#SmartMamaLUTION #5: Fresh Start to the Playroom, Guest Post by Joanne Palumbo of Homestyling101

Guest Poster: Joanne Palumbo of Homestyling101!

I am so excited to be a part of the SmartyMamaLUTION, partly because I love SmartyPantsMama and partly because I personally need a little motivation to get my own resolutions underway! Today I am going to help you tackle that dreaded playroom- which, if it is anything like my home, probably looks like an explosion of Walmart, Target and Toys R Us after this holiday insanity! So here is some advice on how to restore order to the chaos and how to find room for the new toys that just entered the already over-filled playroom.

Step 1

Remove children from the room. I joke about this but in truth, I can NEVER really clean up my kid’s toys with them anywhere in ear shot. Otherwise I hear “I love that toy!”….”I got that when I was 2….it is so special” to which I can’t really reply “Ok, kid, it is broken, you don’t remember who gave it to you and your SEVEN!” Although that does run through my mind…don’t judge…you’ve been there! Regardless of your children’s attachments to their toys, it is best to tackle this resolution while they are napping or at school.

Step 2

Sort, sort, sort! Once the kids are out of the room (or house!) start to make piles. You can facilitate this sorting with some large boxes or trash bags but you should have a ‘Donate’ pile, a ‘Ditch’ pile and then create smaller piles consisting of toy types. For example, my piles were ‘Lego’s’, ‘Barbie’s’, ‘Balls’, ‘Cars’, ‘Doll Clothes’, ‘Arts & Crafts”. You get the idea. Once you are done sorting, put the ‘Ditch’ and ‘Donate’ bags in the garage and leave them there for 2 weeks. I repeat…2 WEEKS! I share this tip from personal experience. My daughter (who I am desperately trying to save from a lifetime in Hoarders-Ville) woke up crying in the middle of the night about a stuffed animal I convinced her to ditch. Thankfully, it was still in my garage and we were able to bring the beloved stuffed ‘whatever’ back into her arms and the rest of the bag went happily to the Salvation Army bins!


Step 3

With the piles of toys you have remaining, find a bin, a basket, a hamper or a box for those groups. Whatever system you have in place to store toys, just group the like with the like. Sometimes it helps to go to Walmart, Target or Kmart to stock up on bins. Measure the pile and buy the appropriate bin for the toys you are sorting.


Step 4

Label these bins, baskets or storage spaces so your child can clean the play room with little help. I put large labels on the bins in bright colors so they know exactly which toy goes in which bin. When my kids were younger, I labeled with pictures. (Print out a picture of a ball, a car, a doll and attach to the bin so your child knows where to find the toy and where to return the toy!) Explain to your youngster that every toy has a home and no one’s home is the floor! This ensures that your hard work to tackle this playroom can continue way passed the New Year!


Do it!  I know I need to!  Take the plunge!  You’ve got all weekend!

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  • Return Monday for SmartMamaLUTION #6: Portion Control 

Good luck with this New Year’s Resolution- hopefully spending ten valuable minutes in this space can pay off all year!


Joanne Palumbo is the founder and owner of Homestyling101, LLC, a boutique Interior Decorating firm in Westchester, New York. Joanne is a Certified Interior Decorator and expert in Home Staging, whose quest is to find simplicity in the decorating process. She is also the author of the Homestyling101 blog where she chronicles her experiences and tips as a decorator.

Joanne Palumbo



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