Feb 4

Living Room Tour Part 1: Toy Area

We live in a one bedroom apartment on Nob Hill in San Francisco with 1.5 kids. The living room is the most used room in the house. It is Moses’ play area, the TV area, it is where we host guests, and it is my home office. That is a lot of use for one room. The key to keeping it organized and clean (most of the time) is for everything to have a place. I put a lot of thought into Moses’ toy area. I was inspired after I read this article about Lisa Mahar, the owner of Kid O. Then I did some research and went through and made a list of all the types of toys and activities that two-year-olds like to do. (I did a big post about it last December right here.) I tried to choose good quality toys that were beautiful and interesting.

Some sources: For toys etc refer to this post here. The plastic bins are from Container Store. The shelf I got off Craigslist and was ugly but I liked the shape. Jenny (my decorator) suggested I paint it Benjamin Moore’s Celery Salt. The little table is from IKEA. And my sister in law Liz told me about the little Bertoia kid chairs. The painting was one I recreated after I saw it in a Kate Spade store a few years ago. Then I put my collection of mini globes on top.

The system has worked out perfectly since I set it up a few months ago. Moses can see his toys and plays with them all the time (instead of being buried in a toy basket like before.) The best part is that it is easy for him to clean up his toys after plays with them, because everything has a place.


  • ZDub says:

    Looks great. I love wooden toys, so much nicer than plastic.

  • michelle says:

    Love what you did and how Annabelle's eyes lit up when she saw all the toys laid out like that when she played at your place. We're working on doing the same thing in the nursery now.

  • Sam and Livi says:

    your organization is super motivating

  • Vanessa says:

    i love the organization! where did you get the shelving box for the puzzles? i could really use something like that!

  • Laura says:

    Very nice. I love clear containers so parent and child can see where everything goes at cleanup time

  • jordan says:

    The puzzle organizer has a link on this post here

  • Jenny at LGN says:

    Looks really great, Jordan. Your toy collection is so inspiring. I hate how plastic crap so easily accumulates in homes with kids.
    …getting out the garbage bags now to edit our toy room!

  • Annabanana says:

    cute. great use of small space.
    but…he really, really needs some legos. I promise, it is $ well spent. HOURS of entertainment await!!!!

  • chelsea says:

    Really lovely. Can't wait to see the rest. I love your philosophy on toys!

  • Martha says:

    I love the thought you took to create this! I really hate houses exploding with toys that kids don't even care about. Love, love, love what you've done. Very inspiring.

  • Stephanie says:

    Darling Jordan. Love your idea of recreating artwork…you've given me the courage to be a little more crafty in that way!

  • {lovely little things} says:

    I love globes!

  • nicole says:


    I love your site but I wish it had a search button to find older items. I'd like to recreate the wall map you made & don't know where to look. Any ideas?


  • jordan says:


    the search box is in the right hand column. The fourth item down.

  • nicole says:

    Thanks Jordan. Boy do I feel silly.

  • Abbigail says:

    Looks great Jordan. We have almost all of those same toys. Problem is, I have about ten times more. I thin them out all of the time and my daughter immediately asks, "what happened to sister whale?". Need to work on it some more. Thankfully we have enough space to house all of her many toys. I try to rotate them since getting rid of them doesn't go well.

  • Stacey says:

    So organized! Where did you find that little accordion?

  • Barbie says:

    This is just the kind of help I've been needing! Thank you thank you! My boy's toys could really use some order. Great photo…makes me attack this project with much more ease.

  • Jedi & Aubrie says:

    That really is a beautiful display

  • Green toys distributor says:

    Great collection of toys, thanks for sharing with us. I like only plastic toys…

  • Jordan - Polkadot Prints says:

    Thanks for the peek into your home. This room looks so organised and beautiful. And thanks for the tip on the puzzle organiser – so, so practical!

  • Casey says:

    so great! thanks for sharing! can't wait to see more..

  • LobotoME says:

    love this! great job!

    adding {declutter our toy collection} to this weekend's to do list!

  • J says:

    The baby Bertoias are too cute and I love the Plan toys, we're big fans at our house!

  • The Good Report says:

    I ran out and bought those chairs too as soon as your sis-in-law mentioned them on her blog. I'm so glad she did because it was just what I was looking for. Looks great in your space also.

  • jen hunt says:

    your blog is simply delightful!

  • Melissa Blake says:

    Ooooh, I would have loved that as a kid…probably wouldn't even mind it now!

  • wishful nals says:

    i love the globes! xo

  • Marina GuimarĂ£es says:

    lovely smart toys! you came out with a great solution to organize them. ;)

  • Ivy Lane says:

    Your photos are aMAYzing!

  • Anonymous says:

    this looks great! i have a similar setup for our 2 year old – my problem with it is that he can't reach everything. i am thinking to re-do our setup with a different furniture piece – all low shelves – , so he can access everything himself.

  • julia says:

    I love the way everything seems so easy to find, and that the little table is so close. I'm still searching for the perfect toddler table and chair set on craigslist.

  • alee says:

    love the globes..just redoing my sons room {from baby to toddler&up!} I am going with maps/globes…love the colors!

  • Jenny says:

    I love that all the toys fit on one bookcase. How do you keep your home from overflowing with mail, magazines, art projects, books, clothes the kids have outgrown and all that? I feel like I have it coming out my eyeballs and I am constantly dejunking and thinning things out.

  • jordan says:

    @Jenny I'm not the poster child for organization but we do have a mail system where whoever gets the mail has to sort it immediately and throw away/recycle junk mail. At this point I only have one kid so its pretty easy to keep toys under control. And I'm not sentimental so unless the art is something I really like I throw it out. I only buy clothes for Moses once every 6 months and when I restock I clean out the old stuff and put it in storage.

  • Lizinka says:

    This is really great, I am inspired to re-organize the play area for our 2 year old and 6 month old. We have lots of boxes, but the organization of the clear containers makes so much sense. I do have one question – what will you do with these toys when he outgrows them and moves on to the next stage of playthings? I find I am hanging on to things for the second child, while still getting new things for the older child…and am starting to drown in toys despite my best intentions! Thanks for sharing your great ideas!

  • Alicia says:

    Love the setup! We have a lot of similar toys for our 2 year old. I just love the guitar and big fire truck – can you tell me where they're from?

  • Janaan says:

    So lovely! I plan to implement a system like this for my own little one.

  • Robin says:

    This is so inspiring! We have toys in pails and baskets now, and most of the time she only notices what's already out and scattered around. I much prefer your thoughtful and focused approach.

  • potenta says:

    toooooys :)

    how fun!

  • Anna says:

    Fabulous Job Jordan. I've read through all your posts and enjoy your blog. Where did you find the adorable spiny top toy? Would love to have one for my daughter. :) Thanks, from Bali!


  • Alina from WindowBlindsProject says:

    I love your toys area. It looks organized. I have a similar area in our living room for my 2 years old son, but it doesn't look so nice.

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