I always find it interesting, helpful and inspiring to see how minimalism looks in other people’s homes and lives. Kid’s stuff and toys often seem to be one of the biggest hurdles many families face when simplifying and decluttering. Today I’m sharing a tour of our simplified, minimalist playroom to show you what minimalism looks like in our home. And hopefully, give you some inspiration and encouragement to tackle the toys in your house!
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Our version of a real-life minimalist playroom
Minimalism will mean something different to each of us and we will all have our own version of minimalism. This is our version of a minimalist playroom that works for our family at this stage in our lives. It’s important to remember that this is not the only way a simplified playroom can look. Instead, it’s simply a way to share how we put minimalism into practice in real life in our home.
Playroom inspiration: using our space intentionally to suit our needs
Our home has a generously sized kitchen with plenty of room for our dining table. It also has a formal dining room. However, we knew we would rarely use a formal dining room. So rather than let a lovely, light-filled space in the heart of our home sit unused, we decided to use the dining room as a playroom instead. Now we spend a lot of time in the space, and I’m so glad we decided to use our space this way.
We put a large area rug in the room to keep it cozy and comfortable while the kids are playing. My kids are both young enough that they enjoy playing close to where I am. Because the playroom is right between the kitchen and the living room, it’s a great location that keeps them central.
This is what works in our current season of life. It’s about using the spaces in your home intentionally to suit your needs today. For us, a playroom is a better use of the space than a formal dining room.
A bit about our family
To give you some context about our playroom, my daughter is 7 and my son is almost 4. My daughter Emily is in a really fun stage of playing where she enjoys making up games, scenarios and activities. Watching her put her creativity to use is so fun. She usually doesn’t play with a lot of actual toys. Instead, opting to use things she finds around the house for her games and activities. She still uses a small selection of toys, but a lot of her play is more make believe and imaginative.
My son Gavin, plays with more toys than Emily, especially while Emily is at school. When they are home together he follows her around joining in all her games and activities. But while she’s at school and he’s playing on his own, he plays with more physical toys.
Space for creativity
Emily also spends a lot of time drawing, coloring, writing and doing arts and crafts. To give her the space to do this, we recently set up an art station on one side of the playroom. She is delighted to have her art supplies accessible and spends a lot of time creating in this corner of the room.
Gavin has started showing more interest in coloring and drawing and enjoys the art station as well.
Their art station includes a (well used) kid-sized table and chairs. And we keep a selection of coloring supplies in the hanging cups above the table.
The bulletin board lets them hang and display their favourite creations. In the small shelf, we have markers, glue, scissors, paints and paint brushes, and various coloring books, paper, stickers, etc. The shelf also holds their Boogie Boards and accessories, which they both thoroughly enjoy drawing on.
I recently added a garbage can to the art station, and don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this sooner! It really helps cut down on the mess when the kids are working on an arts and crafts project.
Our minimalist playroom
The toy storage shelf
We store the kids’ toys in this 8-cube shelf from Ikea. It’s sturdy and very functional for toy storage. I use smaller plastic containers on the upper shelves so the kids can easily see what’s available. In one bin we have some Duplo Lego pieces. My daughter also has a few Lego sets in one of the basement cupboards. She doesn’t like her little brother getting into her Lego as she’s building it, so keeping it out of the playroom works better for her.
We have another bin with Emily’s ponies, a bin for Gavin’s action figures and superheroes, and a bin for his favourite cars and vehicles.
In the larger baskets on the bottom, we have one for dress-up clothes. Next, each kid has one basket for their favourite toys. Emily’s is mostly dolls, doll accessories, and a few random smaller toys like Shopkins. Gavin’s basket holds his various swords and weapons, and his collection of random favourites. The last basket holds the kids’ collection of Calico Critters. They both love playing with these little critters!
Next, to the cube shelf, we have another medium sized basket with a few different balls and mini hockey sticks.
Because we rotate the toys occasionally, the contents of each of these bins and baskets change accordingly.
The play kitchen
We also have a play kitchen with a small selection of play food, cooking wares and appliances. The kids enjoy playing restaurant, having tea parties and preparing food for their babies. We purposely keep the amount of play food and cooking supplies limited. When they had more, it usually just got dumped out, and rarely played with. Now we just keep their favourite kitchen items they use often in their kitchen.
A mini trampoline for active play
The mini trampoline is one of their most used toys. We live in a place with long, cold winters, and can often go weeks at a time with the temperature too cold to play outside much. This trampoline has been a wonderful way for them to burn off some energy and have the opportunity to bounce around at times like that!
Other toys in the house
In addition to the playroom, we keep toys and books in a couple of other places in our house. We have a small selection of books in a basket in the living room. As well as another basket in our entryway for library books.
The kids also each have a small bookshelf in their bedrooms with more books and a few toys. Along with a bin for their stuffed toys. Emily loves her stuffed toys and plays with them a lot. Gavin has a smaller collection of stuffed toys that he likes to sleep with.
We have a small container with Play-doh and Play-doh toys we keep in our basement and bring out occasionally to play with.
