*Project by Autumn @ It’s Always Autumn for the Hardware Challenge of season 13*
My kids were out of school for fall break last week so I wanted to find a way to involve them in my project for the hardware store challenge. We’ve been talking (for ages!) about finding some sort of solution for the huge pile of stuffed animals that is always sprawling across their bedroom floor. I’ve looked at all sorts of commercial products, but they’re all either too expensive, not workable for the boys’ room, or just plain ugly. As I racked my brain I had this image of a couple teddy bears sitting together on a porch swing, and I finally figured out what we should do.
The kids and I made a trip to Home Depot and came home with everything we needed to put together an animal storage system that would hang from their ceiling. The design is simple, which means it came together quickly and the kids were able to help with all parts of the process – from sanding the wood to drilling holes, threading rope and tying the entire swing together. My oldest son even taught me some knots he’s been learning in scouts.
We found studs in the ceiling and screwed in a couple of hooks, then hung our completed contraption. Each of the three boys chose a shelf and then had a great time lining up their favorite animals. Eight Build-a-Bear size animals fit comfortably on each shelf, with a some extra room to tuck in smaller toys. We’ve decided they can keep as many animals as will fit on their shelf, which will make it easy to figure out when it’s time to donate or pack away older bears.
The storage system is made from 1/4 inch thick pieces of wood, making it incredibly lightweight. I used pre-cut hobby wood which made it a little more expensive, but if you used a 2×4 handy panel of luan plywood and had wood glue on hand you could build the entire three-level system for under $15.
My favorite part is that it hangs above the floor which means we can vaccuum beneath it easily. I’m not sure I’d install one of these in a toddler’s bedroom (the temptation to sit on it might be too strong to resist), but for older kids like mine who may not play with their animals as much as they used to but aren’t ready to give them up, this is a perfect solution!