Getting Organized with Marshalls: A Pop-up Playroom in the Basement

[Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Marshalls. All opinions and photography are our own and are not influenced by Marshalls. Thanks for supporting the brands that support this blog.]

When we shared our birthday survey asking our readers what they want to see here on the DIY Playbook, one of the most popular requests was anything organization related and another common request was seeing how I plan to corral all of the baby clutter. Today’s pop-up playroom in the basement checks off both of those boxes!

Corraling the Clutter Using a teepee and bookshelves to create an organized playroom.

As we all know, babies come with a lot of stuff. But Matt and I vowed early in our pregnancy that we were going to work hard to keep that stuff to a minimum. We wanted to keep parenting as simple as possible, and an aspect of that, to us at least, was focusing on buying items we need and not going overboard with “extras”. We’re not being total minimalists, but we’re trying to be mindful of the accumulation.

Add stuffed animals to your child's bookshelvesIf you’re laughing out loud right now, we get it. When we share this goal with our family and friends, they too chuckle… most following that laugh with a comment like, “Ohhh boy, give it a year or two and then get back to us”.

Add a small gallery wall to your organized playroomWe get it, baby stuff accumulates very quickly. It’s only been 5 months and we already see that (although we’re pretty proud of ourselves so far!). We can only imagine what happens as these adorable babies grow up and everyone around them wants to continue to spoil them with stuff.  How we plan to combat is another story… for another day. Today we are here to share ALL of the toys we have in our house and how we are currently showcasing them for Ben’s guests to enjoy (until Ben is old enough to enjoy them too!).

An Organized Playroom in the Basement

This pop-up “playroom” in the basement was born out of two problems:

  1. We didn’t have a set place to put Ben’s few toys, so we would throw them wherever and that disorganization was making both of us a little crazy!
  2. After having Ben, we’ve had a lot more kids over. Cousins, friends’ kids, playdates… more kids have been in our house than ever before and we didn’t really have a space for them to enjoy themselves while they were here.

Use a rolling bookshelf to create an organized playroom

I wanted to solve these two problems by taking a corner of our basement and adding some stylish, affordable organization. By having a “home” for all of Ben’s toys, Matt and I would always know where to put them (and where to find them). Plus, anytime little ones come over to play, we now have a set place where they can enjoy!

Making The Most Of A Small Space

I chose this corner in our basement because it has a lot of natural light and wasn’t being used for anything else. Eventually, we plan on DIY-ing something more permanent, but that may not be for 3-4 years, so this affordable makeover is perfect for now. And it’s an affordable way to “test drive” the space and figure out how we use it on an everyday basis before we commit to something that’s not going away.

Creating an Organized PlayroomLay down a rug to create a play area for your little ones

Casey and I headed to our local Marshalls and scored the bookcase, step stool, woven basket, and a few accessories (like the letterboard for $19!) in order to make our pop-up playroom in the basement fun, stylish, and most importantly, hardworking. We always have fun shopping at Marshalls because we find tons of great surprises from brands we love at amazing prices.

A Few New Items Without Breaking The Bank

A faux fiddle leaf, bookcase on wheels, and teepee make up a play area

I found the bookshelf at Marshalls and it only cost me $59! I love the color and love that if we ever do change this space up, I can easily find a new home for this versatile piece.

Organize books with a shelf in the basement

I added Ben’s overflow of books (the ones that won’t fit on his book ledges) to this shelf. Ben has a lot of books, but that’s one item I don’t mind accumulating!

Put a small basket on the bottom of a bookshelf for hidden storageMy next favorite part is this woven basket… with a lid! Can you believe it was $24?!

This basket with a lid holds lots of baby toys

Inside of the basket I’ve “hidden” all of Ben’s toys. Literally, that’s all of them. I know he’ll eventually have more than this, but right now my goal is to keep purging in order to keep his collection to this size until he gets quite a bit older.

I also scored this adorable step stool from Marshalls. I just thought it was too darn cute and the price was right for $19. Maybe one day Ben will have a little coloring table down here and this little stool can double as a chair. But for now, my 2-year-old nephew, Owen can sit on it and enjoy some books!

Add a stuffed animal head to your wall for a fun gallery wall

And last, but certainly not least, I scored a letterboard and a stuffed animal head both for under $20!

Accessorizing the Space

Letterboard that says excuse the mess, we're making memories

I know that letterboards can be very expensive, so when I saw this one at Marshalls for such a great price, I just couldn’t help myself. And how much fun will it be when Ben and I can add little quotes up there together?! I can’t even wait!

A letterboard is a great addition to an organized playroom

But for now, I thought this was fitting..especially since I want our guests to feel comfortable to make a mess when they come over. So many times we have guests over, especially kids, I feel like their parents (our friends) are too nervous for their kids to touch anything… in fear of messing something up. That’s craziness!! We want our house to be lived in and one where guests can come and relax. Hopefully, this space will encourage that and allow our friends who bring their kids to sit back and relax!

Rip a page out of a book and frame it in a playroom

Next to the letterboard, I used a frame we already had and framed a page of one of Ben’s books. Matt’s parents have a basset hound, so when Matt saw this page of an adorable little basset,  he immediately loved it. I knew I had to do something with it and so I ripped it out and it quickly doubled as FREE art. <— Love when that happens!  This small play area holds lots of toys for kidsThe rest of the accessories (including the tent and fiddle leaf) we already had. It’s nice to have a place to keep Ben’s few stuffed animals too. Plus, they double as pretty adorable decor if you ask me. Who said kid stuff can’t look cute, while being functional too?

Extra Details

Can you even with this raccoon holding a little bee for our little B?! Plus, he’s wearing overalls and striped socks… I love it!

And see that gray baby deer? His tag says “baby Finn” so I had to get it when I spotted it at Marshalls. I know someday Casey will have a Baby Finn to come over and play with it!

An organized playroom that is stylish too!

This organized playroom literally took me a few days to put together and I’m loving the new space so, so much! Matt and I have been able to stay so much more organized now that Ben’s few toys have a home. Plus, we’ve already used it for several playdates this summer and have even spent a lot more time down there as a family. Ben lays on the floor and plays with his little toys or we read him books. I can’t wait to continue to make memories down here. It’s a small space, but we were able to make it a lot more hardworking without breaking the bank. Gotta love when the happens!


P.S. It’s been a little a LOT crazy around here with landscaping projects, but I promise to check in with more updates about how we are trying to live with less baby stuff, how we are staying organized in Ben’s nursery, and even how we “hide” our baby gear upstairs. If you have any specific questions, leave them in the comments below and I’ll be sure to include that info too!

The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

your home playbook sidebar