Kids' Games Cupboard | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Kids' Games Cupboard

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kids' Games Cupboard

Why is it that games have a nasty habit of taking over a home?  Boxes, cards, play money, dice, characters, spinners, and all those assorted little pieces... Sound familiar?

We love to play games in our family.  Both my hubby and I grew up in families that enjoyed playing games and we've passed on our love of playing games to our children. 

But, because of our love for games, we have a LOT of them.  People give them to us as gifts, we each had some of our own when we got married, and we've bought some over the yeasr as well.  It's great to have lots of selection, but it means storing all of them. 

Up until a few months ago, we literally had games all over our house.  Some were in our bedroom or in the kids' bedrooms.  A few were on bookshelves and in drawers in the dining room.  And a lot were in the basement on various shelves and in various cupboards. 

When we started organizing our basement several months ago, we consolidated our games to the basement (with just a few exceptions).  We sorted out which games were for our kids and which ones they were not old enough to play yet.  And of course we purged some.  We kept all the older kids / adult games on shelves in our furnace room (I'll show that some other time), and we put all the kids games into a cupboard.  Here's what it looks like now.

Look at them, all crammed in there!  It's a better organizational system than when they were on shelves because now I can close the doors and hide everything, but it gets cluttered in there when the games are piled too high.  Some of those piles have 7 or 8 games in them!  That's too big a pile for kids to easily get out a game from near the bottom.  Some things are hidden too so I'm sure they don't get played with very often. 

When the cupboard gets too full, it's also harder for the kids to put games back themselves, so they often end up staying on the floor.  Or they put them back on the top of a pile, even though the game is bigger than some of the others in the pile, so the pile topples and then there's a mess of pieces everywhere.  It can be overwhelming!

As part of having a balanced summer, I wanted to ensure our games were easy to access so they would be played.  So, time to sort, purge, and reorganize this games cupboard! 

My daughter helped me purge a lot of games that she's outgrown and my son finally agreed to let go of some he had been holding on to for a long time but didn't play.  We still had a lot of "spin and move around the board" types of games that are great when kids are 3 or 4 and are just learning to play games. 

I checked the games to make sure they still had all their pieces and that nothing was broken.  Luckily, everything seemed to be in good condition still. 

There were a few games my daughter wanted to play one more time before we gave them away, so this purging process took a little while.  {Ordinarily that would bug me.  I would think "it's organizing time, not play time".   I can be a bit compartmentalized at times.  Well, lots of the time :).  But, I'm really trying to enjoy my time with my kids this summer since I haven't been home with them like this before and they are growing up so fast!  So, my daughter and I played games.  And it was fun!  And I still finished the games cupboard eventually.}

OK, so here's our giveaway pile.  Yay!!  This will clear lots of space in the cupboard to organize it better.

I also made a "Relocate" pile for items that really didn't belong in a games cupboard.  Most were toys that will be moved to a shelf for larger toys (still working on that!).   And we had this cute little chair that my inlaws brought back from Africa for us that was tucked away on top of the cupboard once when my daughter fell off it.  It just kind of stayed there after awhile but she was excited to have it back on the floor again! 

After emptying and sorting through the cupboard, I wiped it out and organized the games going back in.  I tried to make piles of similar sized games so they could be put back anywhere in a pile (usually on the top) rather than having to go lower in a pile to avoid toppling things over.  I also tried to only put 4 to 5 games in each pile.  That way, they can get each game out easier and there's less likelihood of games falling out when one is pulled from the bottom of a big pile.  And, I stood up a few games that have vertical boxes (why fight gravity?!). 

Here's what it looks like now.

It looks less overwhelming now and it's easier for the kids to find what they want and then put it back.  There's nothing on top of the cupboard anymore either!  {I'm working on getting rid of dumping zones and creating clean surfaces!} 

Here are a few close-up before and after shots:

That beige and brown fabric covered box contains brain teaser games and mind-bender type games and activities.  Once in awhile we'll pull it out and put on our thinking caps to figure them out.

And that little purple box contains various small boxed games and card games.  It helps keep them all contained and when we want to play one of them we just pull the box out.

It makes me smile just looking at how much more empty space there is now!  My philosophy of organizing used to always be to use every possible inch of space available but now I'm really coming to appreciate the beauty and practicality of open space.  It looks much less chaotic and makes it so much easier to keep things organized. 

So hopefully this makeover will help this games cupboard stay organized!  I'm looking forward to playing lots of these games with my kids this summer and beyond. 

Do you play a lot of games?  Do your kids?  How do you organize games at your house?  And do you compartmentalize your time like I usually do?  Or are you able to stop and play when your child wants you to?  I would love to hear your stories!

Happy organizing!

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