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Playroom decor a la toddlers – welcome to my real life

Are you all seeing the amazing organizational posts out there right now? How to start the new year off right with no clutter, less mess, and a peaceful mind? Yeah… well you should definitely read those if you want some motivation, and treat this as your what not to do.

Sigh! You will probably in the history of never ever see me write an organizational post because I’m the least organized person out there. I try, I really do, I spend 3 hours organizing the play room and then my 2 favorite tornados come along and I can’t even figure out which end is up.

A play room

I’m totally not exaggerating either about the tornado thing, I have been told on numerous occasions when other’s have watched my kids –

Wow, I don’t know how you do it!

AND “they have a LOT of energy”

AND “they are quite the handful aren’t they?”

AND my most recent favorite from my saint of a cousin who watched them for the weekend “I see why you don’t really need to work out anymore…”

I’m thinking of making up t-shirts that say

I babysat the Rinzema children and lived to tell about it.


They look soooo innocent :) (photo by my amazing friend Kari at Zander and Breck photography)

But I get comments all the time to the effect of “oh my goodness how do you have so much white in your house with little kids?!” and I always try to explain because we have a playroom where we try to corral them so the rest of the house isn’t a complete disaster.

So, I dedicate this post to all of you who think I have it together, because I so totally don’t! Here is the new and “improved” playroom decor a la toddlers.

The lovely pristine white table is now graffiti chic…even Buddy is appalled at it’s condition.

A playroom table with colors on it

The oh so cute letter wall is now missing the letter E, because it fell of the wall and Buddy immediately ate it…now who is appalled?

A living room

I don’t even know what to say about my poor chairs.

A close up of a chair

I wish I had thought to take a photo of the avant garde oil pastel art my son drew on the carpet, but we had to have them steam cleaned…not to mention his other attempts at artwork with a somewhat less appealing medium then oil pastels…

before you think I’m some insane mom who doesn’t teach her children the do’s and don’ts of the world, let’s pause.

I have tried the “only one toy out at a time”, the “I’m taking this away since it was left out”, the “clean this up or no tv/ipad/dessert” but in the end sometimes kids just need a space to be kids.

A train table

I have 2 very creative kids, they don’t play with their toys the way they are meant to be played with. Their imaginations run wild – they make race tracks out of books and elaborate art installations out of taping all their toys together. They line up all the cars in the baby crib and have them take naps before giving them a carwarsh in the microwave of their kitchen.

And that’s ok, I’m happy they use their imaginations. After all, I totally remember cutting all my barbies hair off and painting them purple and I turned out ok…mostly…

So, I’ve let it go (mostly) and I’ve decided this room doesn’t need to be perfect. This room can have dinged walls and stained carpet and missing pieces, because they have a space where they can play, really play and use their imaginations and create and have fun.

playroom walls with letters

That said, it’s not all Lord of the Flys in here either, we go thru once or twice a week and have a family clean up where we straighten things out and try to find the floor again. And little man is slowly accepting that paper is for coloring and not walls, carpet, chairs etc…but my new year’s resolution is to embrace the chaos a bit more and enjoy their excitement and fun and not worry so much about the mess. I know this phase in life will end pass too quickly and they will be holed up in their rooms with their headphones on…

and then the Mr and I plan on setting fire to everything in this room and starting over ha!

So, here’s how to not organize your home and still remain relatively sane, well sane-ish…

For more photos of the playroom check out this oooold post here. I’ll be back tomorrow with a little project I have going on in here that I can’t quite decide if it’s finished or not. So check back tomorrow and bring your opinions!

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  1. Love to see the “reality side” once and a while. Even though we all like pretty spaces we can ban together knowing it doesn’t stay that way for long :)

  2. Haha, I’m so relieved to see this post! I always wonder how moms with young children can keep their house in such pristine shape and it’s great to see that one of my favorite design bloggers struggles with some of the same madness that I do with my little guys! We just ordered a really similar white table…and about five minutes after it was put together my three-year-old went to town on it with black pen (in case you’re curious whitening toothpaste will take that out). Oy the perils of motherhood!

  3. I get so aggravated and stressed about toys everywhere sometimes that I force myself to take a deep breath and think about the fact that one day all of those toys will disappear….that softens me up really quickly!

