PS: What are the biggest challenges you see in the playrooms you overhaul? What mistakes are parents making most often?
MS: I’m always asked one of two questions: "Why is my playroom always a mess?" and "Why can’t my kids ever play calmly for long periods of time?"
The answer? Too much stuff. Many parents seem to think that more variety of toys will offer more opportunities to play. This usually has the opposite effect. Too many options can overwhelm kids, and they end up bouncing from one thing to the next, unable to focus, dumping out more and more toys in the process. Fewer toys is the answer! It means less opportunity to overwhelm, less mess, and more focused play. If this sounds like you, try putting half of your toys in storage and rotate them into the playroom — while removing others — every few weeks.
The best scenario is when everything has its place. I’m a minimalist at heart and believe that if our things aren’t easily accessible, we won’t use them, so why keep them around? The only way to get to this point is usually to purge, purge, purge, then organize. Once you have less stuff, it will be easier to make a place for everything.