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Declaring a Room Toy Free

by Andrea Updyke

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Our new home will have two main living spaces. One is on the first floor and has a fireplace while the other is downstairs in the finished basement. After some consideration about where we want to spend our time and the best spot for the new TV, we decided to make the basement room our all purpose living area and keep the first floor living room sans TV…and TOYS.

That’s right. I am declaring our living room to be TOY FREE.

At first it felt selfish denying my child a toy in every room, but with the added space and his ability to sleep in a real bed, we can have toys downstairs as well as in his room. But don’t worry, I will still have a touch of whimsy in the room. Case in point, my new pillows. We chose the pear because I just love that green!

I have to admit, this whole house thing is coming together and I love the idea of having a bit more division of adult vs. child space. I like to imagine that our evenings will be spent in front of the fire, drinking wine and reflecting on our day, not a Wiggle in sight.

Have you declared a room in your house toy free? How is it working out?

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Jen Farmer October 28, 2010 - 3:33 pm

I applaude you Andrea!!! I think thats awesome. As for me, we’ve given up. Since Fiona & Isaiah share a bedroom there is no room for toys there. The guest bedroom is also too small (& cluttered). So that just leaves the livingroom. I guess the only toy-free room here is the master-bedroom. There are just some things I can’t do while being watched by Big Bird.

Kristy October 28, 2010 - 5:17 pm

It’s taken me a lot longer than you to figure out that I have the power to say, “No more!” First, we took back the living room. Now, we are slowly taking back our dining room/school room. I’m ok if toys end up there sometimes because my youngest isn’t as focus as my older one, when we do “school.” We’ve banished the toys to the boys’ room, and the boys actually seem happy to play in their room. What a novel idea… well, it was for me! I made the mistake of bringing the train tracks into the living room for an afternoon. They didn’t make it back to the bedroom for a whole week! Needless to say, it’s a work in progress. I do enjoy having some grown-up space after the boys go to bed for the night. Good luck on your adventure of finding a toy-free zone. 🙂

Hilary October 29, 2010 - 9:28 am

Glad your new home is coming together! We have toys all over the place! But, our bedroom normally is the room without toys. I wish the living room was as well! I am always tripping over toys!

Angie October 29, 2010 - 3:49 pm

It was terrible in our old house, but now that we have a bigger house, it’s easier. Toys generally stay in their bedrooms. Now if I could just control the laundry….

Cyndi October 29, 2010 - 7:36 pm

We have a living room (separate from the den and no TV), but we never seem to actually sit in there with a glass of wine and enjoy it. Plus, the kids start doing laps through the downstairs and the toys migrate in anyway. But we keep trying — I think it’s a good goal to have!

Katie October 29, 2010 - 9:56 pm

Great post Andrea! I declared our entire first floor toy free, with the exception of one storage ottoman that holds toys and one book basket in our living room.

Our house is laid out with the living room, office/dining room,laundry, kitchen, and breakfast room on the first floor and 4 bedrooms upstairs. My girls share a room and all of the girly toys are in there. My boys will share a room once Reid (10 weeks) is sleeping through the night and all of the man-child toys are in there.

Quite often, my 3 older ones (4, 3, 22 months) want to play in the girl’s room after naps so the downstairs toys are barely utilized, especially during months where we can be outside playing. It’s nice to have the first floor more adult friendly since that’s where people hang when they are over. If the kids do play with the toys downstairs, I gate them in the living room so the toys don’t migrate to the other rooms, and if people come over, it’s super easy to clean everything up 🙂

Ginger October 30, 2010 - 1:56 pm

Very cool, those pillows are awesome!!! We don’t really have a toy-free room, at this point. Maybe one day, but I’m guessing by that point, kiddo will have outgrown most toys 😉

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