Addie + Charlotte's Play Space | January 2020

Addie and Charlotte are such creative kids, with art and craft materials to rival a professional artist. Charlotte loves American Girl Dolls, and has an enviable collection of dolls and their fashions/accessories. Both girls also love LEGOs. All of this adds up to a lot of stuff but not a lot of space to put it all. This equaled a main level play space that was overflowing and muddled with art supplies and toys, while their basement play space was being underutilized.

This is where I come in. :) Their lovely parents were keen to find ways to maximize their play spaces and create better storage and organization. They also wanted to keep with the same beautiful aeshtetic on the main level they had created with their custom pieces from Forty Third Place. Here’s what we did:

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Minimizing toys – how to do it with (and without) your kids! | #curatedpsa

Get your tiny humans involved in the sorting and organizing, just give them parameters!

In my experience the majority of children are not keen to part with their things. I know the general thought in this post Marie Kondo world is to have them involved with the purging, but I can guarantee you that every single toy will bring them joy (even the ones they haven’t played with in over a year). So, what to do? You want to downsize but your small human belongs on an episode of Hoarders.

Here’s a couple of recommendations:

  • A simple way to downsize and have your children involved is to have a set container/basket side for things. For example the stuffies (because everyone has too many) – if they don’t fit in the designated basket then they don’t get to stay. You’re giving your child control but with very clear perimeters. They may still need help talking through letting go, and almost certainly they won’t choose the toys you would keep, but it is a really easy way to downsize with your child’s help.
  • The other step, is to purge while the kids are away (be brutal, like for realz). Start boxing/bagging up toys you know they don’t use anymore and put them out of sight. I can guarantee they won’t notice anything but their play space feeling easier to play in. If they haven’t been desperately missed in a couple of weeks, donate away!
  • When purging, low hanging fruit are toys that come with kids meals and all the plastic crap you get at birthday parties. Unless your kids have a huge attachment to them, these should go. Toys your kids have aged out of using is another easy one to remove.
  • Make sure not to forget books (this one can be hard, I get it). Start with books you hate reading (we all have them), books that were gifted and nobody enjoys, and books they are too old to read anymore. Little Free Libraries make donating books so easy and anxiety free.
  • Finally, find a task you can do together. At my last install, the five year old of the house was very keen to get involved. We sat together and worked intently for over an hour sorting beads, craft materials, and testing old markers to see if they still worked (which ultimately meant minimizing materials). Being involved helped her feel ownership to the new space and made it easier for her to see how having an organized, cleaner, more minimal space made it easier to play and created.

Nathan + Maren's Play Space | December 2019

I can’t think of a better way to end the decade than by being given the privilege to create a brand new play space for two wonderful tiny humans. When I visited their home for a consult, the kids main play space was the open concept living room that connected with the kitchen. Having toys in this space works well, because it’s a great space for the kids to play when a parent is cooking and they want to be close. But the room as overflowing and with the prospect of a new play kitchen coming for the holidays, something new had to be done. The kids’s bedrooms were also jam packed with toys, most stored in way that they just weren’t being used.

The solution was creating a new play space in the finished basement, that up until now had double as holding place for things that needed storing or donating.

Continue reading “Nathan + Maren's Play Space | December 2019”

Creating an art cart!


Ladies and gentlemen – the art cart. A perfect gift idea for the kid who has everything but doesn’t know where to find it. 😜 Giving is 1000% my love language – not physical gifts per say, but just the act of doing something kind for someone else. This holiday season I offered my services to a dear friend and we decided creating an art cart for her girls would be the perfect gift for me to give them. So today I headed over with a cart, paper sorter, and wide mouth mason jars (#theessentials) and turned their jumbled art supplies into organized creativity ready to happen.

Thrifting 101.

I love to thrift and I do it a lot. Thrift stores are 100% my happy place. Walking in feels exciting and like I’m about to embark on a treasure hunt. I never know what I’m going to find, but I usually walk out with something magical. However not everyone feels this way. For lots of folks thrift stores can feel overwhelming and like an endless cavern of crap, which let’s be honest, they kind of are – haha. But in this age of everyone needing to do their part for the environment, plus wanting to budget friendly, while also desiring an original ‘Insta-looking’ aesthetic, thrift stores are where it’s at! So at the risk of spilling all my secrets and everyone rushing out to buy all the treasures, I thought I’d share some hot tips on how to make a trip to the thrift feel a little more do-able.

  • First step is to go in with a plan. You obviously can’t shop for a super specific product, but you can go in saying I am looking for baskets with no handles to fit on my shelf, or I’m looking for animal figurines for small world play. This way you are focussed, can hit the specific aisles, and then can get out before you’re swallowed whole.
  • Be open minded. Sometimes you will find an item that with a bit of zhushing can meet your wildest dreams. I talk more about how to do that here.
  • In this same vain, don’t buy junk or broken things. It’s one thing to have to add some pom poms to hide a blemish, and the other to buy a toy or item that just looks like rubbish.
  • Think outside the box and look for unexpected toys and materials. I love the big section of bags filled with knick knacks and kitchen utensils.
  • Look at the electronics for old phones, keyboards, and joy sticks.
  • The linens for vintage crochet blankets and other fun old bedding.
  • Housewares for storage, from fun tins and containers, to wood bowls and baskets.
  • When shopping for toys, go in with a list so you don’t walk out with things you do not need. I have a list of certain toys I always look for. Don’t buy anything new until you have organized your child’s toys and inventoried what they really need.
  • Prioritize aesthetic! For example, when shopping for mud kitchen supplies, opt for the fun colorful or floral pot over the basic silver one. It might cost $1-2 more, but it’s so worth it for look and appeal.
  • Big mirrors are an amazing way to open up a space and make it feel larger, inside and out. Thrift stores sell them for super cheap! I love to spray paint old ugly wood mat white for a clean modern look. It’s worth the time and investment.
  • Always skim the artworks for pieces that would make your decor pop – I’ve found some amazing painted vintage mirrors and artworks in my many visits.
  • Go on sale days! Sign up for the free memberships and feel like you’re getting an even better deal than you usually are.
  • If possible, going during work hours (especially on sale days). It’s much less busy and overwhelming.
  • Take a snack and some water – sustenance.
  • If you take your kids, hit the books/toy section first and let them choose something to take home (my rule is nothing broken, nothing junky). This toy will then keep them entertained while you shop for your goodies.

And if all else fails, just hire me to do your shopping and treasure hunting for you! :)