Out in the open.
I mentioned in my last post that we are providing space in our common areas for the kids to be kids. Let's be honest - I knew when I had kids that there were going to messes. Messy house. Messy hands. Messy faces. I wasn't going to try and fight and corral all that kid energy. I would lose. HARD.
From the start, I've been trying to CONTAIN the mess. Keeping toys in the bedroom wasn't going to work (not for us at least) because the kids would move those toys into the room where we were. Rather than move toys EVERY. NIGHT. from the living room into the bedroom - we decided to just put it all out in the open. For everyone to see but not.
That's where this play table turned coffee table comes in. Remember how I said I love things that are used beyond their original purpose? This is one of those things. I found the Pottery Barn Kids train table (a steal at $50) on craigslist. I love this table because it has two huge rolling drawers underneath that house legos, magnatiles, cars, and building blocks. When the kids want to play - we just push the drawers out so they have easy access. When they go to bed or someone is coming over - we RACE around and put everything back and shove those drawers back. All better.
Another thing you'll notice is the tent (land of nod) which we keep in the living room. That's us trying invite the kids to play in the living room and they love it!
The living room is definitely being used an entire space in our family. This may not work for all families but it works for ours.