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Monday, October 24, 2011

Where Are All the Toys? (And more Give Thanks Pillow Covers)


 One of the questions we get asked the most is, "Where are all the toys?" Don't worry! I promise you the girls do have toys and our house is not always as tidy as it looks in the pictures. Although they do have plenty of toys, I must admit that we don't have tons and tons of them. This is for two reasons. First, I really want both Lillie and Lola to be creative and use their imaginations so we do alot of coloring, painting and drawing as well as reading and puzzles and stuff like that. Now, don't get me wrong, we still have some oh-so-lovely plastic toys too, including Lillie's current favorite, a Dora the Explorer guitar that lights up and and plays all sorts of loud songs, but we don't have an over-abundance of them.

The second reason is that our house, although I wouldn't necessarily consider small, I wouldn't think of it as big either (I think it is around 1800 square feet), and we have very little storage space. We live in a townhouse and don't have a basement or attic. The bedrooms each have a closet but other than that we just have one tiny coat closet downstairs and a tiny linen closet upstairs, and that is pretty much it for storage. If we had all sorts of toys we wouldn't have anywhere to put them and would be tripping over them all day, which I am pretty sure would drive both Jon and I insane as we are both neat freaks - although since having children we have learned to loosen up considerably!

So, with that little disclaimer I will tell you where we keep the toys that we do have. We keep the larger items (doll strollers, soccer ball, beach toys, etc.) out in the garage when they aren't being used. Then a bunch more of Lillie's things are in her closet and bookshelf. We keep her little kitchen set (which is her largest toy by far) up in her room.


When we first got her this little desk and chair last summer she didn't use it much but lately has started enjoying sitting at it and reading or coloring.

In her little window seat area if you pull the skirt below the seat back there is storage space to put all sorts of junk.
You can see more photos of Lillie's room here and here.

The rest of the toys and baby items are pretty much all stored in this room. They are all there, you just can't see them.


See this little ottoman? If you lift the top off there is all sorts of space to store things.

Over in the corner next to the TV we have a little toy box that looks like a trunk.

Next up - the white slipcovered chairs. Just lift up their skirts and underneath both of them are lots of toys.


Our coffee table has four drawers that are full of all sorts of gadgets and then there are two baskets full of books and puzzles.

And even underneath the coffee table we slide more games and toys.

Underneath the other half of the coffee table is a little basket that contains all of Lola's diapers, wipes, burp clothes and all of those kinds of things. And of course more toys are slid underneath that too.


I plan on moving one of my old side tables with drawers here so we can have more storage for the growing piles of Lola's things. Having lots of furniture with drawers and shelves certainly helps with hiding all the clutter. I like the look of this table better but eventually I can move it back.

And there you have it! That is where we keep the toys. Now as far as the question about it looking so neat goes, well that's a different story. If you walked into our house on a weekday morning it might look like a bomb went off. Because a messy house makes me super stressed, though, I try to clean everything up and get things back in place when the girls are napping and as soon as they go to bed each night before I start working. That helps it from getting too out of control. If you walked into our house after the girls are in bed or during naptime then it will look similar to what you see here on the blog. Although we generally keep it quite tidy, I must admit it can get VERYYYYYYY dirty. There are days that there are about three meals worth of food underneath our dining room table. Haha! Gross, I know! However, yesterday we did a long overdue scrub down of everything and cleaned out drawers, drains and all sorts of other fun stuff. Ahhhhh - I forgot how amazing it feels to have the house feel so CLEAN! Let's see how long that lasts. =)

A lot of readers also wonder about having so much white in a house with two small children. I will address that in another post.

This has nothing to do with this post, but I thought I would share a few pictures of Lillie wearing her Notre Dame basketball jersey while playing tennis a couple of weeks ago. I think we still have a few years until she knows what she is doing but it was still fun to watch her out there playing around with our neighbors.






I hope you all have a most fabulous Monday!


39 comments:

  1. Lovely to see others who aren't overwhelmed by toys. I've known folks who believe that a house without a playroom stuffed with toys is just too small! We're having another purge now that it's fall, and your post has inspired me to be more ruthless than usual. Luckily, the girls get in on it and are pretty enthusiastic. Perhaps a tad too much since they usually suggest taking their brother to charity, too.

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  2. Honey you do great with the toy situation! Try having a 1680 sq. ft. house with three kids, two of them being boys. Boys are inherently messy. We limit the toys too and we try to keep them confined to their bedroom. We always try to get rid of some of the old stuff when they get a bunch of new stuff (like at Christmas). We also have a yard sale in the summer and any toys that sell the kids get the money from it. That is a great motivator for the boys. You have a lovely house and you also have a lovely family!

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  3. That's pretty funny, Starr! And a yard sale sounds like a great idea, Jamie!

