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10 Playroom Photos from Moms That'll Make You Feel So Much Better About Your Own Messy House

By Monica Bielanko |

Pants? I don't need no stinking pants!

At this point I’d rather clean up dog puke than pick up another damn toy.

You know the drill.  Spend a half hour putting crap away, throwing it in toy boxes, stacking books, shoving stuff in closets and in less time than it took you to clean their mess, the little suckers have dragged every. single. toy in the joint back out onto the floor.

One of these times I need to record their process and watch it on fast-forward because it would be fascinating to see exactly how they manage to mess up a perfectly clean room in mere minutes.

We’re lucky enough to have an entire room devoted to a play area, so I can’t even fathom the nightmare that having a dual playroom/living room is for those of you who don’t have the extra room.  My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

But hey.  Stop worrying about the mess!  Because the photos of playrooms submitted from readers I’m about to show you will make you feel so much better.  I was cleaning my kids playroom four and five times a day, laboring under the delusion that nobody else lives like pigs.  But!  Good news!  They do!  Nobody’s judging because all of us are apparently living like toy hoarders.

So next time you feel inclined to clean up those toys because a good parent couldn’t possibly leave that kind of a mess, come back and flip through these photos and you’ll immediately feel better.  I promise!

Click here to check out the photos!

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10 Reader Submitted Photos of Kids' Playrooms in their Natural State

Where's Waldo?

Can you spot the sleeping child in this photo? Plum tuckered himself out with what appears to be A LOT of playing.


Got a photo you want to add to the mix?  Email me at monicabielanko at yahoo dot com.

You can also find Monica on her personal blog, The Girl Who.


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About Monica Bielanko


Monica Bielanko

Monica Bielanko was raised on the wild frontier of late 1970's Utah. She is a recovering Mormon who married the guitar player of an unknown band. She's been married to her Babble Voices writing partner, Serge Bielanko, for the past nine years. Her personal blog, The Girl Who was in the top ten of last year's Top 50 list. Read bio and latest posts → Read Monica's latest posts →

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35 thoughts on “10 Playroom Photos from Moms That'll Make You Feel So Much Better About Your Own Messy House

  1. Linda, T.O.O. says:

    I don’t feel judgy abut other people’s housekeeping, but the wretched excess in some of those photos makes me feel slightly sick.

  2. MB says:

    I have just started reading the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle stories to my four year old son, and the “won’t pick up toys cure” still holds up.

  3. Brandi says:

    A perfectly clean playroom turned into a tornado distaster zone in a matter of minutes. Sometimes those few minutes of kids keeping themselves occupied is SO worth the clean up.

  4. daria says:

    these are hilarious. thanks for sharing. yes to what brandi said. we have two kids (who share a bedroom) in a small house with a limited number of toys, but lots of books and art supplies. our family room is our playroom and even with constant keep-up, it is often covered with “projects.” most of these playrooms are so much worse than mine, so now i’m feeling better!

  5. k. annie says:

    I love these photos. My daughter has a verb for this behavior: junkin’. Me: what’s that noise, what are you doing? Her: Oh, just junkin.’ And she’s torn EVERYTHING off our shelves to turn them into minimalist bunk-beds for her and an imaginary friend. Jeez.

  6. Ashley says:

    I’m thinking you could create a similar post about laundry piles. How is it possible that I do laundry every single day but I’m still always drowning in the dirties?!

  7. Suzie says:

    It really does not take all that much effort to straighten a room before closing out each day. I understand skipping once in a while if you have a particularly busy day, but usually we pick up as part of the wind down between dinner and bath/stories. Also, we pick up as we go. No major activity/toy comes out anew until the other thing is cleared out. My kid is very creative and free-flowing, but those pics are just completely disorderly and I’m not sure how a kid could even play or be creative in such damn messes.

  8. Rosana says:

    Wow, those pics actually make me fell bad for those people. I will drive me nuts to walk in a house like that everyday. I have a very specific rule for my kids: you can play with anything you want but if you don’t pick it up after you finish, you are not allowed to play with it again. Sometimes they forget but one reminder does it.

