I spent Sunday down in our basement playroom with the kids, going through every. single. bin. It took several hours and a few tears (less than I’d thought going into it though), but in the end we had reduced the chaos by four large trash bags. Since it was relatively clean for once, I thought I’d show you around. Actually, I had to pick it up again to do this. Once I released the kids from organization purgatory to play, they quickly trashed the place again. Playing with their toys. The nerve.
Those of you with kids know this mess is actually fairly restrained. They must have been exhausted from the cleaning.
Our basement is large, but like everything else in our home, odd. The main part is open, aside from the support poles, which I love. With so many narrow rooms on the first floor its nice to have a space that feels open. If you’re over my height however (5’4″) you might end up with head trauma. The previous owners enclosed the already low ceilings and ductwork, making this a great space for kids but not so good for the vertically endowed. There are also plenty of nooks where the room has been adjusted for stairs, mechanicals, etc.
At the entrance is Emmeth’s art space. She asked for an art studio for her birthday last year so we created a dedicated space for her work. Shelves on one really low wall for storage, a craft table and storage for all her fabric scraps and yarn take up this odd little nook by the basement door.
The back of the door holds a shoe organizer with all the markers, pencils, etc. I’ve tried lots of storage options for these things over the years, so far this one is working the best. Each space is labeled with the item that belongs there.
The rest of the basement is open and I’ve tried to divide the toys into zones. Everything fits in sweater bins in expedit shelves. The top of the shelves display larger toys and projects. Currently in rotation is Shakespeare’s home (which apparently is just the right size for gerbils to hang out in as well). Bins that have more of Emmeth’s things are labeled with the name, Roan’s bins have picture labels. He helped stage the photos when we redid things this weekend.
There are three 4×2 expedits lining the wall and almost everything fits into them. There are some odd size items though and for those I have large bins. You can never have too many cardboard tubes. I can’t say the same about hotwheels, although I’m sure Roan would disagree.
There are two sets of hooks for an interchangeable swing/rope ladder/rings system in the center of the room. This serves double duty as physical equipment (great during our long winters) and vestibular/planning therapy for Emmeth.
A family TV/Wii area rounds out the space.
Clearly staged, as most of the time those pillows are involved in various scenarios and the trampoline is out and participating in an obstacle course.
There is lots of great family art down here too. My mom illustrated some of my favorite childhood poems for Emmeth’s nursery and they now adorn the basement. And by adorn I mean they are strategically placed over places where the paint is peeling off the paneling. I do love them though. Aren’t they fabulous?
There’s a lot of things we still need to work on in this space. Its far from perfect - there are dents in the walls, paint peeling off the horrible paneling, the couch cover needs replacing, just to name a few. Which makes it great for the playroom, I don’t worry too much about them destroying it. My favorite part though, is shutting the door and pretending the mess doesn’t exist. What do you do for toy storage and play spaces?