Monday, June 4, 2012

Toy Catcher Brilliance

Our house has a downstairs bedroom that we converted to a playroom.  To say that CAM and WHM have a lot of toys is kinda like saying the Pope isn't Jewish.  You know, just a moderate understatement.

Well, they also happen to have a number of toys that take floor space, so how we arrange the playroom is a bit of a puzzle.  And to top it all off, we have vents for our air that are in the floor and we have to work around those.

The bottomless pit toy abyss.

 Our most recent arrangement of the playroom ended up with WHM's workbench dangerously close to one of the vents, and I say, "dangerously" because the workbench had gazillions of little nuts and bolts that could and would go right down through the grates and into the HVAC system.  I knew I needed to somehow cover the grate.  (This hadn't been a problem in the past because Little People can't exactly fit down the vent.  But tiny workbench parts and Barbie shoes and Little People accessories?  Ohhhh, they can fit.)

I found the solution in my kitchen.

I took some cheesecloth and folded it over so that it was doubled up.  I cut it to an inch or so bigger than size of the opening.  Then I lifted up the grate, set the cheesecloth in, and then put the grate back in to hold the cheesecloth in place.

Gorgeous, eh?

Plenty of extra on the outside of the opening, to allow for the depth of the grate.
Pro Tip:  Make sure the vent is OPEN when you put it back in.  The first time I did it, the cheesecloth provided just enough resistance to push the grates shut, which I didn't intend.  I ended up actually putting my hand on the dial to keep the grates open.  Anyway, since having the grates open makes the whole mechanism a little deeper, that's why you need the extra inch of cheesecloth compared to the vent opening.

The end result is that the cheesecloth is open enough to not affect airflow, but still acts as the perfect toy catcher.

Best of all, it cost me nothing to do and saved us who knows how much on "stuff in the vents" repairs!

The final result!


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