Reorganize the play space to get ready for Santa

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We’ve been following the Wilkinson family for a while now. From the birth of their quintuplets in 2007 to seeing them as kindergartners. We marveled at how mom Rachelle organized her home for not just the quints, but for their two older siblings as well. Every child had a different color for their stuff, everything had its place — even in the playroom that sits in the middle of the bedrooms.

Then, the kids got older and nothing seem to work. The playroom had many clear bins filled with stuff, but yet, the stuff never seemed to get back in those bins. It was — where most kids’ toys are — on the floor.

The space “didn’t feel good,” says Rachelle Wilkinson. “It felt cluttered and messy. … it felt depressing.” She often avoided coming up there.

The family had simply outgrown a playroom that now needed to be something more than a room with toys.

With the quints sharing two bedrooms, there also wasn’t room for them to have a desk in their rooms, yet, the now third-graders needed a place to do homework.

They also needed a place where the family could all sit and watch a movie together or play a board game. The sad couch along one wall couldn’t fit them all.

The IKEA Home Tour Squad chose the Wilkinson family to be one of two local families to have a room in their home redone. The other family chose a small space between the living room, dining room and entryway. Over three days, designer Robin Bach redid the playroom of the Wilkinsons’ Cedar Park home while filming it for a video that will be on the IKEA website, hometourseries.com, in January. The video will feature tips on ideas you can take from the Wilkinson family’s playroom makeover.

We’re giving you a sneak peak because as your family fills your house with new toys, you might want to think about reorganizing the play area of your home, too.

First things first, the family had to get rid of all the toys that the kids had outgrown. Parting can be sweet sorrow, so keep only the most sentimental to bring out when your kids have kids, or make them a special feature in the kids’ bedroom. Be sure to donate gently used toys to organizations like Goodwill. Toss the broken ones.

Select the right organizational system that will work for your family. IKEA chose the Trofast system that does have bins, but the colored bins of varying height slide out from the unit rather than just stack. Each bin is labeled with what it contains: Doll stuff, dress up, (play) food, cars-trucks, tracks, etc. The older kids, Riley and Kaiya, have their own bins, too.

Divide the room into areas based on function. Bach created an art area with a wood table with a plastic covering and chairs. Supplies hang in bins attached to the wall. The kids can showcase their art using a Digitet curtain wire and clothes pins.

She created a homework station for the quints along one wall. It’s a long table with five chairs. In front of each chair, are two containers mounted on a wall rail that contain pencils and other supplies. Each station has a lamp and a cabinet above it to store more supplies. The older kids already had a desk in their room, but once they saw the quints’ setup, they wanted a space, too.

Bach created an entertainment center with all of their electronics, including the TV, and places for games, movies and books. The things that the kids will want to access themselves are in labeled bins. Things that they don’t use as often are on the higher shelves or in the cabinets.

Toys and books that they might use the most sit under the coffee table in buckets.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenge was to have enough seating for nine people to sit comfortably and watch a movie. The family now has a backwards J-shaped sectional.

One of the most fun and creative parts of this makeover sits under the sectional. Bach took the top of table and put castors on the bottom. Now when the kids want to play with Legos or build a puzzle, they can sit on the floor, pull out this table and play. When they are done, they can roll it under the sectional again.

Bach created a room that is right for the age that the quints are right now, but it can also grow with them. They can switch out pillows to make it more teen, less elementary school, and they can swap out what toys are in the bins.

While parents Rachelle and Jayson Wilkinson were in on many of the elements of planning this room, the crew did surprise them with one element. They blew up a picture they took of the family on the first day and turned it into a black-and-white piece of art on one wall. It was the parents’ favorite part of the makeover.

Within minutes of looking around the room, the kids were already at play. They pulled out an exercise mat and started doing headstands in their new space. They pulled out toys from the bins and sat on the floor or sectional and started playing.

You could hear echos throught the room” That’s so cool,” “That’s awesome,” “That is so fun,” “I love it so much.”


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