And as I mentioned in last week’s post, we also use a simple toy rotation system. We keep 4 medium-sized plastic tote bins in our basement storage room that hold the toys we rotate into our playroom occasionally. Read more about our simple toy rotation here.
Finding our version of a minimalist playroom
The toys in our playroom are not static. In addition to our toy rotation, the kids also receive new things for Christmas and their birthdays. And occasionally are given or earn money to buy something new. We try to be intentional about regularly decluttering the toys and the playroom to make room for new items. This helps keep the number of toys to a reasonable amount so the kids can enjoy their playtime without toys and mess taking over the house.
That’s our minimalist playroom. As I said the space has and will continue to change and evolve as our kids’ interests and needs change. It’s a well used and well-loved space. And that has always been my goal – to have it full of plenty of play and fun!
We are fortunate to have this wonderful space for our kids to play. But if you don’t have a dedicated playroom – our previous house didn’t – simplifying the toys makes it easy to incorporate a play space in another area of your home. When you have fewer toys, it’s easier to find homes for them in the living areas, kids’ bedrooms or wherever works for your family.
Let me know what you think of our minimalist playroom in the comments below! Do you have a simplified playroom for your kids? I’d love to hear what works for your family in the comments too!
Thursday 3rd of September 2020
Hello! I know your post was from a while ago but I love the set up! Do you include your kids when decluttering toys? Mine are 5 and 3 so it’s hard because they want to keep everything. We also have toys with a bunch of little pieces, or small toys they get in goodies bags and things like that. The little pieces drive me buts! :) Any tips for those?
Simple Lionheart Life
Friday 4th of September 2020
Thank you! I'm glad you found it helpful! I do usually include my kids when we're decluttering their toys. My kids are 9 and 6, so it's getting easier to include them the older they get. I have one child who is fine getting rid of what he's done playing with and one child who wants to keep everything. So I understand your struggle!
One thing I often do though, before decluttering with them, is take a quick run through the playroom on my own. I get rid of anything broken, no longer age-appropriate, garbage, etc. I find their attention and decision-making abilities are still quite short and limited when it comes to decluttering. Getting rid of any obvious junk first means when they're helping me we don't waste their limited attention and focus on decluttering junk and garbage.
Another thing we do is focus more on what they are keeping, rather than what they are getting rid of. For example, I have them choose their 10 favourite stuffed animals that they definitely want to keep. Then I find it easier for them to let go of any that aren't their favourites. Sometimes I'll even encourage them to compare toys to their "top 10" (or 20 or whatever) and see if they like the toy enough to put it in their top 10. It helps them make decisions about what they truly love and play with, and what they are willing to let go.
As far as the little toys they get in kids' meals, goody bags, etc. For the most part, we let them bring them home and play with them. Then these are some of the things that usually disappear when I do my initial decluttering sweep through the playroom without them helping! We don't keep it a secret from the kids that we'll get rid of those things. We tell them up front that they can play with them, then when they're all done with them, we'll get rid of them. They don't seem to mind!
We also have a "treasure box" for each kid in their rooms where they can keep those random little toys that they do love. They are responsible for deciding what they keep in their treasure box. And if it gets too full, it's up to them to decide what they're going to keep or get rid of to make room for something new. It's a great way to contain all those little things and treasures, and give them control over what they keep or not.
I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions! And thanks for reading :)
Wednesday 24th of April 2019
I love this! Especially the idea of using a space as it suits your family at that particular time. The art space is fantastic and I will keep this in mind for when my daughter is a little older.
Simple Lionheart Life
Thursday 25th of April 2019
Thank you, Ali! I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading :)
Tuesday 19th of March 2019
This is so beautiful! Where is the shelf from that you use beside the art table ?! Its so perfect, I feel like I need it in my life :)
Simple Lionheart Life
Wednesday 20th of March 2019
Thank you so much, Shay! This is the shelf we have. I added in an extra board to add an extra shelf to it. It works great for the kids!
Monday 3rd of December 2018
I love this so much, thank you! I am just getting ready to set up a dead space as a play room and am trying to keep it minimalistic. There are so many great ideas here. I love the separate bin for the library books... they always get mixed in and I am frantically searching for them when the due date hits!
Simple Lionheart Life
Monday 3rd of December 2018
You're so welcome, Shelly! I'm happy to hear it was helpful for you! Thanks for reading and I hope you and your family enjoy your new play space!
Brooke @ HappySimpleMom
Wednesday 4th of July 2018
I love seeing a real life playroom. Thank you for sharing it with us! The shelf with baskets is practical and nice looking. I have noticed using baskets makes it much easier for the kids to do the cleanup themselves. I’ve been inspired by your art supply set up. I haven’t mastered that one! Thank you!
Simple Lionheart Life
Sunday 15th of July 2018
I'm glad you enjoyed this little tour, Brooke! I agree - baskets make cleanup much easier for kids. I find it's hard enough motivating my kids to clean up, so I try to make the process as easy and painless as possible! ;) It took a while to figure out an art station that works for us. And it's always changing and adjusting as my kids' needs and interests change. But we all love having a dedicated place for creativity! Thanks for reading :)