Thursday, April 27, 2017

Messy Doll Room (needs a makeover!)

Hello everyone!
Tonight I wanted to share a tour of my messy and unorganized doll room.  I am putting this out there because I need to get this done, and by posting this, it will give me more motivation! 


I started "officially" collecting dolls in the summer of 2014, right before we moved to the farm and in those (almost) 3 years of collecting, I have accumulated quite a mass of dolls!
I have gone through some periods of feeling overwhelmed and really questioned why I am spending so much money on dolls when I don't even have time to enjoy them. 

Part of the reason I started collecting so many different dolls is because I get really inspired by other people's collections and photos that I feel like I want the same.

To date, the biggest collections I have are Barbie, Monster High, Ever After High, Disney, Hearts for Hearts and American Girl.  I also have some odds and ends like Shoppies, Care Bears and vintage 80s toys.

In the 3 years of collecting, I have to admit that although a lot of dolls are coming in the door, not a lot have left the house and I feel like if I don't do some major organizing, I'm going to go crazy.

In a perfect world, I would love to have all of my dolls organized in beautiful shelves or doll rooms.
I would love to have a big American Girl "dollhouse" to keep my larger scale dolls in, similar to the AG doll rooms from Hannah's blog Never Grow Up.  I love the idea of displaying a collection to show off other miniatures.  Double bonus!

I would love to have my MH and EAH displayed in crafted room boxes organized by each character, similar to one of my favorite You Tubers Superbuddies Forever

I would love to build dioramas for my Barbies and have the collectors ones displayed nicely on a shelf.

Before I do that, though, I really need to get down to the basics.
I have NEVER really been good at organizing and I don't have a good "spacial eye" to create a vision of how I want something to look. It's just not my strongest skill. :(

Despite that, I need to spend some time really organizing and storing things in a better way.
My goal is to open all of the un-opened dolls that are hanging out in closets and take some time to think about what I want to keep and what I want to give away.
I also want to get everyone cleaned up and in proper outfits again.
I want to have an easy access storage system for clothes, shoes and accessories.
I want to create an inventory so I can remember what I have while it's still fresh in my mind as to where I got certain dolls and how much I paid for it. (I've already been sort of doing this, luckily!)

My biggest challenge that I perceive with all of this is that my girls love to play with my dolls.  Plain and simple.  They love my Barbies, they love the MH/EAH, they love the AG, etc.  They have their own dolls, but mine appeal to them more because they think they are "special" and off limits.
This is part of the reason I have so many that are still in their boxes (because I don't want them to get ruined!)
The really special ones, I will keep in boxes and high up on the shelves, but the majority of my collection are play-line dolls and are meant to be played with so I struggle with the "Mommy guilt."
I know it's ok to say no, but some days I enjoy breaking them out and all of us playing together.
Other days I'm like "don't touch my dolls!" Haha.

I guess I need to figure out which dolls they can play with and which dolls are a no-no and maybe store the "play" dolls in bins for now (because what's the point of making them all fancy again when they are just going to get messy again, lol).

I want to feel good about my collection when I walk into this room. :)

So without further ado, here is my messy doll room as it really is and I hope you will have some good tips for me!

Since I shot this video a few weeks ago, we have gotten rid of the couch that is in there, so there is a lot more room now.  I have decided I want to paint the room to brighten it up, so I'm thinking either a white, off white or light blue at the moment.

I also think I want to get rid of that large crafting table (I can take it apart and store it elsewhere for the time being).

As I go through and clean up each group of dolls, I was thinking I'd make a quick "collection" video so you can see what I have so far!

What about you guys?  How do you store your dolls?  Do you have them in bins or out on display?  Do any of you struggle with having little ones that want to play with everything?

I'd love to hear your thoughts. :)

Until next time...happy hoarding!  (I mean collecting!) ;)
xoxo Farrah


  1. OMG! I am your evil doll collector twin! My doll space looks very similar. My goal also is to also get everything de-boxed. Shelving is a good idea. It will put everything in perspective. I would start with shelving one type of doll at a time so it doesn't get overwhelming. I'm starting with Barbie. Good luck!

    1. Yay, evil doll collector twin!! :) I'm so glad to hear that I'm not alone, lol. That is a really great tip about starting with one doll type. I love that! I already have one book shelf to set up so I think I will start with my Ever After High and get them all sorted out and then move on from there. Thank you so much for your awesome feedback and good luck with your space as well!! :)

  2. Hello Farrah,
    I actually think your "mess" is quite contained. Jo has been collecting Star wars figures for about 3 years now, and it looks exactly like your room... so you are not alone;)I've actually seen much worse. Boxes take so much space, but I agree that until you can display them properly will keep them safe and in good condition. I am so jealous you have the She-ra doll! Jo purchased bookcases with glass doors at Ikea that are really tall for his star wars collections. They sell separate shelves and therefore offer a lot of flexibility...I think they are the Billy model. Finally, the amount we spend on our collections is astronomical, but the feeling you get when you pass in front and take out a piece that makes you happy is well worth it.
    Big hug