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  4. I love to see someone use space so wisely and you have done just that. Jemma has alot of "toys" (thank you grandparents, aunts, and uncles...) but she doesn't really play with most of them. She reads books, colors and things like that. I try to do crafts and activities with her too. She is now into Barbies some, but she loves the really hard plastic animals and characters. I love to watch her imagination as she creates stories for her dolls and things! We just had a yard sale and sold a lot of her stuffed animals and some toys. Stuffed animals...those are my nemesis...

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  5. Love this post! I have often wondered how you keep everything so perfect with two little ones!

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  6. Those are some great storage solutions. I like storage that doesn't really look like storage. You know what I mean? I guess your kids are too young for legos right now, but if they ever start playing with them, beware! They are the most difficult thing to keep put up because they're usually in the middle of building something and don't want it disturbed. My kitchen table has several lego masterpieces on it as I type this. Ha! We just leave it and eat at the other end of the table. The things we do for our kids happiness never end.

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  7. Smart way to keep the stuff from taking over. I had to comment on Lillie's tennis form~as the former captain of my team, she looks like a natural! I really loved those shots!

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  8. Jenni, this is a really fun post! It made me laugh to think of how many great hiding spots moms find for the not-so-pretty *plastic* toys. You've done a great job! I often wish that there were only wooden toys in the world. We also limit the toys - and when we feel like there are too many to choose from - we rotate them out. Many toys are sitting in "time out" in a closet :) I think it definitely helps with encouraging them to use their imaginations! We are around next week & would love to get together!

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  9. I love the "framed window" above the play kitchen! I HAVE TO try that out for my girls. they would love it.

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  10. We have recently moved from a smaller house, where we did a lot of the same creative storage solutions. Instead of an under the stairs pantry, it was an under the stairs storage area for all the toys. The pretty baskets in the family room were stuffed full of toys, as were the side table drawers. Now, we moved into a 5500 sq ft house and the girls have a huge area in a bright walk out basement for toys. I just picked up a beautiful antique pine table as their craft/games table, and we are revamping a free bookshelf/wall unit for toy storage. I must admit, it's quite a treat to have this space, although the girls still tend to migrate their toys into the upstairs family room =)

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  11. Oooh, more inspiration for my current decluttering project. Not that I have toys to hide, but I certainly have plenty of other possessions that could benefit from being discretely hidden from view!

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  12. Wow, great use of the space you have for tucking toys away! I'm with you, if the house is in chaos i can't even think. Plus having things in their special places probably helps Lilie to know right where to look for whatever she's wanting to play with... I know kids can make big messes, but i think they like order too. And to tell the truth the most fun my kids ever had was with a big box, or a sheet over a table making a fort!
    Lilie looks like a real little tennis pro in that one picture.. ! and that window seat with the curtains is the bomb!

    Cindy

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  13. What a great post! We live in a townhouse that is 1200 sq feet and doesn't have a basement or attic. I have the same philosophy about toys and we've actually bought very few for our daughter. Most of the toys are from grandparents and gifts when she was a baby. I love our storage ottoman and will definitely consider a slip covered chair (after talking about it with my husband). Also, I love the pictures of Lillie!

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  14. yo tampoco se nunca donde meter los juguetes
    gracias por el post
    un besito desde
    http://karmucaycuquino.blogspot.com/
    y para camisetas personalizadas para ti y para tus niños te invito a
    http://little-id.com/

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  15. I love all the pictures! By the way, I would LOVE it if you added a "subscribe by email" option. That way, I could get your updates straight to my inbox! :)

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  16. I'm completely smitten with your house...every single detail is beautiful! You mentioned one of the toy trunks was by the TV. I don't think I've seen any pictures of your TV in that room {I just thought you didn't have one!}...could you show us where it's positioned? Have you concealed it somehow? I'm always looking for ideas on how to make the TV less of a focal point. Thanks! :)

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  17. Lovely house! Have a nice week!

    Kiss,

    Cristina

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  18. This is such a lovely post.

    And I think you're absolutely right! Children don't need tons and tons of toys.

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  19. Thanks for sharing your toy hiding spots...it's actually crossed my mind briefly to use Max's train table as our coffee table. We didn't do it, but the constant power struggle with my 2 year old over toys takes more energy than I have sometimes....most of my energy goes to preventing him from causing major injury to himself or his sister. My baby girl is going to be 1 in 2 weeks...I totally understand how fast the time goes!

