Archive | June, 2013

aaack! toy storage issues…

25 Jun
game closet, Royal Tenenbaums

the dream game closet, Royal Tenenbaums

My husband says my son has too much stuff. But I think the problem, per se, isn’t the quantity, it’s the under-footedness of it all.
Luckily, the toys we have today don’t bleep and bloop and sing those inane alphabet songs anymore.   But they’re misshapen, sticky-outy, big, and kind of all over the place.

Storage bins,

Storage bins,

The little things (vending machine toys, matchbox cars, balloon animal balloons) have bins, sort of like the one above, except with clear boxes and lids.  It’s not horrendous-looking, and great for the inevitable 7AM whine, “mom, where’s my blinky stretchy ring that we got at the street fair?”

kidkraft vintage kitchen in blue (new?)

kidkraft vintage kitchen in blue (very googie)

The medium-sized things (paints and paintbrushes, marble maze kits, plastic food, toy cameras, etc) get stuffed in the fridge, oven, and cabinet space of Fionn’s 2011 Christmas present.  Like the proverbial hall closet, things tend to fall out on unsuspecting playdate guests, but such is the price of a clean front room (where this lives).

The culprits.

The culprits.

But then, this.  These are the toys that trigger my OCD-panic and challenge my organizational desires. When we changed the room over, we got rid of those cute, but somewhat useless, book display ledges we so proudly drilled into bricks to install.

from a simpler time.

the today me is cackling at the 9-months pregnant me at these.

So I went trawling the internet to find some potential new solves (that might also prevent a spackle-and-repaint for those awesome wall holes).  And it’s not about the bins, bags, or boxes – the goal is to get this stuff off the ground.

Land of not-so-cheap

Land of not-so-cheap

Totally digging this Land of Nod “On The Grid’ bookcase-like thing, but for $200 bucks, it seems a little crazy.  But the whole three potato four-ness of it is pretty awesome.

"For moms who make crafts, prepare dinner, and still have time to go to the gym"

“Oh this? I just whipped something up between soccer practice and bedtime”

This is quite inspiring – wall-mounted curtain rods and hooks, everything hanging off the wall.  One of those “you don’t need to spend money, all you need is a spice rack and a glue gun” solutions, but this one seems to be simple enough to be cool (see link to   It could work on the figurines and soft stuff, but then there’s still the board games and cash register to figure out.

Ikea.  It's always Ikea.

Ikea. It’s always Ikea.

So, like everyone else on a desperate Saturday afternoon of non-finds, I end up at Ikea.  But this could be really nice.  It sort of reminds me of the Elfa systems at the Container Store.  And if it were to work, it doesn’t look like it’d occupy too much space or feel too bulky.  Go Ekby Jarpen and Ekby Gallo.  For $75 I might even do it then change my mind shortly afterwards.

Any advice is very welcome while the drill is charging and the Zipcar is being reserved.


he’s finally getting wall decals

20 Jun
It's A Small World - Gold Moroccan Facade, available at Oopsy Daisy

It’s A Small World – Gold Moroccan Facade, available at Oopsy Daisy

I’ve totally caved.

Over the past few months, our lives have changed again.  Me getting comfy in my big city job, hubby moving offices so we sometimes even see each other in passing or on the way to the subway, and buddy boy strollering-then-scootering-then-walking his way off to preschool.  Now it’s the summer and it’s time for another momentous shift in our lifestyle.

It’s big boy room.  For reals this time.  And we’re living the twin-sized life.

The loft bed

The loft bed

I’d never heard of Cymax before, but I found this South Shore Treehouse loft bed there for the best price – $540.  Cool thing is that it’s got the trifecta of young kids’ options – higher sides to prevent roll-outs, drawers and hiding storage spaces for all the toys that somehow mysteriously end up in our house, and the best part… a space underneath for hiding, reading, and playing.

A little bit of wall space back there...

A little bit of wall space back there…

We put in one of those battery-operated slap lights, Fionn’s little Cosco booster, some storage stuff.  But it just lacked something.

So Mommy gave in to the decal monsters.  But here’s why I’m OK with it.  It’s going UNDER the bed.  And to Fionn, under the bed could very well be under the sea.  (Whatever works, I say).

Gone fishing, via

Gone fishing, via

That’s my answer.  (Found these at Zulily.  They may appear again soon.)

But I think there are three basic ways of doing decals that don’t offend my (not very delicate, after nearly 4 years of parenthood) design sensibilities.

One: Keeping them in a confined, limited space.  Framing a crib, OK.  Filling a gap under the bed, fine.  Adding some great outdoors to a non-great-outdoors-facing space, ingenious.

Flowers from

Flowers from (obvs)

These Growing Flowers are adorable, and purposeful, in a modern, interesting way.

Two: Complementing and reflecting a design theme already chosen for the room.  Skip*Hop has some really bold, kid-friendly  decals that match the bedding designs but, even when put together, don’t go over the top into cutesy territory.  (Criteria one probably applies here too.  Think about placement to avoid ‘floating giraffe’ syndrome).

Screen Shot 2013-06-20 at 5.05.53 PM

Eames, Hirst, or hot air balloons? Courtesy Skip*Hop

Skip*Hop giraffes

Giraffes & shapes, courtesy Skip*Hop

And, three: Finding a GORGEOUS piece that takes the place of a framed artwork.

I’ve never heard of Oopsy Daisy before, but this was truly a find.  Branded “Disney’s It’s a Small World” collection, this line of ‘fine art’ decals are “inspired by Mary Blair’s iconic mid-century modern imagery and vibrant color blocking techniques.”

It's A Small World neutral facade

It’s A Small World neutral facade

Whatever.  All I know is that they’re amazing. Sadly, you’re going to pay for the amazingness – a small one (18×24, I believe) is about $100 and the 20×30 is about twice the cost – versus the $20 average you’ll probably spend.

It's A Small World regular

It’s A Small World regular facade

It's A Small World Indian facade

It’s A Small World Indian facade

If you’ve got a room where these work, I’d soooo go for it.  They’d probably be the perfect size to fit under a loft bed.