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Children’s ‘Stuff’ Poses Storage Challenges

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Children’s bedrooms are unlike any other room in the home.

Although their primary function is for sleeping, that role often gets lost in a maze of toys, games, stuffed animals and books. Not only does it contain more “stuff,” it is also constantly evolving at a pace that matches the child’s physical, mental and emotional growth.

Here are some tips for storage of kid’s stuff:

* Furnish your child’s room in modular pieces that have ample storage and room-to-grow potential. Flexible storage is essential. Whatever storage solutions are found this week may need to be rethought next week, as the child launches into a new phase. The best children’s bedroom designs are those that are storage-oriented while remaining open-ended and easily added to as the child grows.

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* A child’s bedroom benefits from exposed shelving for colorful open storage that creates visual stimulation. Though closed shelves are preferable for most adults, the opposite is true for kids. Instead of concealing everything behind closed doors, children enjoy having their possessions out in the open.

* Think about lining your child’s room with cabinet-sized open shelves as an alternative to bookshelves, toy boxes and chests of drawers. For relatively little expense, you can transform even a small room into a space with a “place for everything.” With roomy, cabinet-deep and cabinet-high open shelves around the perimeter of the room, every toy and stuffed animal can have a home.

* Organization is essential with children’s toys, and a thoughtful arrangement can even make a visual statement. Display toys on their own or group them in colorful tubs and baskets. Most children’s toys can stand on their own as room accessories. Stacks of puzzles piled neatly on top of one another can be in a cache of their own on a deep, open shelf.

But crayons and colored pencils tend to make a mess unless they’re gathered into a container. Bright tubs in primary colors are excellent receptacles for art supplies and other small play items. Old coffee cans, with any sharp edges filed away, can also be used to store small, loose items. Children will appreciate the accessibility of their playthings. Eventually, they will also appreciate the organization, which makes it easy to find the toys with which they want to play.

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* If you use traditional toy boxes for storage, remember that ones without lids are the safest. You won’t have to worry about children pinching their fingers or getting trapped inside. If your toy box must have a lid, drill several holes in the walls of the box to allow ventilation should a child get caught inside.

* Beds are a prime spot to consider for storage when planning a child’s room. Make good use of the space under the bed. Use storage boxes or pullout wire baskets on casters as an affordable alternative to fitted drawers. Brightly colored boxes or tubs provide the same organization as drawers under the bed. For the ever-changing child’s room, these flexible, inexpensive options make better sense than custom-made, roll-out or built-in drawers, which will be antiquated as soon as the bed is outgrown.

* For toy bins that you can use under the bed or on deep shelves, consider brightly colored laundry baskets. The open weave allows children to see what’s inside, minimizing the need to dump everything out. For smaller toys and lighter storage spaces, another option is plastic dishpans. Tape a representative toy on the front of each for prereaders; let the older kids create their own labels.


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