My daughter’s bedroom makeover is FINISHED!! And oh my goodness… it looks SO pretty!!
I can’t wait to share it with you, but I’m gonna have to keep you in suspense just a little bit longer while I wait for the video edits to come back. (In case you missed the news in my last post, I completed the entire room makeover in just four hours and had the whole transformation filmed live.) This is going to be fun, guys! The big reveal should be next week!!
If you missed anything, you can catch up on the design plan for this bedroom and all the juicy deets right here!
In the meantime, I wanted to share one of the DIY projects I did to transform this space. It’s a simple little project that I’ve been meaning to get around to for the longest time… adding labels to the toy baskets in Allegra’s room.
Since we don’t have a playroom in this house, Allegra’s room houses our toy storage unit for all the children. We have an IKEA Kallax unit with rattan baskets. And you guys… it was a hot mess.
Here is the cringe-worthy “before”:
As you can see, the shelves as a whole needed a really good clear-out and tidy up.
But first, let’s take a look at those toy baskets down the bottom.
While our toys are technically organised into categories, they don’t always get put back into those categories, because said categories exist only inside my head. Ha! The kids have a very loose idea of where things are “supposed” to go… I mean, blocks go together, animals go together, that sort of thing… but due to the lack of a labelling system, it was fast becoming a jumble of chaos.
Plus, who knows it’s frustrating when you have to pull out three baskets before you find the one you were looking for?
I ummed and aahhhed for ages about how to make labels for these baskets, which is why I put it off for SO long. I had a few requirements in mind, which had me stymied.
- I wanted to create picture labels, since my two littlies are pre-readers.
- I didn’t want the pictures to look overly colourful and cartoonish, because they had to fit in with the pretty and feminine vibe I was trying to create in this room.
- The labels had to be sturdy and durable.
- It had to be inexpensive.
- I wanted the flexibility to change the labels easily as our storage needs and toy collection changes over time.
- I also had to be able to do it without any special equipment. I don’t own a Cricut or a Silhouette (vinyl cutting machines owned by, I’m sure, every other blogger who has ever lived.)
So I had to come up with a good old-fashioned way to create my labels that ticked all those boxes.
I looked around for a really long time for small picture frames that I could screw onto the baskets… but I couldn’t find anything inexpensive enough to buy in bulk like that (I needed ten). I also struggled to find frames small and lightweight enough that they wouldn’t look all huge and bulky on the front of the baskets.
Eventually I was browsing in Spotlight when I came across these:
They are small, lightweight Polaroid frames made from thin but sturdy craft MDF. Absolutely perfect! They even had holes to attach them to the baskets!
I rounded up some similar alternatives on Amazon. There are quite a few options for Polaroid-sized frames made from lightweight materials like chipboard and acrylic.
Another alternative would be 4″x4″ or 4″x6″ wooden frames. You could remove the glass and screw them straight onto your baskets (or attach with velcro tape.) They can be pretty affordable when purchased in a pack.
All my frames needed was a bit of sprucing up.
Next I did a Google Image search for pictures of toys in each of my major categories.
I clicked on “Tools” and changed the “Type” of Image I was searching for to Line drawing or Clip Art, and the colour to Black and White. This meant my search results pulled nice crisp images without all that cartoonish kiddy colour I was trying to avoid.
I haven’t included any of the labels in the post for two reasons – firstly, these images are only for personal use as some of them may have copyright restrictions. (When I make printables to pass on to you guys, I always purchase any graphics I use.) And secondly, because everyone’s toy categories are different, so it would be virtually impossible to create a set that would work for everyone.
But using this method, it’s very easy to completely customise a set of labels to your own needs – for free!
Having found the images I wanted, I measured my little frames, then drew a corresponding sized box in Word. My frames were 10×10, so I went into “Format” and input those numbers to get the right sized box. I made my lines 3/4 point and pale grey so they would look discreet.
Then I dragged the image from my search straight into my Word doc.
(Tip: always click onto the image to open the largest resolution available – don’t just drag the thumbnail!)
Once in the document, click “Format Picture”, then “Wrap Text”, then select “Tight”. This will enable you to drag your image smaller or bigger, and move it freely around your Word doc.
Drag it into the box you created earlier and centre it.
Once you’ve repeated this with all your images, print out your labels and run them through the laminator.
Then cut out the pictures and attach them onto the back of your frames with the double sided tape.
The last step is to attach the frames to your toy baskets. I used string and just poked it through the holes in the baskets, using a wooden skewer to help it through. I then knotted the twine securely on the inside.
You could add a piece of double-sided foam mounting tape at the bottom if you want the frames to sit flat. I left mine free-hanging so it’s easy to flip them up and replace the picture if we need to.
Results? SO much better!!
I also did a major declutter of all these toy baskets as I went along, paring right back and only keeping the things they regularly use and play with.
(I always recommend a good declutter – this checklist is a good place to start!)
I can’t even tell you how much the declutter combined with the new label system has helped with getting the kids to pick up their toys and put them away neatly. There is now zero confusion about where things go.
I’ve also noticed the kids seem to be pulling out way less toys in the first place, I guess because they can easily reach for exactly what they want, rather than digging through multiple baskets to try to find things.
I gave the book shelves a massive clear out as well. Lots of books went to Vinny’s, and the ones we had left, I arranged into rainbow colours.
Not only does it look pretty, but it’s also solved another problem we had where Allegra would shove books back onto her shelves all higgledy-piggledy – backwards, upside down and on top of other books. No matter how many times I used to clear them out and reorganise them, they never stayed that way.
This time around, I gave her a little lesson on how to put a book away nicely, with the spine facing out so we can see the pretty colours and so Mummy can read the title.
I then told her that if she can keep her books neatly on the shelf like this (and keep her floor picked up!) I will read her a special bedtime story at night.
So far she has had a bedtime story EVERY single night! She is really taking pride in her beautiful new room, and it is lovely to see her keeping it so nice. She loves her “rainbow books” and has been taking them out and putting them back with so much care. Finally!!
I also cleared out the remaining shelves and gave them a good declutter. I’ll share more pictures when I do the big bedroom reveal next week, but here’s a little sneak peek.
I’m so thrilled with this room, and the unexpected bonus is that it’s solved a massive bug bear for me – the issue of this room staying picked up and tidy. We have tried everything in the past to try to get Allegra to keep her room tidy. She is just a super messy kid! Many nights I couldn’t even walk a clear path to her bed, there were so many toys in the way.
But now that she’s been gifted with such a beautiful new room, it’s like her whole attitude has turned around.
The toy basket labels have helped immensely. The major declutter and paring down of toys and books definitely helped too.
The thing I didn’t expect is that just having such a pretty room would help so much. Now she is super motivated to keep it looking this pretty, and she has really raised the bar for herself.
It’s amazing how when you really care about something and you’re invested in it, you actually WANT to look after it. Finally, she has taken ownership for herself, and I’ve been able to stop nagging. It just about brings a happy tear to my eye.
Stay tuned for the beautiful big girl bedroom reveal next week!
Meanwhile, here’s some other posts on how we control the toy situation at our house:
And if you missed my previous post about my daughter’s bedroom makeover, you can catch up here!
Until next time, wishing you a house full of sunshine!