my Sometimes I look back to when my daughter was little more than 6 months old and all of her toys fitted into a nappy box we kept behind the sofa. Now just over a year on it feels like I am drowning in clutter. Who knew something so small would take up so much space?!
Here are my 5 steps on how to stop the clutter from taking over...
1) Storage! - Now I know what you're thinking, this is an obvious one. But I see so often that people who have storage and shelving specifically for their children's belongings but it doesn't go with any of their other furniture and ends up sticking out like a sore thumb.
An example of this is at a friend of mines. She purchased clear plastic bins for all of her sons toys and lined them against a wall in her lounge. Because the boxes were transparent l instead of hiding the clutter it showed it all off and created the opposite effect of what she wanted.
What we have done is purchase furniture with built in storage that fits with our current decor. I really love that rustic/shabby chic look, so I've gone for small wicker baskets and crates. For larger items we have a chest which I painted white and fits snugly into a corner so that it doesn't take up too much room.
(I would also like to add that storage really does not have to be expensive. Our coffee table was bought at an auction for £5! We added in the ply board underneath ourselves and bought the crates for £5 each! My mum bought the unit with the wicker baskets from a recycling furniture store at our local dump for £20. The actual product retails online for £299.00! So ensure you do shop around to find something that's right for you!)
2) Less is More! - Now I'm not going to lie, we struggle with this one. As my daughter is the first grandchild in both families she gets spoilt rotten by everyone. So it can be hard to know what to throw away and what to keep without offending people. But try to keep in mind; 1)What do they actually play with? And, 2) What have they outgrown?
For example my daughter had a push along, musical walker that she was using earlier this year before she could walk. Now that's she's practically running around, even though she could still use the buttons for music it wasn't fit for purpose anymore so it was time for it to go.
(Remember that you don't necessarily have to throw things away. You can always sell them on Gumtree/EBay. Or if you are planning to have more children and have the space elsewhere in your home, you can store them for later.)
3) Toy Rotation! - If you're finding it really difficult to part with any of you're little ones things, a great way to minimise clutter is Toy Rotation. This is where your child has access to a select few toys, with the rest in storage. (Or elsewhere in you're house) And then after a period of time you change or 'rotate' them over. This is such an effective way not only to save space and reduce mess, but also to keep your child interested in their toys and not let them get overwhelmed by too much choice.
In our home we are lucky enough to have a spare bedroom which, for the moment, we use as a playroom. This is where we keep the majority of our daughters larger items and duplicates/similar toys that she may already have downstairs.
Personally I find that children's books are another big culprit for taking up space in our house. To save our Lounge from looking like a children's library we have limited the books we have downstairs to one shelf on our bookcase with the remainder in her playroom or bedroom, rotating as often as necessary.
4) Don't Over Organise It! - Okay you've got you're storage at the ready. You've purged your child's toys down to the bare essentials and you're ready to go! But now you're on a roll and you're feeling that temptation to strategically organise all of the toys! STOP! This will only end in tears... Your tears!
As my daughter is under 2 years old she hasn't fully grasped that some things go together. (Although this is something we are working on!) It would be pointless for me to organise everything into categorised bins only to find 5 minutes later it all be left in the middle of the floor in a jumbled heap anyway. (With ME having to put it all back correctly at the end of the day!)
Of course if you're children are older and able to identify differences (Or if you feel that is something you would be able to maintain) then that may work well for you. However for me, i like having easily access bins which me and my daughter can quickly dump things into at the end of the day, without the hassle of pairing and sorting before bed.
5) 5 Minute Tidy Up! - If after following the other 4 steps you're evening clean up is more than 5 minutes, you've missed a step! Go back and start again! Honestly; as long as you have a select group of toys with the correct storage to fit them all and aren't trying to keep your books in A-Z order, you're clean up should not take more than 5 minutes.
My fiance and I take it in turns to put our daughter to bed. (Providing he is home form work early.) And while one is tucking her in, the other will swoop round the room. Bed time for us is at 7pm and it really is as quick as 5 -10 minutes. So by the time whichever of us who's turn it is returns downstairs there's usually nothing to do other than sit and enjoy our evening together.
So there were my 5 steps on how to stop Kids Clutter from taking over your house! I thoroughly hoped you enjoyed reading. Please feel free to share with me how you stop you're toy invasion from spreading! I'm always looking for ways to improve! Please feel free to ask any questions on how to reduce clutter or keep you're home organised and tidy. (I have recently posted about me weekly cleaning schedule to give a more rounded overview of how I tackle my housework, so if you're interested please go and check that out!)
Day of Knights