    1. Thanks for your great tips as well, Giac! I have definitely heard of the IKEA shelves being a really good option so I will check them out. I think I definitely prefer the white colored shelving to bright up the room a bit. I know, that She-Ra doll is pretty neat..I'm not totally thrilled with her face, but it's so cool that they made a SDCC version of her and I would LOVE it if they made more of the She-Ra squad.
      That is really cool that Jo collects Star Wars figures. My brothers are both really into those and have a small collection of them, myself. Such nostaglia. :)
      That is a very good point you made about the financial aspect. I don't spend a lot of money on other things like clothes, shoes, house decor, etc, so I guess it all evens out and dolls/miniatures bring me so much joy so it's worth it. Once it's all organized, I think it will be so much more fun! Thanks again for your kind support, Giac.
      Big hugs back

  3. Well! I've been collecting for about seventeen years. I remember a big double roombox thing that Mr. BTEG built out of wood and painted for me to arrange my Barbie dolls, which were the only dolls that I collected at the time. In all those years, the Little Geniuses never got into my dolls but once. The Dancer got into some of my doll shoes and played with them in the walk-in closet I was using to store a lot of my stuff. I never found all of them, and some of them are hard to replace. :( I imagine it helped that my girls were never *super* into dolls and had plenty of dolls of their own to play with.

    From what I've read, Billy shelves seem to be like the gold standard in collection storage. I think shelves would be an excellent way to at least get you started on the road to organization. I've read several people's blogs on how they store stuff (and written a post of my own), which might give you places to start.

    I try to have as much on display as possible. Like Giac said, looking at the items is what makes me happy. I do have some Barbies stored away right now, partially because I like to display my dolls in dioramas, and I don't have enough space to have all of them out in that way.

    I hope you find some things that work for you so you can really start enjoying your collection!

    1. Thanks for the tips, Barb, and I will definitely check out your post on storage!
      That's awesome that the "Little Geniuses" didn't really get into your dolls too much. :) Mine seem to LOVE dolls (which is great!) so I just have to have that fine balance and maybe put the really nice ones up higher where they can't get to them as easily. I love the idea of displaying dolls in dioramas and that is my ultimate goal!

    2. Yeah, Billy shelves are brilliant. I had those running all along our corridor in our place in DC (I think I posted about that a couple of years ago maybe?) and it was genuinely the best storage/display space I've ever had (these days I'm using cube shelving, which I do like, but it's mostly because those hold up to moving better since they're sturdier).

    3. Yeah, I can see that with all the moves. Unfortunately, I don't have an IKEA close by and when I saw that it would be almost $400 shipping (yes, I typed that correctly!) I guess I will have to go with something else, lol.

    4. $400 for shipping! Wow, that really takes away from Ikea's usual affordability!

    5. I know, right?? Boo, haha.

  4. Storage is always an issue for any collector. One thing I would say is don't feel as though everything needs to be displayed. I would be tempted to get some storage boxes for sorting and then make a habit once a month to rotate the dolls on display. You don't wear the same clothes everyday, nor do you want to look at the same dolls everyday either! Plus, the ones that are put away will seem like old friends when you get them back out. The other upside is that when you get them out, it will make it easier to get rid of anyone you don't have an emotional attachment to.

    Right now my doll house is where my dolls are for display, but I definitely don't have as many as you do. Mine are all AG though, so the size issue does come into play. I've had to stop buying as I not only am out of space for anyone new, but with the story aspect of my blog, it gets harder when you have more dolls! The doll room is a continuous work in progress because they keep coming out with new stuff I want.

    1. Thanks Flo!
      I think that is a really good idea to "rotate" collections because they I can display them nicer without just crowding every single thing onto a shelf, "just because." I like that idea a lot. For my AG dolls, I really want to do dolls rooms like you, but that will take some time to collect accessories/beds etc, but that is my ultimate goal. For now, I at least want to get them dressed in some "spring clothes" and cleaned up! :) I can see what you mean about quickly running out of space when your dolls are twice as big!

  5. Well, at least your hoard is somewhat contained! 😉. Actually, your room doesn't look all that bad -- not nearly as bad as mine! I know I have way too many dolls and I know I should part with some of them (and I will -- because I HAVE TO!), but it is difficult for me to choose! I have seen some photos of doll rooms using the IKEA Billy cabinets with the class doors and I think that they would be an ideal way to store and display your doll collection. Anyway, good luck with this and keep us posted on your progress! Who knows, you might inspire me to get busy doing mine!

