Holding on to Your Outdoor Space: Keeping Toy Clutter at Bay

May 24th, 2013 posted by Megan Brown

Holding on to Your Outdoor Space: Keeping Toy Clutter at Bay by Megan Brown for FamilyCorner.com

Whether you have a small patio or an expansive backyard, finding the right balance of space between kids’ toys and adult ambiance can be challenging. When my husband and I set out to tackle this very task we focused on creating a sense of play for the whole family. That included thinking creatively about our space and focusing on what is really important to our us as a unit. Whether you are hosting a wine tasting party or a play date with your son’s entire 1st grade class, you need a space that can make everyone happy.

Here are 5 Tips to help you create a dream space that will impress your friends and provide your kids with a fun place to play!

Keep your children’s items organized in clearly marked bins like these at iheart organizing

Keep your children’s items organized in clearly marked bins like these at iheart organizing

1. Designate a go-to spot for toys: As much relaxing as we would like to do in our outdoor space, the reality of having kids is having lots of “stuff” to keep them entertained. Lots of stuff means lots of “cleaning up” at the end of the day. The best way to keep your sanity is to have a clear location for children’s things. This allows you to quickly straighten up, or if your kids are older they can easily help you keep things organized.

2. Make furnishings work twice as hard: Because space is often at a premium in outdoor living areas, furniture and accessories have to do double-duty. Benches may have storage space underneath or ottomans may open to reveal hidden storage. This is a great place to hide away blankets and decorative pillows that you can use to transform your space from kid friendly to evening chic in a snap. (It also happens to be the best place to stash those straggler toys that didn’t quite make it to their proper place!)

Child's rocker - etsy

Child’s rocker – etsy

3. Utilize a variety of seating options: Benches, chairs, even pint-size stools: As many choices as you can include in an outdoor living space will help family and friends enjoy it. Scaled-down kid versions allow little ones to seat themselves, while chairs are a more flexible option — add extras around the table for an impromptu dinner for family and friends.

4. Everyone needs a fireplace: Think about how wonderful it is to curl up with a good book in front of a fire on a chilly evening; now move that feeling outside. If you have the space and budget, consider a full-size version; if not, fire pits are a flexible and affordable option. Not only will the adults love the ambiance it creates the kids will love being able to make S’mores right in their own backyard!

5.Try affordable updates: Turquoise may be the “it” color this year. But what about when a new color strikes your interest — or when pillows or umbrellas wear out? Fortunately, it’s easy and relatively inexpensive to swap out outdoor living accents. Go for new accent pillows, replace slipcovers or even just look for updated outdoor tableware (non-breakable of course!), for an outdoor living space that looks refreshed and fun. FYI though, for exposed spaces, select options made from outdoor fabrics that withstand the sun’s rays and dry quickly. They also hold up quite well with active kids!

These 5 easy steps will have your outdoor space in tip-top shape just in time for summer and family fun!

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Megan Brown
Megan Brown (5 Posts)

Megan Brown is Founding Partner of HATCHEDit.com. She has over a decade’s worth of Wall Street experience spanning both sales trading and asset management marketing. A Bear Stearns alum, she became a Managing Director and Global Head of Platform Sales, responsible for overseeing nearly $7 billion in assets. She then successfully transitioned to JP Morgan where she was the Director of National Accounts for the Institutional Advisory Business at JP Morgan Asset Management. In this role Megan oversaw the relationship with a number of large financial institutions, accounting for approx. $18 billion in assets under management. Megan has been featured in Forbes.com and BeautyNewsNYC. She holds a BBA from The University of Cincinnati along with her Series 7 & Series 63 licenses.


  • Sherri Osborn

    Great tips! It is so hard to keep the outside area looking organized while keeping it organized!nn1

  • Desiree Allen

    I’ve always wanted to have a fire pit. SOMEDAY! 🙂

  • Leah Blomberg

    Such great idea!! Thank you for sharing!!

  • Cindy Rowe

    I hate nothing more than tripping over kids toys! Good ideas! Thank you for sharing!

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Cindy Rowe
Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!


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