Before and After: Calico Critter Corner

Calico Critter Hedgehog in treehouse

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Reimagining Space to Revive Toys

Calico Critter Hedgehog in treehouse
  • What: Before & After: Calico Critter Corner
  • When: Toys start to overrun your household
  • Why: Keep things organized yet accessible
  • Where: At home

Christmas has happened. Now with the influx of all the kids’ new stuff, what do you do with it all? If you’re like me, you’re tired of stepping on LEGO or Critters or Magna-Tiles scattered everywhere around the house. With the kids out of school and the New Year around the corner, now makes a great time to get organized. 

Costco wooden dollhouse over box for calico critter garage with Camper cherry cruiser and family seven seater cars inside
The kids’ Calico Critter collection had outgrown this small space tucked behind a recliner in the living room.

My kids’ Calico Critter collection has grown and grown. We added a Critter garage to hold all their various forms of transportation. Then we tossed all the extra stuff that wouldn’t fit in the house or school into a bin to make it easier to find and less likely to get stepped on. But when we needed more room for our burgeoning LEGO collection, something had to give.

Pile of toys and junk in corner of basement
Previously this corner of the basement served as a dumping ground for little used toys and other random stuff.

I took a little used area in our basement and cleaned it out of all the toys the kids no longer played with very often. We removed an old shelving unit. Then I boxed up the stuff I wanted to keep, put usable stuff in a container for donating (and actually got it there!), and made room. The kids took part in this process as well, sorting and deciding what could go and what to keep (and what to hang on to out of sight for a bit longer to see if we’re ready to part with it.) After that, we had a blank slate to work with.

Calico Critter corner village with cottage, house, pizzeria, school, grocery market, tree house, camper,
Now their Critter collection fits wonderfully in this odd space.

It turns out the odd crooks and corners of this section of the house work perfectly for Calico Critters. Before, we had their collection strewn about the floor, and had to pick our way through it. The tiny pieces often got interspersed with the LEGO nearby, and rarely picked up properly.

Calico Critter Corner collection of toys on carpet
Now the kids can leave their toys out between play sessions.

Now, the kids can leave their Critters comfy and cozy between play sessions without risking injury to the critters or the residents of our home. (The dog is also less likely to snack on them, which is an added unanticipated benefit as our pets aren’t allowed downstairs.) The kids have more room, everything can stay together without being precariously stacked, and they are drawn to this space where they can play uninterrupted.

Calico Critter grocery market, village pizzeria, and hedgehog hideout
Multiple levels give them lots of flexibility for setting up their village.

If you have a collection of toys overflowing your living space, take a look around your home for less used items and see if a similar change of scenery could give some of your kids’ toys new life and bring more fun for your kids. (It never hurts to have them more out of the way, either.)

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