And small furry Zhu-Zhu pets, the hot toy of 2010.  (At least they aren't real hamsters.)  The Zhu-Zhu's have left the building. They're now in a box out in a garage. If no one remembers or asks about them in the next several months, they're goners. 

This was just half of the pile that was donated: old games, puzzles, books and dress up clothes.
My weird kids have always been terrified by "Operation."
Some "After" shots:

The computer where the kids do school research and play some games. We keep it very locked-down.
Inside the armoire:
Seasonal, Christmas crafts supplies are in the baskets above.

The plastic bin is full of random crafting supplies. They used to be in the baskets on top, out of reach of the kids: Nobody was using glitter, glue, or colored pipe cleaners without getting by me first!  But now, it's all there for them to access, whenever the crafting urge strikes.  (I don't think they're realized yet what's in there.)

My favorite part of the clean room are the shelves I put up. I'd bought these at Ikea last month, intending to put them on that cleaned area upstairs, outside my bedroom.  But that area is staying clutter-free, and instead, this is a great way to put some art and color on this formerly blank wall:
The artwork is from a postcard set from Disneyland featuring artist Mary Blair (she was the designer of "Small World," to name just one project).  I love that all this art isn't nailed to the wall, and can be swapped out whenever the mood strikes.

Cleaning out the playroom took the better part of a week. During that time, the donate pile sat outside the door, in the living room.  The room was half-done for days and days. It was a constant irritant, like sand in my bathing suit.

But now it's done.  It's just turned spring, but it feels like I'm finally, fully in the "new" year of 2012 now that the Christmas toys have found homes.  So, happy spring...and Happy New Year.


  1. So much nicer. Calm and pretty. No bedazzling huh? I remember wanting one of those when I was little.

  2. Feels good, doesn't it?! Love the shelves and art. They are the icing on the cake.

  3. I'm not much of a crafter either...but friendship bracelets are still awesome :) Hopefully your daughter will give in to them lol.

    Nice job on your organizing! What a project. It looks great. And I'm sure the kids will love it almost as much as you do :)

  4. It is emotionally draining to deal with the kids stuff. Good for you! hat a great room.

  5. Thanks everyone! I don't think my kids are that aware or appreciative of the change -- they just know it's a little easier to find things. And that I'm being a lot stricter about keeping it clean. ;-)

  6. I have been going through toys too and it is so taxing. Your work has made a huge difference and I love the new shelves you put up.


Thanks for commenting! :)

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