Two kids in one small bedroom is a recipe for clutter. Even if the children aren’t messy by nature, stuff piles up fast. So 8-year-old Dev Patel and his sister Palvi, 5, were excited that their space was getting a makeover. The Toronto siblings, who share an 8-1/2-foot-by-12-foot room, were drowning in clothes, stuffed animals, hair accessories and artwork. Finding books due on library day required search and rescue skills. A professional organizer showed the family how pruning and low-cost fine-tuning could restore harmony.
Condense the closet
Bins abound, full of hand-me-downs that Palvi hasn't grown into; the bins take up all the storage space, leaving no room for the clothes she's already wearing. (Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star)
The foot of Palvi’s single bed obstructed access to the teeming closet, so awhile ago mom Vaishali Patel took the doors off for easier access. The result was more functional, but “an eyesore.” Debbie Bunze of Toronto-based Picture It Organized consolidated the piles of hand-me-downs that are still too big for Palvi, using half the number of bins and labelling them according to size. She also arranged installation of a Rubbermaid closet system from Home Depot for $150, including white wire shelves and hanging racks that added two levels of neat storage. A curtain rod and two panel curtains (totalling about $30 from Walmart) replaced the doors, adding softness to the room.
Installing affordable wire shelves and closet organizers on two levels creates plenty of space for clothes and the consolidated tubs of stored garments. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star)
A creative bed solution
The kingsize headboard beside Palvi's single bed has shelves to neatly display a few books, some artwork and baskets of toys, hair accessories and other everyday items. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star)
The Ikea day bed is useful because drawers underneath extend to accommodate a second mattress for sleepovers. The downside is a nightstand would block half the drawer space, so Palvi has had no place to put storybooks and other items she uses daily, which instead quickly spread across her side of the room. Her mom had a brainstorm. She found a king-size headboard the same length as the bed — at Staples for $165 — and tucked it against the wall. Bunze picked up storage baskets that fit the shelves for toys, stuffies, hair bands and her collection of Shopkins toys.
Pruning for space
Bunze helped sort books, art and schoolwork and rearranged drawers to accommodate more. That leaves the desk clear for doing homework and makes space for a chair. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star)
Dev’s side of the room consists of a loft bed with drawers under each step of the staircase and a desk below, made by Jysk. It sells for $799 though the Patels bought it for much less during a sale three years ago. While the unit is a great way to use vertical space, the lower half had become a magnet for everything from school supplies to sports gear. Bunze created space by reorganizing the closet and desk drawers and helping the kids prune their books, school work and art.
Tubs to the rescue
The kids found new space by weeding out books they'd outgrown. The basket, right, is for library books. Bunze traded the yogurt container of shells for a mason jar to display Dev's collection. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star)
Clear plastic tubs and dividers from the Dollar Store create order and additional space in the drawers. The kids donated books they had outgrown, clearing a spot for items such as his globe and stuffies. Bunze transferred Dev’s shell collection from an old yogurt container into a Mason jar for a pretty display. And there’s a basket for library books. The result? “Now I can use my desk!”
Manage the little things
• A box of memorabilia under Dev’s desk included the children’s first baby outfits, which their mother couldn’t part with, and some newborn photos. Bunze preserved each onesie and baby hospital bracelet in shadow boxes now hanging alongside their framed photos.
• For art and school work, instead of saving every piece in a giant bin, Bunze bought slim portfolio books with sleeves to save each child’s favourite pieces. She also mounted a permanent display on the wall outside the bedroom where Dev and Palvi can rotate their latest creations. Apps such as Artkive can turn kids’ art into books that preserve memories while saving space, she added.
The kids have far fewer stuffed animals in their reorganized bedroom, but that's OK with Palvi because they all have a home on her shelf and she can see them. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star)
For stuffies, Dev and Palvi had more than 30 critters, so their mom insisted they cut down to eight apiece. They rotate one at a time on the bed, while the rest wait their turn in a basket “zoo” on the shelf. Bunze says most kids are happy to help trim their toy and book collections when they realize another child, especially if it’s someone they know, will cherish them.
Vaishali Patel approached the bedroom project with one goal. “I need a system that the kids can easily follow, so I don’t have to keep nagging them,” she said. Looks like she got her wish. The kids love their new system. But more importantly, Dev and Palvi can’t wait to show visitors how cool their new room looks now that everything is in its place.
To find a professional organizer, visit Professional Organizers in Canada, organizersincanada.com.