  9. Claudia says:

    People, this is kids having fun! Pre-toddler, I was a neatnik too, but it seems to me a necessary adjustment to loosen up if your kids are to actually enjoy and learn from their toys, and if there is to be laughter and imagination in the house. Constant tidying is a bore–and who are you trying to impress, exactly? Life isn’t supposed to look like the Container Store. Let kids play freely and accept the consequences.

  10. Suzie says:

    It is a “bore” to tidy up, I suppose, but it doesn’t take that long, it’s not that difficult and it gives me a total anxiety attack to be around extreme disorder like that shown in the pics.

  11. Leyla says:

    Kids should definitely play and life shouldn’t resemble a retail store, but there are a couple pics in there that scream over-stimulating. Just as adults can get frazzled when in a chaotic environment, babies are no different. Messes aren’t as undesirable as over-consumption. Do kids really need ten million toys? Sorry if this comment is jerk-like. Errr. . . .

  12. April says:

    Phew that makes me feel much better. Mine are not that bad.

  13. April says:

    After a huge playdate though mine looks rough! I have things pretty organized though so I can pick up really quickly.

  14. elendy says:

    wow – these pics are so much better than that awful slideshow awhile back of all those white playrooms – what family with small children uses that much white??
    these make me feel much better about our house!

  15. Dawn says:

    I have to say, all our toys have bins with pictures on them so my 4 year old can sort his toys by picture (he’s 4). But on the days I tackle Mount Laundry, he and my 22 month old can turn that room into a mess much worse than what’s pictured here. However, I completely clean it on the weekend and reorganize everything so that they can do it again. But when my neighbors 4 and 3 year old girls come over, the first thing they do during the play date is pour every. single. bin out on the floor, open all the drawers and empty those, and then move on to the boys’ bedroom. We only have play dates with them when the room already needs to be cleaned… That being said, I’m sure many of these pictures were taken under similar situations and cleaned afterwards, so lets not judge.

  16. Sarah says:

    Some of those pictures don’t look like they were created in a day. How on earth are kids supposed to play in there? We have a play room and its picked up and organized 9/10 nights. I have three toddlers that destroy a room pretty quickly, but nothing like that.
    . And what do you mean your 4 year old won’t help? It sounds it’s YOU that won’t make him.

  17. Andrea says:

    all I’ve got to say – is there are a lot of judgey comments here – jeesh people, really?! Moms trashing other moms is what’s boring….and I am oh so tired of seeing that on every moms’ group and blog I visit. Do you people talk this way to your friends in person? This article was intended to help other moms commiserate NOT put these poor people’s plight up for public humiliation! They were generous enough to make themselves vulnerable by sharing their dark secrets. the least we can do is be supportive, not pile on the “Oh my kids would never do that and I am such a better mom.” (because that’s what we really mean isn’t it?) Many kids can take a totally organized playroom and make it look like that in 10 seconds flat. I will admit it – when we had a separate play room – we did NOT straighten it up every night ! That’s what the playrooms are FOR – IMO!

  18. Linda, T.O.O. says:

    I’m surprised that people seem to think that the number of toys shown in many of these pictures is normal. I don’t really have an opinion about other people’s housekeeping unless it veers in to Hoarders territory, but there are only so many toys a child can play with, or even remember that they own. Conspicuous over consumption and materialism make me really uncomfortable.

  19. Rosana says:

    True, mine don’t have that many toys to make such a mess anyway.

  20. kena says:

    These children need a blessing. I think they should NOT be bought all those toys. I have 2 children and they get about three or four things for christmas.
    If they keep up with them the next christmas they’ll get about 5 or 6 things.
    Get them clothes and shoes! Most kids dont even have that.

  21. kena says:

    Dont worry moms! Call Supernanny!

  22. chichi says:

    you shouldnt buy this many toys if you get “so damn tired” of picking them up. this is excessive and unsanitary.

  23. Jamia says:

    My 2 children’s playroom was like that, but then I came up with a solution. If the room is not clean, privliges get taken away such as: video games, outside time, tv time, computer time, and sweets. They regain them by keeping the playroom clean for a week. My kids are just 4 and 6.

  24. a mom says:

    sheesh…. sorry to say that all this is nothing compared to my teenaged daughter’s room….

  25. lulu says:

    Y’all are nuts. These rooms don’t even have that many toys in them and aren’t that bad. I could pick that stuff up in about 10-15 minutes. It’s just a few bins of toys, strewn around the floor and such. The judgmental attitudes about this are disappointing. I think it would be strange if your kids room never looked like this after hours of playtime.

