Disclosure: This is advertisement feature in collaboration with Great Little Trading Company, who kindly provided us with the Alba toy storage
One of the things we were most excited about with the new layout of our house was the addition of a dedicated playroom for the boys. I’m not sure who was the most excited, me or them! Although we’ve made good use of toy storage solutions in the past, we’ve never had a room which was solely for the purpose of play, so it feels like a huge luxury to have that space now.
Being clever with storage
Despite our joy at having a playroom, we do have a few issues with the room that mean clever toy storage is absolutely key. The first issue, is that it’s situated in that typical Victorian house layout ‘middle room’. It’s quite dark, and I decided to embrace that and make it a cosy space, with a bold dark colour on the walls. But to make it a good size and to bring in more light, we kept it open plan onto the hallway, with the staircase leading up on one side. You have to go through the playroom to access the kitchen, to use the stairs, to get to the dining room. There really is no getting around the house without passing through it, so keeping the space organised is crucial. You can’t just shut the door on the mess at the end of the day – everything needs to have a home to make tidying up really straightforward.
The second issue is that, although our playroom is a large space, it’s actually quite awkward to arrange furniture in. We have a large window on one side with a huge radiator underneath, and the staircase runs up the opposite side, meaning that furniture can’t really fit against either of those walls. Of the other two walls, one has a door in one corner and a small radiator in the other corner, leaving just a 1.2m length where we’ve put a small sofa. So the wall that the sofa faces is our only real space for storage.
Step in the Alba stackable playroom storage from Great Little Trading Company! I’ve been a big fan of Great Little Trading Company for a long time now, and I’m thrilled to now be part of their testing team. The Alba range is new to GLTC, and allows you to put together a bespoke range of units that really fits your space. The fact that you can stack the units on top of each other meant that we could make best use of the available space in our room, using the height to increase toy storage. The biggest selling feature for us was the corner unit, which fit perfectly into our previously wasted corner, ending just before the radiator starts! Corners are so often wasted spaces, but they can offer a huge amount of toy storage space if you can find the right piece.
We opted for two of the pre-combined sets; the Alba Corner Shelves (Set No.3) and Alba Storage Set 5 (which includes a large toybox drawer at the bottom and two smaller drawers). I knew that we wanted to place our TV on the wall next to it, so I moved the Abbeville Shelf Unit, which we had been using in Ben’s bedroom previously, to run along the rest of the wall, giving us more low level storage.
I also made use of the restricted space in the opposite corner by using the classic Sling Bookcase. We can’t put anything too deep in this space, as the door to our cupboard needs to be able to open, but the slim depth of the Sling Bookcase means that this works perfectly, and lets us make better use of that corner too.
Like everything I’ve built from GLTC in the past, I found the units straightforward to assemble. I took on the task on my own, and it did take me the best part of a day to do, with just a few places where I had to backtrack due to errors.
Toy storage that grows with your children
I really couldn’t be happier with the finished look. It has all the benefits of built-in storage without the price tag that accompanies it. It looks pretty, is super functional, and it gives us durable storage that will grow with the boys as their tastes in toys change.
As Max, my eldest, grows older, we are accumulating more and more jigsaws and Lego sets, which I ideally want to keep out of the way of my youngest, Ben. With 3 units stacked on top of each other, the units are the perfect height for Max (who is 5) to be able to reach anything he wants, but tall enough that I can use the height to put things out of my youngest’s reach. The corner shelves offer the perfect solution, with jigsaws and games located high up. The days of arriving in a room to find that Ben has jumbled up all of our jigsaws are hopefully at an end!
The same goes for craft bits like paints, and playdoh – things I’m happy for Ben to play with, but at a time that I decide we’ll be getting them out! The two small drawers give me an ideal place to store all of that.
I love that the shelf height on the Alba Storage Set 5 is adjustable. I chose to have it set to allow space for two of the storage cubes, which leaves a shelf which is the perfect size for all of our board books.
I love that everything has a home, which (in theory) makes it easy for the boys to help tidy up. We make great use of the GLTC storage cubes and baskets, with two baskets dedicated to Brio and train tracks, one to DUPLO, and two more to cuddly toys. The bottom toy chest drawer is a home for all of our dressing up clothes, and the little shelves above will be wonderful for displaying Max’s Lego creations out of the reach of clumsy hands.
The boys have absolutely loved exploring their new playroom space, and have been playing with toys which have been hidden away for a long time. The combination of the two Alba sectionals actually gives us so much space that I have the luxury of having lots more available storage space. For the first time, we actually have more toy storage space than we have toys! Although I’m sure with Christmas around the corner that will soon be about to change…
Thank you to Great Little Trading Company, who sent us the Alba Storage units for the purpose of this post. All other items mentioned were purchased myself.