When Max was little, I remember saying that we wouldn’t let toys overtake our living room. Sadly we don’t have a spare room in our house to turn into a playroom, and I was determined that our living room would stay an adult space, with toys tidied away in the evening. But, as I’m sure happens to us all, slowly the toys started to invade our house. First there was the jumperoo, then the toy cars, then the collection of Toy Story toys. And then Ben, our second child, came along and somewhere along the line we lost all sight of our adult space, just sweeping all the toys to one side once bedtime came along.
The Great Little Trading Company have been a favourite of mine for our children’s furniture for a while now, so I was thrilled when they got in touch to help us with our toy storage problems. It couldn’t have been more perfectly timed; we are planning an extension next year, which will give us our much longed for playroom, but until then, we desperately needed to have a pre-Christmas clear-out of our toys, and to find a way to make our toy storage work better for us.
Finding the right storage options for your space
Our options for toy storage are limited in our living room, as we have very little wall space to put furniture against. We have a typical Victorian living room, with two sofas against two walls, another wall filled by a fireplace, cupboard, and TV, which leaves only the bay window to put furniture against. This meant that tall units weren’t a possibility, so we’ve always felt that there wasn’t much we could do to store toys in a more organised way. We just had a large toy box, where all of the toys which would fit inside would get lumped in together.
But step in the Abbeville Bench! We actually have the Abbeville Shelf Unit in Ben’s bedroom, so I knew just how much storage it could offer us, with it’s 3 little cubbies. But the Shelf Unit would have been too tall against our bay window, so the Abbeville Bench was the ideal compromise. The low height meant that it fit perfectly under our window, and the cushion on top made a little window seat, giving the boys a lovely little reading spot.
The storage baskets have made a huge difference in both how we store our toys and how the boys play with them. With our previous toy box, whenever they wanted to find a particular toy, the whole box would be emptied across the floor, giving me that sinking feeling. I’ve used the rope storage baskets to set up distinct categories: one for Ben’s toys, one for Max’s toys, one for Duplo blocks, one for musical instruments, and one for games and jigsaws. Now, the boys tend to only empty one basket at a time, which makes tidying up so much easier!
A place for everything, and everything in it’s place
The Gulliver is new to the Great Little Trading Company, and I absolutely love it! Again, it’s a fairly low height, so fits perfectly underneath our window, and means that both boys can reach anything they want from it. It’s also a really beautiful piece of furniture, and doesn’t feel too childish in our living room. I love that I can create little displays of toys on the top bit, and it’s a great way to store books too. We haven’t tended to keep books in the living room, they’ve always tended to live in bedrooms, but I’ve created a little garden theme to our display here, and we’ve been reading the books much more often as a result.
The Gulliver fits two storage cubes as well, neatly tucked away in the back, so it stores a deceptively huge amount. I’ve used the storage cubes quite strategically, as one of the sides is much less accessible than the other, simply because of our limited space (the sofa is right next to it, so it means that Ben, my 1 year old, can’t reach in to pull that cube out). For this reason, I’ve used that box to store all of our jigsaw puzzles and games with small pieces – all those things that Ben just loves to get out and throw all around the room which just aren’t age appropriate for him!
Keeping a ‘grown up’ feel
One of the things I love about the Great Little Trading Company is the fact that they have lots of different options for making your storage your own. I was keen to make sure that the furniture we chose fit in with our living room decor and didn’t make it feel too much like a playroom. I love the grey rope storage baskets, which are something I’d choose regardless of being suitable for toy storage – it fits perfectly with the muted green and grey of our living room. I opted for the grey star print for the cushion cover and the storage cubes, giving a bit of variety to the rope storage baskets, but still blending in well.
I’m so thrilled with our little toy storage revamp. It’s turned our living room back into a space that feels organised and calm, instead of overrun with toys. It’s fair to say that I’d fallen out of love with our living room a bit, but it feels more like the kind of space I had in mind when we first decorated (pre-children!) The boys are loving knowing that they have their own basket of toys to play with, and when the end of the day arrives, it’s so much quicker to tidy everything away.
But of course, Christmas is on the horizon, and no doubt we’ll have lots more toys to find a home for very soon! The question is – more storage, or another clear out?
The Great Little Trading Company are offering a huge 20% off on play spaces this week – just head over to the GLTC site to have a browse.
Disclosure: We were kindly sent these items by the Great Little Trading Company as part of this blog post