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  20. OMG, Jennifer! When I saw the title of your blog post on my side bar, I was excited to click on this because I need all the inspiration I can get these days. When I was reading about how it stresses you out that things are a mess - I could SOOOO relate! Before moving into our fixer upper home (where it currently is in total chaos about 99.9% of the time), we used to live in a town home, and I used to pick up after my boys and vacuum, etc. right after naptime (for my little one, I also have a teenager), and also right before bed. I thought I was the only neat freak out there!!! lol

    Sadly though, I am in in constant stress due to the "condition" of our home {per this blog post here: http://acozycottageinthecity.blogspot.com/2011/10/craziness-that-is-home.html}, as we are in the process of renovating to make our home functional. It's a constant work in progress (we just moved in this past summer), but believe me, blogs like yours help me see that there is a "light at the end of the tunnel." I just can't wait until things are "normal again." :)

    Also, I would have never guessed that yours was an approx. 1800 ft town home! We live in a very modest home too - 1600 sq. feet! Well, this is getting too long, so I shall digress. :) Thanks so much for your continued inspiration - your blog & home is just beautiful!!!


    XOXO's,
    Jessie

    acozycottageinthecity.blogspot.com

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  21. i love all your little hidden spots! our family room is the one room where we really let the kids play so there is some of their things there but mostly books and animals. we are fortunate to have basement so i can always move things there if it gets too messy. have a great week! susan

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  22. Yay!!!! Finally we see the toys:) xoxo

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  23. I must admit I totally thought you had a family room in your basement for all of the toys and TV and things that don't show in your house photos. I love the way you have incorporated storage in small places and shown real photos of what hides under your chairs. kristincita1@comcast.net

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  24. I love our 3rd floor playroom stocked full of toys, books, puzzles and climbing toys with slides! I couldnt live without it!

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  25. Kelly - I fear legos are not too far off! Right now is is play-doh that she likes to set up all over the dining room table and doesn't want anyone to mess up. =)

    Anonymous - we do now have the option to subscribe by RSS feed which I think gives you the option to sign up by e-mail. I am not super computer-savvy though, so I am not exactly sure how it works. Jason does all that stuff for me. I think if you click on it though it will give you the option to subscribe by e-mail.

    Lisa Joy - Ahhh, the TV. I don't know if I have ever shown it on here or not. It sits up on a big black dresser-like piece on the wall opposite the sofa in our family room. I would prefer to have it concealed (we had it in an armoire in our last house but that didn't work in this house). I will try to post a photo of it next time I shoot the family room.

    Jessie - Wow! I think renovating a home would stress me out too. I would love to do it someday but I think I might go a little crazy dealing with the day-to-day mess it brings!

    Susan - I am so jealous of anyone that has a basement! I definitely hope we have one in our next home.

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  26. You use your space so wisely and beautifully done. A great place for the toys! I'm also like you-a neat freak and feel unsettled when things are not in order. So, when can you fly out and help me decorate my house? Lillie is the most adorable tennis player I have ever seen!

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  27. I love this post! It's great and so feels so homey!

    Big greets from Germany! :)

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  28. I live in a townhouse as well and blog about it but I never would have guessed all these lovely pictures were of a townhouse! My blog is about making any space lovely and you certainly have accomplished that.

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  29. I like everything nice and neat too. You know? A place for everything and everything in its place. At our house, I designed cabinets for our closets. I measured the luggage and everything so it all would fit perfectly and I wouldn't have to see anything, then we just had our cabinet maker whip them up. Oh my, it is seriously the most favorite thing in my house.

    I have white furniture too and people always wonder how I keep it clean with two kids. We don't let our kids walk around the house eating and we always make sure that their hands are clean. We've said it so much that they just do it naturally now :)

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  30. I love seeing "behind the scenes" posts like these!! You've done a great job organizing/hiding toys. We too live in a small house, though it's A LOT smaller than yours, and we don't have a whole lot of storage either. It's hard to find furniture/accessories that will fit in our tiny spaces. Hopefully when we start having children we'll have a bigger home! Thank you for the inspiration!!

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  31. Love the pillow. You are so gifted!!!

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  32. I love the pillows!! Got my fingers crossed! I put your blog up on my fb page! I've been following your blog for almost a year now!! I've been using your blog for ideas for my decorating our new home!! -Houri Madenian

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  33. I love the style of your zebra print ottoman, can you give me the details for it? I have done some online searches but not finding anything similar. Your next post should be how you manage to keep all the cream and white clean in your house with 2 little ones ;)

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  34. your home is Gorgeous Jenni! I think you are teaching the girls such valuable lessons by picking up and having it neat between playing and by not having too, too many toys. Cheers to you and Jon!

    xojoan

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  35. Thanks everyone!

    Terri G - I got it at Target when it was on clearance about 2 years ago. I know someone else who has been hunting for it too, and no luck so far either :(

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  36. I've never seen anything as cute as your little one playing tennis!! Adorable!!

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  37. Hello Lillie!!Your blog is amazing!!
    I love your house,your pillows,all of them!!
    I follow you!!Ihave a blog too,if you want follow me:http://estade-moda.blogspot.com/
    Kisses,Olgianna!!

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  38. Simply amazing room!! And the kids! She's so adorable. She wants to be like Martina Hingis!

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