Organized Chaos

The room in our house that was once used as a feeble attempt by both my husband and myself at (barely) hanging on to our younger, cooler identities has slowly made its way into a colorful wonderland of organized childhood chaos (and I don’t necessarily mean ‘colorful’ in a good way – think along the lines of “Elmo” red and other obnoxiously bright colors). Yep, believe it or not, what is the current playroom was once upon a time – not too very long ago – a pretty legit game room with a pool/ping pong table, a dart board, a large fish tank and pictures upon pictures of musicians, breweries, personal photography and the like plastered all over the walls. A reminder to everyone visiting – or more likely just to the two of us – that we were still somewhat hip.

And now, you ask? Now, my friends, is this …

… but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The toys were once contained in one corner of the den. Once. But the pile gradually became larger and larger and we eventually found the toys spreading into the beloved game room … and so began all the daydreams of how I was going to redo this room. Only natural, right? My original plans involved new paint, new wall decor, new furniture, new lighting and a new rug, among other things; however, with the idea of moving in the near future hot on my husband’s radar, he managed to talk me into a more simple redo (he’s got skills y’all). So there I was – wondering how in the world I was going to organize such chaos without breaking the bank.

First up – accept that the room belonged to our kid now. No 1/2 game room, 1/2 play room – trust me, I tried. We needed all the space we could get though, because oddly enough the bigger our kid gets the bigger his toys get. Who knew? Out went the pool/ping pong table, out went the huge fish tank, and out went the random chairs and bar stools. I promise it was a coincidence that the last fish standing (swimming rather) bailed on us just as I was beginning to redo this room. It was still a sad moment, because yes, I am one of those people who shed a tear or seventy over the death of a fish – but it really couldn’t have come at a better time. This cleared out an enormous amount of space and I felt like I had a blank template (kind of). We didn’t paint, we didn’t add new wall decor, and we actually decided to purge the rug and go rugless. I have to admit the rugless thing feels pretty good – not to mention the room feels SO much bigger. The rug was extremely worn out and never really matched to begin with, so no harm there.

Next up – find toy storage for close to no money. I promise it can be done guys. Get creative and scour the other rooms in your house. You might be surprised at what you can repurpose. Or if you don’t have any luck there, check out your local Goodwill or other thrift stores for some bargains. Luckily we already had this piece of furniture holding our ginormous fish tank, so after clearing it of all the fish supplies, I had 3 cabinets as well as the top and bottom shelves for … you guessed it – toys! And yes, that is a little bitty fish tank you see there. I can’t possibly imagine life without at least one fish in it.


This basket and toy bin were originally in Austin’s room, but their purpose was more for looks than usefulness. Not anymore. I was able to store a good amount of his books in the basket and most of his blocks in the toy bin.

This adorable locker and metal rack with baskets were Goodwill finds from a while back. I had really good intentions of refinishing the locker for Austin’s room, but when I realized he really didn’t need it at the time I stuffed it in the back of my craft closet like I tend to do with projects I have no intention of finishing anytime soon. Did I mention the closet’s stuffed? I purchased the metal rack to hold my craft supplies, but since organizing the craft room is another project I have yet to finish, it too became toy storage.

Lastly – organize it all. I added a foam alphabet mat to one corner of the playroom as an area for playing with blocks. I also wanted a space for Austin’s younger (baby) friends to play since the rest of the room was now rugless. As you can see, this area also serves as the place where he parks his car and pitches his tent. Talk about multi-functional … or a little crammed maybe? It works though.


There was no better place for this giant than where the pool table had been. It’s not quite as big, but it’s close. Best hand-me-down ever.


I organized the rest of the larger pieces along the edges of the room, in the most functional way I could come up with. I also wanted to incorporate some items that could be used as seating for when we add a TV, but I wanted them to ideally have another function as well. I brought up an old bench that had been in my dad’s mountain house to store the ever-growing collection of Elmo dolls. The little table and chairs were mine when I was little, so I thought they would be a sweet addition, not to mention a great place to color. The blue bungee chair was on clearance at Target for $10, so of course I had to. No other function for that one.

As for lighting, I used the same table lamp and floor lamp that we had in our game room. I know, how boring. As much as I wanted to replace them, there really was no need. Plus I found this pendant light stuffed away in my craft closet (notice a pattern here?), which I had bought years back at Target on clearance for $6, and I knew it would add that special lighting touch I craved. I’m telling you guys, check those end caps at Target.


No new paint, no new wall decor, no new furniture aside from the $10 bungee chair … in fact, nothing else in the room really qualifies as “new”.  Okay I lied. I had been eyeing a sea grass screen for quite some time, so I did finally splurge on one at Wayfair. Hey, it keeps the cats happy and adds some nice dimension to the room – two for one. But that’s really it. This room makeover was more about spending very little money and getting super creative by using what we already had, and I have to say I’m digging the way it turned out. I do think in our next home we’ll replace the wall decor with something  a little more kid-friendly, and I imagine there will probably be a fun rug and maybe even a futon or some floor pillows. But the chaos has been organized so this’ll do for now. Austin sure does love it and I sure do love seeing him happy. I also love not tripping over toys 🙂



  1. Jane Broaddus says:

    This looks incredible! Love it!

  2. lcetter says:

    Thank you so much Jane! I so appreciate your kind words 😙

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