(Quick Cobble: Slightly Redundant Title [if we are considering a slightly different shade of cobble’s several shades of meaning—the linguist in me needs to clarify] for a Post Where You Can Learn One Key Idea for Moving Your Decor/Design Thinking Forward In an Easy and Positive Way)

Guten Nachmittag, it’s Jackie. Besides being One Of Your Cobbler Guides, another hat I wear is Mom To Oliver, my sweet, rather silly and springy three-year-old boy. Like nearly every three-year-old in existence, Oliver has his fair share of toys, and those toys, of course, find their way into all of the spaces in our house (whether invited or not).

So what’s a decorating-conscious person to do? We can’t very well throw out our children’s toys (hmm…), nor can we throw out our children, so…? Are we relegated to looking at a chaos of primary colors, stepping on block corners and castle turrets, sliding across our floors on the tops of cars and trucks?

Heck no. Nor are we stuck corralling toys into quote/unquote children’s furniture, which leaves our rooms looking a bit like we run a part-time daycare.

So where does that leave us? That leaves us where we already were: in the realm of grown-up furniture.

A Jackie Case Study

Problem: Oliver’s toys have overtaken the living room!

Other Living Room Furniture Needs/Considerations: The husband and I have wanted a table/dresser/cabinet of some kind for the space by our front door. I’ve wanted to have somewhere to throw keys, or place a plant, or catch mail. Could we find a piece of furniture that would fill both this need/desire AND our need to have a place to stuff O’s toys?

Shopping: I love old furniture (and find it more affordable, and more interesting), so we hit Gilley’s Antique Mall in Plainfield on Saturday in search of something fantastic, and we didn’t leave disappointed. We considered several pieces, some with drawers, some with doors, and we ended up going home with the cabinet pictured here. It’s a pretty straightforward little number: the door on the front swings open to the left, and the inside is entirely open.

Resolution: After getting our new piece of furniture home, the husband and I started mulling over how to properly prepare it to be stuffed with O’s toys. We ended up in Meijer that night and bought two purple bins sized about 13″ by 15″, but we discovered (to my chagrin—I thought I remembered the width of the cabinet) that the bins were too wide to fit when placed side-by-side. Alas. O and I took the bins back this morning and then hit up Target in search of more storage options, as Meijer didn’t have much else besides the ill-fitting purple bins. We ended up finding a smaller green bin of the same style as the purple bins (though about 11″ by 13″ this time) and—the bonus of not having your first plan work out—I decided it’d be even better to get some clear plastic tubs with lids for the other side of the cabinet. O and I brought everything home, started organizing, and the rest is harmony and bliss. For today, at least. =)

Overall: Think outside the kid’s furniture. Kids grow up and kid furniture doesn’t. The cabinet we found will always look good and will always be able to fill a need, even when Oliver’s done using it for toy storage.

ANDDD, for those of you who DON’T have children, try applying this thinking to any instance you need to store something that Big Box Decorating would have you think can only be done with X piece of furniture made specifically for X item. Media furniture springs most readily to mind…but I’ll grind that ax another time.