Dealing with Kids Clutter: How to Have a Family Room Everyone Can Enjoy

Living room toy storage - Pocketful of Poseis

Before becoming parents we swore that our house would never be covered in kids toys. It is a huge pet peeve of mine and I vowed that somehow, someway I would find a way to keep everything picked up.  It worked for a while, mostly through determination and sheer will.  I was so obsessed I would move the baby swing in and out of the nursery as we needed it.  Fast forward a year later and this is what my living room looks like.

There are toys everywhere!!  Even when they are picked up there is still an unsightly pile of toys in the corner.  How did this happen?!?  Did I tell you I hate kids clutter, just as much as I hate that sign that says “Excuse our mess our kids are making memories”.  Seriously?!? Its okay for them to make memories and pickup their toys! (I know I am a hypocrite, we’re working on it. Convincing a 1 year old to pick up their things is not an easy task). It has become an even bigger problem in our new house since her nursery is upstairs now everything ends up in our family room.

In the past I’ve tried to dress up the way we store her toys by placing them in the cute vintage German enamel wash tub.  It worked for a little while, you could still see them but at least they were contained in one small area.  Now that she is older and has more toys she has outgrown the small wash tub causing everything to spill out onto the floor.

I couldn’t take the clutter anymore,  so I’ve come up with a new solution.  One that I am very proud of, all be it stupidly simple and I think it is something we can all live with.  It has transformed our messy kid themed family room into a space we can all enjoy.  The total cost of this project and my sanity $5! How amazing is that!?!? By simply repurposing items we already owned and making them safe for little fingers we have created a true FAMILY room.  Ahhhh…. can’t you just hear my sigh of relief?

I’ve owned this fabulous antique camel back steamer trunk for quite a few years now, it was a gift from my Dad.  I love everything about it. From the stamped tin sides to the leather handles I think its perfect.  A few years ago I wanted to store blankets in it, so i decided to make a false cover for the inside to get rid of that old musty trunk smell.  I used fabric, poster paper, and iron on fabric glue, all purchased at Walmart.  It hides the unsightly water stains, keeps the musty smell from transferring, and since its not actually attached to the trunk, it won’t affect the value or originality of the trunk.

Normally this beauty sits at the end of my bed, but unfortunately our bedroom is not big enough to allow passage for everything. So it found its way into our family room and since it hasn’t stored blankets in quite some time I thought it would be the perfect candidate for storing all the baby toys.  It’s larger than the enamel tub and it has a lid so I can literally shut the clutter out of my life.  It makes all of my Monica (Friends) OCD habits sing like a song bird in harmony and joy.

Because this steamer trunk is very old it came equipped with sharp edges and a lid that would close far too easily.  To make it safe for our little one I went to Lowes and purchased two friction arm brackets.  Each one cost about $2.50.

Be sure to read the packages.  There is a difference between the left and right brackets.  When refurbishing an antique steamer trunk I recommend using two brackets for extra safety (one on each side). The lids are rather heavy and the lid on my trunk had a fine metal band that could do some serious damaged if it were to accidentally close on little fingers. 

In this case I decided to screw these new brackets directly into the wood lining of my truck.  My daughters safety was more important than preserving the authenticity of the trunk.  The screws that came with the brackets were too long, so I had to dig into my stash of hardware to find something a little shorter so it wouldn’t go through the side of the trunk.  Once my new friction hinges were securely in place I simply tightened the central screw to adjust how easily the lid would close.

I love that this was a simple and super cheap fix to our clutter problem.  Now I’m actually putting my beautiful trunk to good use.

Ahhh… So beautiful and organized!

Do you have any tricks to help keep the kids clutter down?  I’d love to hear from you!

Shop my styleIf you love the way my freshly organized living room looks then you’ll love these beautiful accent pieces!  Who says design can’t be pretty and functional!

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13 thoughts on “Dealing with Kids Clutter: How to Have a Family Room Everyone Can Enjoy

  1. I love that idea! I am a very organized person too and in our little apartment I needed a solution for the baby toys. We bought a storage ottoman to put the toys in. It works great!

    1. That’s fantastic Lindsey! It’s so nice when you finally find the right combination of function and beauty.

  2. Oh my goodness! I have a 2 1/2 year male tornado living with me and he has enough toys for all the children in the world- or so it seems when they are strown from one end of my house to the other! I love that you repurposed a beloved chest to make the perfect toy chest! When everything is picked up and put away your chest is just a lovely addition to your family room. Good idea.

  3. I love how you are using the trunk! We have a 2 year old roaming around our house and her toys are just everywhere! I use a big basket to keep them, but lately they are exploding over the top! Time to get rid of a few things! 🙂

    1. No matter how many toys I get rid of the stack never seems to get any smaller. We just moved and I donated a ton of her old toys. You’d never know it looking at that mess!

      Thank you!


  4. Great trunk and perfect for storing toys! My kids clutter drives me crazy too!!! We’re living in an apartment until our house is finished and with the two girls sharing a room, the clutter is worse than ever! I try to ignore it but sometimes it gives me a headache just to look at it. I also have realized that my kids just have too many toys! Time for a garage sale…LOL

  5. That is perfect for toy storage! My kids have a ton of toys. Ever few months I clean out the old broken toys. Even doing that. Toys still find their way to our living room. Like now. I think it’s time to sort through some old toys.

    1. We do the same thing Ashley. We just moved and I got rid of a ton of toys. I don’t know how the multiply like this!

      Thank you!

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