Picture it: a sweet four-year-old girl, playing in her bedroom. She’s dressed like a superhero princess, has all of her Beanie Boos lined up and is using her toy doctor kit to give them all a check-up. It’s an adorable scene until she’s done playing… after which it looks more like a hurricane of toys has passed through her bedroom. How does such a small child have so much stuff?
Keeping my daughter’s bedroom tidy has been a big challenge. One part of the problem is getting her to clean up and put her things away when she’s done using them, but the other part of the problem is the fact that she has a small room with little space to put her belongings. Even the inside of her dresser drawers can become a cluttered mess, despite my best efforts to leave them otherwise. What is a mom to do?
With her furniture occupying most of the space in her room, I have very little area to work with to keep it looking organized. That hasn’t left me feeling defeated, though! I have become determined (okay, perhaps that should read woman obsessed) to find solutions to this storage problem. Thankfully, there are a variety of options that won’t make a small room look even smaller. It’s all about thinking outside the box!
My daughter has a double bed, a six-drawer dresser, and a bedside table, which means there isn’t room left for any other furniture, except for a small toy chest. However, she’s also acquired many books, and they need to have a home in her room. Stacking them on top of her dresser just wasn’t cutting it, so I found some brilliant ideas at Ikea. This adorable wooden dollhouse can double as a shelf you can hang on the wall, and as you can see it makes a great place to put books and small toys. And who says spice racks can only be used for, well, spices? We hung these on the wall beside our daughter’s bed so she would have easy access to her favourite bedtime stories or cuddly pal to snuggle with to sleep.
Somehow, the drawer where I put my daughter’s socks, tights and underwear is also the one that holds her bathing suits and hair accessories. Having so many different items in one drawer makes it impossible to keep tidy. Drawer dividers make it so much easier to keep these items in order and easier to find.
My daughter’s closet already has a built-in shelf, but over time it’s proven to not be enough. Until we can possibly put in a brand new built-in closet organizer system, we have decided to use a closet shelf that can easily attach to the rod. It came in handy for storing seasonal clothes and shoes, including overflow clothing from the dresser drawers.
Sometimes the solution you need to keep certain items organized is just not found in stores. So then, how exactly do you solve this problem? By getting creative, of course. My daughter loves hair accessories, especially clips and hair bands. At first, I tried some simple containers I found at the dollar store, but this has proven not to be effective. Clips and hair bands are often found scattered inside the drawer. I decided the best way to keep these items more organized was to make holders for them, and I’m going to share with you exactly how I did it.
For her hair clips, I found a small artist easel at the dollar store, wrapped felt around it, used fabric glue and staples to attach, and sewed on rows of ribbon. Now we can store all of her clips in one spot by simply attaching each of them onto the ribbons.
My solution for her hair bands took a little more imagination. At first, I thought perhaps I could use a bolster pillow, but the ones I found were too wide and would stretch out her hair bands. I decided to custom make a cylinder-shaped holder for them, so it could be the right size and not ruin my daughter’s favourite accessories. My original idea was to use a pool noodle (cut to size) and wrap quilter’s batting around it, but finding pool noodles at this time of year was tricky.
After searching supplies at the dollar store and craft store, these were the items I used to make my daughter’s hair band holder:
- Florist foam block
- Quilter’s batting
- Plastic mesh canvas
- Felt and fabric
- Fabric glue and thread
First, I wrapped and hand stitched the batting around the florist foam (this was used to provide a solid centre for the holder). Next, I sewed the plastic mesh canvas around the bolster to help keep its shape. To cover the ends of the holder, I used pre-cut, self-adhesive fabric squares, and then I finished it off by wrapping the body of the bolster in felt and sewing it into place.
Until I started looking for ideas to get my daughter’s small bedroom more organized, I thought my only options were going to be ones that would make the space feel even smaller, but I was proven wrong in my findings. I will make due with what I’ve picked up for now but, in case more storage solutions are needed, the options are there. I saw some great under-bed storage containers that even have wheels to make it easier to slide out. A bedside caddy can also be a great way to keep those favourite bedtime books close by. And over-the-door organizers don’t just have to be for shoes; they can also be helpful for keeping stuffed animals, dolls, action figures, small toy cars, and trucks or even Lego (get one with clear pockets and you can sort the blocks by colour).
I’m happy with the outcome of this organization project of mine. Now I need to find a solution for getting my daughter to keep her room this tidy all the time!
Jennifer Traynor is a mother of two kids living in the suburbs east of Toronto, Ontario. When she’s not working or spending time with her kids you can find her sitting in lotus pose on her yoga mat, sitting snuggled on the couch with her husband catching up on favourite shows or watching a movie, or sitting with her laptop writing and editing her blog Mama@Heart. You can also like and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.