Can you really have a clutter-free, tidy home with kids?
You have kids and boom overnight you’ve gone from worrying where to position your stylish new edison pendant light, to wondering where on earth you’re going to hide the latest influx of plastic tat … errr toys, I definitely mean toys!
If it wasn’t so incredibly annoying, it would almost be impressive the rate at which children can turn an impeccably tidy room into a scene from Armageddon.
To a certain extent you might have to drop your tidiness standards, just a fraction. But on the whole, I think it is possible to keep your home tidy with little ones, without ruining their fun or cringing every time you hear the familiar clatter of lego being poured on to the floor.
So, let’s crack on shall we? Here are a few tips for keeping your home tidy when you have children.
Have regular clear outs
As my son’s birthday is in August, I try to have a major toy clear out before Christmas and his birthday. Find all the toys your children neglect or have grown out of, then decide whether you want to store it (in case there’s a new edition to the family), sell it or donate it to charity. The best time to do this is when the children are at nursery or school, otherwise they will probably claim they still want absolutely everything!
Get great storage furniture
If storage furniture isn’t already your BFF, it should be! I personally love the Ikea Kallax and the Drona boxes that fit inside. With prices starting at £30 is super affordable, it’s a nice design that works well with most decor schemes and it’s easy for kids to pull the boxes out and access the toys. I promise I’m not sponsored by Ikea, I just really love their storage solutions. We have the 1 row version behind our sofa covering an ugly radiator and the double row version in the playroom.
It looks like a clutter-free adult space, but 2 of these boxes are filled with toys and board games. Sneaky, huh?
I also love Vertbaudet for kids storage and furniture in general. It’s a bit more expensive, but they have regular sales and their designs are so cute. These shelves are perfect for organising toys into groups and the boxes come with blackboard labels. There’s a huge range of colours too.
My son also has the matching toy box, which I store all his bed linen and blankets in. It also makes the perfect little perch for a little one to look at their favourite books.
No space for a book shelf? Use Ikea spice racks on the walls, they can be painted any colour and it’s such a lovely way to display books with beautifully illustrated covers too. We also use two large under the bed storage boxes for the rest of the collection.
I also love wicker and woven baskets, they are just perfect for storing bulky toys and they look pretty cool too.
Use ziplock bags
For toys with a million tiny pieces like Lego and Playmobil, use a ziplock bag to corral everything together. This also serves as damage limitation if the box or draw that the live in gets tipped up. It prevents younger children from swallowing anything they shouldn’t too.
Another great solution for quick, hassle-free tidying are these huge toy mats * that are also a handy draw string bag. My cousin recommended these to me and they are such a fantastic time saver. When your child has finished playing, all it takes is a quick pull of the string and all the toys are stored safely away for the next play sesh!
Limit how many toys can be out
I know there are days when this just isn’t possible. Having a play date? Forget it! But whenever you can and from an early age, try to instill one toy at a time policy. This is definitely one I wish I had used more consistently with my son. He’s still a bit hit and miss on remembering to tidy up.
Clearly label what belongs where
If you want your children to tidy up after themselves, make it as easy as possible for them to find where things go. Write labels on every box or use pictures if they’re not at reading age. I love these labels which are free to download and print from Teaching Mama and you can edit them too. Plus if you have children pre-school or younger there are some amazing resources.
If you’re really suffering from toy overload, store some of them in the loft or garage and rotate them every month or so. I think children get more use out of the toys this way too, as when there is too much choice it can get a bit overwhelming. If you’re anything like me and would completely forget that you put them away, set an alert on your phone to remind you to rotate.
Make tidying up fun
I’m no Mary Poppins (although I do seem to fit a lot in my handbags) but I know one surefire way to get my son to tidy up, is to make it a game. So we’ll have a race to see who can put the most away or have a dance party while we’re tidying. A reward chart works really well too.
Have a 10 minute tidy up
The 10 minute tidy up tip has been passed on from my Mum, it’s a great habit to get into. It’s pretty amazing what you can achieve in just 10 minutes once the littles are safely tucked up in bed. Set a timer on your phone and just whiz around putting everything back in it’s rightful place. When the timer goes off, it’s time to locate that cheeky glass of wine and put your feet up (well, in an ideal world anyway).
What’s your best tip for keeping your home tidy? Let me know in the comments below.
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