Organizing the Playroom with EXPEDIT Shelving

How was everyone’s weekend?  Always goes by too fast, doesn’t it?!  Mine flew by, in part because we worked on a family project that took a chunk of the weekend: Operation Playroom Organization.  The plan for this project started last week, when I had a conversation with my daughters that has been repeated hundreds of times in the past.  It starts with me nagging them to pick up the basement (their playroom), which you can’t even walk in – here’s my proof (beware, this is the scary “before” picture that I warned you about on Friday):

Not for the faint of heart, right?!  Here’s the problem: although I look at the playroom and see a disastrous mess, it’s actually not just a bunch of random toys strewn everywhere – on closer inspection you’ll see that it is a humongous Littlest Pet Shop/Squinkies village complete with homes built out of Lincoln Logs, 

a hotel (complete with toilet paper roll pillars – only the best for these guests!),

a hospital (with rooms made out of the cardboard from Juicy Juice packs),
a school, a jungle, a pool, you name it – this village has it.  As you can tell, it has taken them hours upon hours to get their village exactly how they want it – hence, why I always cave in and let them leave it sprawled across the entire playroom floor.  However, the conversation went a little differently this time because my husband interjected with a suggestion to get some shelving for the “village” so that it is off the floor but still accessible for them to play with it.  I had just read Centsational Girl’s blog post on IKEA’s EXPEDIT shelving that included this image from a playroom:
Young House Love

Knowing that my daughters are suckers for pretty pictures (it’s in the genes…), I searched the web and found some additional pics of glamorous playrooms with EXPEDIT shelving:

Libbie Grove Design
Caroline Armelle

That’s all it took for them to be totally on board with the idea!  So on Saturday, we made a trip to IKEA and (after stuffing ourselves with Swedish meatballs and potatoes) we bought two of the 58″ square EXPEDIT shelving units. They were pretty easy to put together and came with anti-tip brackets that firmly secured them to the wall (a must for a playroom!).  The village was then relocated to the shelving and the basement went from looking like this:

to this:


I’m LOVING all of that clean, open floor space!  And everyone in the village seems pretty satisfied with the move too, including the airport baggage handlers,

 the village fashionista,

the jungle animals,

and the amusement park riders!

The play house got relocated to the other side of the room where it served as the headquarters for our project supervisor:

We also bought two stepstools while at IKEA so that the girls could get eye-level with the top cubes and not be tempted to do any shelf climbing.

The whole family is happy with the outcome – I am so excited to FINALLY be able to run the vacuum throughout the playroom and can’t wait to have some of the girls’ artwork framed and hung in a grouping above the shelves. My husband is excited that I finally used one of his ideas :-)  Best of all, the girls are super psyched to have all of the parts of their village easily accessible to play with.  There is already talk about building ladders and slides to connect the cubes – they are never lacking in creativity! 

If you’ve been giving some thought to a home organization project using the bigger EXPEDIT units (72″ square), the next few days are a great time to do it.  If you sign up for an IKEA FAMILY card (it’s free), the largest EXPEDIT is one of this month’s in-store specials only for FAMILY card members – you can get it for $179 (regularly $199) through this Tuesday, January 31st.  The card also entitles you to free coffee (my husband was sold on that perk alone) and an extra 30 minutes of time in IKEA’s Smaland (playland) for those of you with little ones.  We signed up while at IKEA but I think you can also sign up online, which enables you to view the monthly specials for card holders.  I’m hoping that frames are one of February’s specials so I can add the girls’ artwork above the EXPEDIT shelving and give the space a much more finished look!


  1. Anonymous says

    Wow..this is fabulous… I used kitchen units for my daughters.. but they still ended up with the little play areas yours had… will have to emulate this for the Grandaughter + 1 any day now who are here 5 days a week… thanks for sharing…. Love the hotel…made much the same for and with my girls first time around… sure to be doing it again soon… at the moment using old duplo buildings and brick affairs…. only 2 years old… from a busy Grandma.

  2. Anonymous says

    I am now… lovely little girl..all present and correct so instead of 2 daughters to make items for and with.. now it will be 2 lucky. I have saved your page as a bookmark.. I keep coming back to it.. it is just lovely… want to show the Mum…Janiejew.

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