    1. Haha, thanks Phyllis! I'm glad I'm not alone with "too many dolls" :) Thanks for the Billy cabinet suggestion...that seems to be the general tip I've gotten today. :) I will definitely keep you posted! The next step is to get everything out and get the room painted! :)

  6. Heh, for a "messy room" your dolls are very organized! I think once you've added shelves they'll all start to feel more manageable. :)

    I can definitely relate to that unsettling feeling when it comes to thinking about how much you've spent. I had to do a full write-up of the replacement value of my dolls when we first moved to the US (for customs and insurance purposes), and looking at that bottom line was a little surreal.

    1. Haha, thanks! :) Yeah, right now, I haven't done much with the room yet. We got the couch out and I bought some paint for the walls, so that is the next step! Then to set up shelves and decide what I want to display and I what I want to keep in bins. I'm looking forward to having a nice display eventually! :)

  7. OMG Farrah, I never realised you had so many!! I ditch my boxes as they definitely take up too much room, and I am with Barb and JS on the Billy bookcases, they are great for displaying dolls and making rooms. I have just re-organised my doll room, it's not a big one, but shelving has definitely been the answer for me (plus a couple of other IKEA items) as I like to display mine so I can see them. That way I know exactly what I have and don't double up by mistake.

    1. Hi X,
      I totally hear you about being able to see what you have so you don't forget you have it...I agree! I love the look of the Billy bookcases, but unfortunately shipping from IKEA for me is outrageous, so I will have to look for something similar. I would love to see a doll collection tour of yours some day!

  8. Hello! I've seen you around, but it took me a while to discover you have a blog too. I put together a little album to show you how I display my dolls. Hey, we have the same yellow wallpaper!
    I have just under 70 dolls, a few are at my parents' house, my J-dolls are on the top shelf of a bookcase and my Mattel dolls are on some narrow shelves we built in a nook in the bedroom that looked perfect for this purpose, until we installed the AC that ruins the look. I love my purple walls though, they provide a flattering background for pretty much any doll. I'm thinking about building glass cabinets in the purple room and leaving the open shelves to my husband's walkie-talkie collection, which makes sense because his desk is next to them. In an ideal world, shallow glass cabinets with LED strips is what I'd use for all my dolls. I have few extra clothes and accessories which I keep in transparent plastic boxes and zip bags in a drawer. This is the main reason my dolls are strictly fashion dolls, with only a couple of non-fashion props (musical instruments, flowers and a teddy bear). I don't want to get sucked into the world of dollhouses and dioramas because they take so much space! The temptation is big though, if I manage to put my dolls behind glass doors, safe from the cat, I think I'll want some diorama items to go with them, and eventually a book-style doll room. I'll have to keep revisiting your video to remind me why I don't have, or need dollhouses :) Good luck with your doll room!

    1. Thanks so much, Black Kitty! I really like your purple walls as well and love the look of the MH dolls in that cozy corner shelf. I agree with your "ideal world" description of the perfect doll shelves! I know what you mean about dollhouses, etc..I love them so much! Thanks for the great tips and the lovely comment!!

  9. Welcome to your other 'twin'...actually your room is neat compared to my hoarding. Which has spilled over into other areas of the house and a climate controlled storage unit where i build some ofmy dioramas and store some of the larger barbie dollhouse structures like my vintage dreamhouse, the cars, etc. My large 1/6 dollhouse is in my dollroom, along with shelves that are literally stuffed with props and a skipper bedroom I made, plus a six foot table that holds parts of my town and LaBelle's, my boutique, a pastry shop too.Underneath are my vehicles. At the storage unit, are more dolls and more doll stuff. I generally don't have shelves tokeep them so they are in bins or on top of the dollhouse or in thedioramas or where ever I can cram them on tablespace or in the dollhouses or on the shelves. Otherwise, they stay in the boxes until I am ready to debox. It is easier tokeep them in the bins to protect them from dust and damage, my favorites sit all over the place.
    I have all these wonderful plans for what I am going to do for display,but that hasn't happened yet. The storage unit is my great alternative and quiet place where I can enjoy my diorama building without being interrupted and create alot of the incredible dioramas that take so much time to build, and stay up until I am finished.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Lisa! I'm glad to know I am not alone. It's fun to make up plans on how you want the doll room to look, it's just about finding the time to actually DO IT, which is a struggle as I'm so busy. I love the idea of your storage unit as a place where you can also enjoy your dolls. I think bins are going to work well for me also because my girls are constantly taking some out to play. Once they grow out of this phase, I think displaying them will be fun as well. Good luck with your doll room and I would love to see any progress you make along the way!

  10. Hello Farrah! I subscribe to your blog by email and mysteriously this posting came through on Nov 26, 2018! I thought it was recent until I noticed the date of 2017 above! But I watched your video clip, and alas, I have this same problem only I have no daughters, only a grown 29 year old son who left home 10 years ago. I took over his room a few years ago and turned it into a doll/sewing/craft room but it is way too messy. I don't know how it got this way, but I think if you had proper shelves and could store items that way it would really help. I'm thinking of doing this, or selling most of my dolls as I can no longer handle the clutter!