Lynn Tanger is passionate about organization. “It’s my thing,” says the Alexandria mom. “I get excited over shoe racks.”
When she and her husband hired the firms Harry Braswell and Virginia Kitchens to do a full renovation of their home, Tanger took son Harry’s room on as her own project. The bedroom and closet were once the home’s master suite, and because six-year-old boys don’t typically have a lot of clothes, she turned the closet into a playroom that can evolve someday into a homework area.
She had Braswell cut a dormer window into the sloped wall to allow in light—and to make space for a window seat that doubles as a toy box. Shelves on either side, which will someday hold schoolbooks, now contain bins of toys and games. When it comes to kids, she says, storage is a matter of creating spaces where stuff can be tossed: “Something that you can throw stuff into and it still looks like a piece of furniture—I like things to be decorative, but with a purpose.”
A year after the renovation, she says of her son, “He definitely spends a lot of time up there. It works the way I was hoping it would.”
- Make it easy for a child to clear away his own mess. Mom Lynn Tanger’s secret weapon is the Swoop bag—it lies flat on the floor for a play area, but pull the cord and it “swoops” into a bag you can carry away. Perfect for building blocks or Legos.
- Purchase furniture that can multitask, such as ottomans or benches that double as storage. Among Tanger’s favorite finds is the French Railroad Cabinet nightstand by Restoration Hardware Baby & Child, with a wire-front cabinet, and custom-made storage ottomans that she ordered from a seller on Etsy.
- Don’t be too cute. A child’s storage system needs to last beyond toddlerhood.