Monday, May 26, 2014

Closet Playroom Remodel

Sometimes I feel a little claustrophobic. We are a family of 6 living in a little over 1000 sq. feet. I know that we are incredibly blessed to have a home to call our own, and I LOVE our house! I really do! But there are days where I feel like the walls are caving in, and on those days I spend way too much time thinking about my dream home… A beautiful 3000 sq ft home nestled safely at the end of a cul-de-sac, with enough space for us to breathe. Surrounded by trees and a luscious garden, and a yard where my kids can run amuck… and we’ll have a garage, and a kitchen with enough counter space to cook a meal… sigh… It’s a beautiful dream. 
But it’s just that. A dream.   
One of the biggest items on my wish list is a playroom. I’d love to have a space where the kids can imagine, play, and create… and where I can close the door to contain the mess and pretend like it isn't there if I have to. This week while I was doing some deep cleaning in our closet under the stairs I decided… hey… if I want a playroom so badly, why don’t I just make one?!

So I did.

Now I’m totally kicking myself for not taking a before picture of what this closet looked like. But I didn’t realize I was going to be doing anything fun or exciting when I started my de-junking mission that morning. Sorry! There are no pictures of the total disaster that existed under my stairs. Imagine with me for a moment a closet so scary that you didn’t dare open the door lest something fall out of its precariously stacked location and knock you on the noggin. The floor was so littered with puzzle pieces, Legos, Barbies, and broken toys that you couldn't even see the floor.  In fact, there was no floor- just a knee deep swamp of despair.
True story. 

I took a deep breath and dug in. The first thing I did was empty the closet and get rid of anything and everything we don’t actually use. Then I vacuumed up the bag of powdered sugar that had apparently exploded underneath all the mess. How it got there in the first place I have no idea. After the space was nice and clean, I decided I wanted to paint! After all, what’s a playroom without some fun color?! I had a can of blue paint left over from an old project and used that to brighten up the space.

While the paint was drying, I organized the toys. An old wicker basket now holds all the dress up clothes. I happened to have some empty organizing bins in the attic, so I pulled those out and used them to store small toys and dress up accessories like hats, shoes and necklaces. (Ignore the ugly sticker... I don't know why I didn't pull it off.) Then I used an empty container from Sam’s Club that used to contain cheese puffs (I mean… uh… organic chia-flax-spinach-kale chips) to store all the play food.

This over the door organizer holds library books, and a few favorites from our bookshelf… I plan to rotate through them so we don’t always end up reading the same books.

One of the biggest reasons I wanted a playroom was to provide some creative space for my kids. My older girls LOVE to make crafts and they just end up all over the house and stuffed into every crevice of their closets. To solve the clutter issue I strung some twine on the wall, and used clothespins to hang up their masterpieces. If they want to put a new piece of art up, and there isn’t any room, they have to decide which piece they have to retire. That way I’m no longer the bad guy who sneaks old art projects into the garbage when no one is looking because I just can’t handle the clutter anymore. 

I also found two child-sized wooden chairs in my attic that had been sitting up there far too long so I pulled them out and stuck them in the "playroom." (This is why I have a hard time getting rid of things! You’ll never know when you need them again!) 

This totally rad ottoman now holds all the art supplies and also acts like a little table for pretend tea parties.
An empty tin is now the home for the stamps and glue sticks.

And as a finishing touch I decided to make a chalkboard out of an old picture frame and some chalkboard paint I’ve been holding onto for a while. I hung it over the ugly metal utility access panel on the wall… because why not? J

I seriously love this room! I know it’s small, but it’s so functional now! My kids spend hours in here every day, and I don’t know who is happier about it- them or ME! (Pretty sure it’s me.) They play dress up, do art projects, play house and their favorite make believe game- super spy! My oldest has also been using this room as a quiet place to do her homework. 
I think my favorite part of this whole project is that for the most part I just used items I already had on hand. The only two things I bought were the red ottoman and the super funky rug… both on sale at Ross! Score!
(bonus points if you can find spot the tiger and the yellow rose who snuck into this picture.) 
This project was so much fun, and it was a great reminder to me that THIS home can be my dream home. I know it's small, but we I honestly believe that someday we will look back on our years spent here and realize they were some of the happiest years of our lives. Some days I may feel like we don't have "enough" but I  am learning to that I have the ability to take what I have right now and make it enough. It’s all about being happy, wherever you are J

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