Clutter Control a Simple Toddler Play Area

Thank you Brooklyn Limestone readers for your visit today!

I am a minimalist, I always have been, I hope that I always will be. I like lots of open space, I like things orderly, I like white. Those former sentiments are not in line with having a baby/toddler. A baby adds a host of items that you never even would have dreamed you would own, and when they get to the toddler stage, it seems most of those items can usually be found tossed haphazardly across the room in a gust of chaos. Before E. was born we had been living in the country in a large house on 4 acres, we traded that in so we could indulge in the little things like being able to walk to the grocery store and non-well water showers, that move has also compromised our space. We have a much tinier living space now and I was at an impasse as to how to create an area for our daughter to play in that would seamlessly flow with our living area, I didn’t want to do anything permanent as we are renting. I looked into baby gates, all of which were pretty hideous. I then got the idea of using a couple of Ikea Kallax shelves on their sides to create a little play area, the shelves created an open ‘division’ and doubled as much needed toy storage with the added baskets on the bottom of the units. The upper shelves we rotate out toys, putting her current faves out for easy access. If in the evening I feel the desire to have an adult space to relax in, I can easily put all the toys in the storage baskets below (but truthfully I miss her when she goes to bed, so I love to see what she has left out for the day). The storage baskets which initially I thought were just a good idea, have become one of her favorite ‘toys’, it seems kids love to open and close drawers, put things in and take them out, and do it all over again. E. can spend hours just rearranging her toys in the different baskets, good times.

Clutter Control Simple Toddler Space I

Simple toddler play area solution

Clutter Control Simple Toddler Play Area ii

The Kallax are tall enough that we have been able to add a little table and stools for her to craft at but they can’t really be seen from the living room if you don’t want them to be in plain sight. We have recently added this kitchen for her as well, because it’s white it blends pretty well with the surrounding furnishings and she can bring in all the color her heart desires via the faux foods she is often ‘cooking’. Speaking of color, I keep all the major elements in her area white and the color is brought in via the books and toys (and of course my toddler). I was prompted to write this for Brooklyn Limestone’s end to ugly toys series, I feel like many people feel like it’s near impossible to keep the ugly toys at bay, but if you are in the market for more aesthetically pleasing ones I have become a bit of a toddler toy connoisseur.

These are some of our favorite books, both beautiful to look at and lovely to read:

Dream Animals by Emily Winfield Martin

Gaston by Kelly DuPuchio (perfect for Frenchie lovers)

Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska

The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers

This is Sadie by Sara O’Leary

These are some of our favorite lovely toy purveyors:

Stacking toys:

Grimm wooden toys have a beautiful modern/organic sculptural feel, perfect were displaying on the shelves.


Petit Pippin

Bla Bla Kids

Big Stuffed

Oh Albatross (spendy but so darling)

Animal toys:

My daughter loves the Schleich animal figurines, I get the larger sizes for her. They are very realistic and educational. E. has started keeping her polar bear in her kitchen refrigerator since it’s more hospitable for it there.

Wooden toys:

This animal set is so adorable

The Twig Co.

Musical toys:

This piano has been played with everyday for over a year

Wheelie Toys:

Our Wheelie lady bug gets much love (they have many more creatures to choose from)

This tiny Radio Flyer it perfect for beginning walkers but just as fun for older toddlers. We use it as storage for her growing collection of balls, but softies would be adorable.


Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.


  1. Thank you Diane, I am going to be sad when this little outfit doesn’t fit her any longer, it’s one of my faves:) Thank you for the visit!

  2. Hi Michelle, I got those at Ikea as well. The table has a large drawer that can easily turn it from a table into a toy chest (the drawer is sold separately). I bought it so she could stand and color since she’s a little small to sit at the table but the space looked so forlorn so I bought the stools to keep under it until she got a bit bigger, but she thinks it’s awesome to climb up on them and sit down like a big girl, lol

  3. Oh it warms my heart to see a child’s play-space done well! LOVE the white with color brought in…love the minimal plastic, love the simplicity and rotation system. And as an aside, can you believe how MUCH HAIR YOUR DAUGHTER HAS?? Wow, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a headful on a tiny. Gorgeous!

  4. Thank you Cynthia, I am trying hard to keep the plastic toys at bay. So far I have been successful at not owning any toys that light up or talk etc. Now that she has friends that have those types of toys and it’s like ‘what the what mommy?’ Lol, the hair, we actually saw it on the ultrasound, her dad has a nice head of hair, she must have gotten it from him, thank you;)

  5. Great suggestions, thank you!
    I always thought I would be annoyed at the brightly colored plastic toys – for sure your space looks wonderful and everything so well put together – but I’m honestly not as bothered by them as I thought I would be. We received a lot of these brightly colored toys from friends and it’s the most wonderful thing seeing the look of joy on my son’s face when he plays with them!

  6. Thank you Su for the visit! I am still not a fan of most plastic toys but she does own some Duplo (beginning Lego’s) and we have some ‘Kid 0’ toys which are really nicely designed and BPA free. I haven’t ventured yet into anything that lights up or talks, I figure if she’s happy opening and closing her kitchen cabinets and playing with drawers I should take advantage of it while I can, lol.

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