Living Space vs the Toys …. Think About It

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Do you ever look around your house, and wonder how you can keep it all clean? You’ve got kids running around everywhere, and find yourself constantly tripping over toys.

Over the weekend, we were at my sister in laws house. She has a set of toys in the main living space dubbed “Upstairs Toys”, but the bulk of the toys is in the basement and are dubbed “downstairs toys”.  Her home always looks so immaculate and inviting. We got to talking about how she keeps the toys separated, and it really helps with the cleaning.

Now in my head I’ve always decided that the toys belong downstairs in our house. It’s where the kids bedrooms and the playroom are. Really the toys don’t need to be anywhere else in the house. Yet they always seem to get scattered up and down, and even outside. I’d really like to have a sit down with the kids and tell them that the toys aren’t allowed upstairs anymore.

However, at the same time, I like that my kids feel comfortable playing in any room. I like that they come play near me while I’m working (even if they do get in my way sometimes).  I love watching their imaginations take off as different household items get incorporated into their toy play. Would I be squalling their creativity if I kept all the toys downstairs? Would I spend less time with my kids if I didn’t let them bring their toys upstairs while I’m cooking? 

I guess I’m just having a hard time finding a good balance. I think I need to separate our toys, like my sister in law does. Some can be upstairs, and some can be downstairs, but we don’t mix the two. All I really want is a front room that when people walk into don’t feel bombarded by toys (or other stuff for that matter). I want just one clean room. Is it too much to ask? One room that looks like it could be in a Better Homes and Garden? 

Think About it
Do you have a room in your home, free of toys? How do you separate the living space, from the playing space? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


10 thoughts on “Living Space vs the Toys …. Think About It

  1. I have that sign at my house! I have one in my kitchen as well.

    Anyway, I think it all depends on how a house is setup what can work best. As you know, we are in a small apartment for our family size and we feel stuffed. I do not allow toys in our downstairs. I keep the downstairs clean for company. Because of the size of our apartment, we are over run with everything, especially toys. I have gotten rid of so many over the years but still have a problem. We have a huge closet upstairs that we put the toy bins in. The kids play in the hallway usually because their rooms are covered with beds.

    The reason I'm good with not having them near me all the time is that they need to learn independence and it's okay that I'm not with them all the time. I had a problem with Howie being too attached and had to work with him to be away from me. I don't want my kids to be the one screaming and hanging on to me the first day of school. When they want to be downstairs while I'm cleaning or something, they sit at the table and do playdough or art projects. The mess stays contained and the toys stay upstairs out of my way. I always have time set aside each day that I can play with the kids so they get their quality time and they know when I'm working, it's my work time. I grew up with a mom who "worked" all the time and although we were in the same room with her, it didn't develop the relationship with her.

    1. The sign in your kitchen is the one about snow right?

      I really think you have got a great sep up Elizabeht (besides the overcrowding of apt living). I just need to find my balance. See it's the little thoughts that start turning into bigger ones.
      "I want a clean house" ends up at "I want to spend quality time with my kids, and have a clean house at the end of it". Now to implement!

    2. Yeah, you just have to find what works for you. Just don't stress too much about it or overthink it. I used to worry about people coming over all the time, but you know what, most of the people have kids too and go through the same thing. With my kids being a little older now, it's a little easier than it was. For me, it's more important to build that relationship with my kids than having a spotless house. (probably because I don't have it with my parents)

  2. I have gone through different stages with my toys. I used to keep a box in the main living room where we spent most of our time, and I rotated it regularly. Because there was only one box, it was quick to pick up. Now we have a playroom, and it's always a disaster because I don't clean it regularly and the kids certainly don't. Part of me just wants to give away 90% of the toys since they rarely play with most of them anyway.

  3. I can see how it would be harder if you have the upstairs and downstairs separated. Our apartment is rather small and the kids room is off to the side so we keep all their toys in their room. During the day they're allowed to bring out toys and play with them-but they always go back into their room and get picked up after bedtime each night. It works for us! 🙂

  4. The dining room and living room are toy free and clean but I don't go in those rooms so Michael doesn't either. I have accepted that there will be things until the kids are out of school, a few years off and potentially grandchildren. It is a vicious cycle!

  5. I think the only room in my house that is nearly free of toys is the master bedroom, although I think a couple of rescue heroes might be hiding out under the bed… I need to get the house organized and have the toys relegated to certain areas but it has gotten so out of control the task is too daunting.

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