When you spend your days chasing after your little angels or sending them outside when you need some "mommy time," you barely have a minute to pick up their toys and toss them in a bucket, let alone time to worry about what that bucket looks like. But that doesn't mean you don't care how it looks!
With a little bit of creativity and planning on the front end, you can ensure their storage containers are not only functional but also fashionable and in line with the rest of your home décor ñ and you can make many of them yourself! Here are a few suggestions for DIY storage containers and a few tips on how to keep it all organized over the long haul.
Indoor Décor Options
One of the easiest ways to organize (and also the easiest on the eyes) is to color-code your storage.
Start by choosing items in the same color family as the rest of the room. Begin by looking for ready-made storage units – baskets, buckets, boxes or other containers – that will fit within the room's overall décor.
Although you can easily find storage bins and tubs in every primary color known to man (fire engine red, cobalt blue, Kelly green, sunshine yellow...you get the idea), it may not be the best fit for a room decked out in neutrals or pastel tones – or for a kid over the age of 4.
Whether you choose complementary containers or identical containers in complementary colors, the idea is the same: you're going for an overall cohesive look and full integration with the rest of the room.
When you can't find what you're looking for, make it! If you go this route, you have more flexibility with the "function" aspect of the item – choose solid pieces that serve the purpose you want and don't worry about how they look...because all of that will change anyway!
If you have designed custom linens/bedding or window treatments or covered a piece of furniture, consider using a remnant of that fabric to create a stand-alone tote or to cover a bucket or a small trash bin. This way, you have found a use for that leftover swatch of fabric and your room has a 100% cohesive and 100% coordinating child-sized storage container. Win-win!
Simple DIY Project Idea: Cover a wood box with fabric Make sure it's washable and easily removable for cleaning, sanitizing and even disinfecting (who hasn't been faced with a contagious outbreak of dreaded lice or chickenpox at least once?).
With paint, you are able to create your own custom colors or patterns at a fraction of the cost of fabric or purchasing a completed storage unit. Just make sure the paint is washable (latex – not oil based) and non-toxic and that you paint in a properly ventilated area with plenty of drying time before you need to use your containers.
Simple DIY Project Idea: Paint a bookcase A bookcase is always a great way to utilize wall space and as long as it's firmly attached to the wall so that little bodies working on balance won't be able to pull it down. Bookcases are also great for getting toys and books off of the ground and cutting down on the look of floor clutter throughout the room.
Take it Outside!
You have even more latitude when it comes to choosing storage containers that will "live" outside – all you need to do is keep several key points in mind:
- Make sure your containers are waterproof and weather proof;
- Choose items that can be power-washed, scrubbed and/or disinfected easily;
- Don't use materials that will rust, rot or melt: If you know the bin will sit out in the sun in the exact same spot day after day, don't choose one that is made of plastic or rubber (unless you are looking for that lovely 'burning rubber' smell!);
- Avoid using containers that will cut, pinch or harm your children: no sharp edges, no chains, no ropes or wires that could get tangled, poke or shock your kids;
- Beware of items that will retain heat and potentially burn your little guys!
Overall Organization Tips
- Color-coding is your friend! Consider separating colored bins based on what they hold: toys in one color, books in another, stuffed animals in another, etc.;
- Make sure heavier items are stored near the ground and never perched on top of something else to help ensure nothing heavy falls on your child;
- Label containers on the side when they are stacked or stored on shelves to make it easy to identify the contents without having to pull them out.
Those are just a few of the options at your disposal to dispose of the mess around your child's play set at the end of the day! What other types of items have you repurposed into storage containers for your kids?
Jay Harris is a Home Depot sales associate in the Chicago suburbs and a writer for the Home Depot website. Jay's interests in outdoor living include providing advice to parents on children's playsets, ranging from wooden swing sets to playsets.