  4. Wow, thanks for keeping it real! The playroom is so gorgeous but it is nice to see that it is really a playroom. My son is not at the tornado stage yet, but I am not looking forward to it!

  5. I feel the same way. People always wonder how my house looks so nice. Uh, stop by unannounced and see how it looks! I also have a lot of white, and have worn out my Google search when it comes to getting stains out of things. My motto is it is my home and theirs. I decorate my house, there is white, and lots of other non kid proof things. But I also decorate for them, leaving their rooms kids friendly all the way, and not putting out things that are very special or expensive in reach of them. It is a balance. I love your home, I just happened upon your blog and am so inspired on little things I saw here. I am just starting out with my blog but I love to see some well established blogs, to be inspired.

  6. Oh Kelly! This was so refreshing to see! Im not the only one who has marker everywhere and ruined chairs! lol

    Our baby just took a permanent marker to our leather sofa and finally that is something my pillow hoarding cant hide! :o

    Hope you are enjoying the sun today. Love your honesty!


  7. HAHAHAHA!!! Kelly would you believe that I was JUST in our playroom trying to organize and sort and clean up and feeling so perplexed over the crazy assortment of things happening in there which are evidence of the fact that my own tornadoes don’t play with their toys the “normal” way either! But normal is totally over-rated right? ;-) I absolutely LOVE this post and completely relate and I’m so glad you shared real life with us!

  8. Yes, I can attest to the fact that your two nuggets are extremely high energy! They can also drive this G. a bit nuts when they paint, sculpt, create monsters and basically do anything and everything with their food other than eat it! I also know they are the funniest, most intelligent, and articulate 2 and 5 year old around, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything! Love them and you to the moon and back! mom

  9. Wish I can show you a picture of my 22 yr old daughters bedroom. I just closed the door. Yes, they do grow quickly. I think, because you are a blogger, you feel like your house has to be pristine. No worries here, it real life. I love your writing.

  10. Last week I had to go to my optomologist and in the course of visiting we got to talking about the toys children his age had growing up. Mine received a matchbox toy if they were good while we shopped they got to go to McDonalds and then I took them to KMart and pick out a toy. He had matchbox toys too, but he bought black cat fire crackers and put in his toys and blew them up. So you see there have been onery children since the beginning to time and this man grew up to be a very good eye doctor and my children grew up to be an engineer, a OT and an electrician. Hope that makes you feel better

  11. oh Kelly!! I remember those days!! My three are 15, 15 & 12…and you are right, this time will pass quickly. It just doesn’t feel that way when you are in the middle of it. I used to do the same thing, keep it in the playroom. At least the rest of the house had some order or I would have gone over the deep end!! They will be in school full time before you can blink and this will be a memory/blackmail photo to use someday!! Keep your sense of humor. You are doing a great job! God bless and I look forward to seeing your project tomorrow. :-)

  12. We all know kids will be kids! All moms go through it! You sound a lot like me. I have a “clean the clean obsession” as my husband calls it! I was so frustrated about the play room when my kids were little too. We’re perfectionists! It’s hard to refrain from straightening things up. I’m glad your letting things go. (Mostly!). Ha Ha! Once a week is enough, seriously! Keep your mind on DECORATING!!!!! Can’t wait for tomorrow’s post! Your such an inspiration to me!

  13. Ughh…I can totally relate! I have a little blog myself (www.milestohomestead.com) and this is exactly what my post is about that I’m working on. I bought this shelving unit with all these cubbies from Ikea and then I got all these great little bins from Land of Nod and spent a whole day organizing all of their toys in our playroom. I just went through and took pictures of it yesterday because in three days time the toys are no longer in the bins! Instead they’re dumped in the cubbies and the bins have been stacked and placed in the family room by my 3-year old. I guess he wanted to let me know that these bins aren’t needed. He also likes to line up all his toys in a single file path out the playroom doors and up the stairs. I too want to pull my hair out but then I realize that they’re little and just playing and so even if it makes me cringe I try to just laugh it off. There are bigger fish to fry! I also always think of a saying I saw on Pinterest “Let them be little because they’re only that way for a while!”

    1. So glad to know I’m not alone! It is so frustrating to spend hours organizing to have it all undone in 10 minutes :) Love Land of Nod too by the way!

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