  26. Rebecca says:

    Most of those room really aren’t THAT BAD! If you can still see the floor then it’s not that bad. We try to make sure the boys clean up before they go to bed and I go through and organize things at least every other week.

  27. misty says:

    i so agree with lulu comment and i was lied to i was told these pictures would make me feel better when all they are doing is reminding me what i got to deal with latter on today lol and my kids have alot of toys not cause i buy them but other family memebers buy them toys lots of them they also get money at the end of each week when they are good and make good grades so if i give them money why tell them you have enough toys dont buy any toys there just gonna stop working so hard i much rather clean my 5 yes 5 childrens messy rooms with a major toy pile up and smiles on there faces then to see there behavior change badly and grades start lacking and them having no fun thats a childs job to have fun if we dont want to clean up messes and have fun with are kids and to see them have fun and to let them explore and do things in there own way then why did we have kids in the first place a childs playroom should be clean up yes but its never gonna stay that way and if it does somethings wrong

  28. Kelly says:

    After a play date it looks just this! They usually manage to get his mattresses off of his bed and some how in a TP of sorts lol. But every year before Christmas we go through his toys and take half or more and donate them. I let him choose what he does and does not want and he goes with me to the good will to donate them. Its an easy way of keeping the clutter down and a great lesson for my son, who is now 6 and very great-full for what he has. Oh and he cleans his own messes has since he was 4 at age 3 is when we started practicing.

  29. susie says:

    Thank God for these sweet opportunities to lay shame & condem. How else can we really feel on top of it all & like we navigate parenthood successfully?! It’s tragic that some kids must suffer this plight (disarray & excess) but necessary in order for the shiny ones to shine! :)

  30. Heather says:

    YAY! I do feel better! My girls can make a holy mess, but we keep their bedrooms pretty tidy. It’s still “we” because they’re too young to clean them all by themselves. Our very small basement play room however, looks eerily similar to some of these photos.

  31. lindab says:

    Watch Hoarders and you’ll see someone’s future. When my kids were little ( old enough to put thing away) we told them it’s your room you may do as u wish but if it is messy we don’t want to see it and none of your friends can either, door was to stay shut no matter how messy, that included food as well. We did not clean after them…….especially when some of it is deliberate destructiveness!

  32. Maryann says:

    These are so funny, I am going to have to send you my grandson’s picture of whom just might be the MESSIEST but happiest little boy. His toys not only fill up his room, but the bathroom, the living room, the kitchen, his grandpa’s room and his momma’s car!!!

  33. Mcgyver says:

    Really? These are messy? My daughters can make any room look like someone blew up a toy store, in seconds flat. Even with NO toys available on site. Its a special gift.
    Also, I don’t really think the picture of the house under construction rates either… unless the kids knocked out the walls themselves, thats a cheap filler picture…. But if the kids DID knock down the walls…. cool.
    One other thought… Who goes around taking pictures of what they think is a horrible mess? I look in my kids room and all I do is gasp and swear, not go running for the camera… I just go digging for survivors, not recording it for future reminders of why I had that aneurism.

  34. Jess says:

    Oh no! These poor children are being told they will be hoarders one day?!?! Whaaaa…? Hoarding is a mental illness! These are kids trashing their play areas. My daughter is too little to cause too much damage (and we keep the toys to a minimum) but I fully expect that one day I’ll walk in to find a scene like this and a look of total elation/exhaustion on my daughter’s sweet face :)

  35. sherry says:

    We follow the # 2 suggestion alot. That is when we have a day that we are all here. I give my kids responsibility in cleaning their space. If they choose to forego helping the rule is I throw everything away. If it is an expensive item I put it up and they don’t get to see it again and as far as they know it has made it to the trash. When we are finished I treat them to a movie. This works well and efficient as we have to have the cleaning done in time for the movie. They don’t stall as much. Susie, it is unfortunate that you feel that all kids cannot be “shiny” unless they have tidy rooms. Also I suspect that by your earlier comment you only have one child, Multiply that number and then see just how tidy you would be. I too would have severe anxiety over my childrens messy rooms but realized the anxiety it created in them and decided a clean room wasn’t worth it.

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