Wondering how you can keep a tidy house with kids? Here are some tips.
I hate clutter and I like tidiness. However, I don’t like organization systems that require every Martha Stewart office product on the market and detailed labelling that you must read every time you put something away. I’m no expert here, but I do have small children and still manage to maintain a tidy house most days. Not every day. And not all day, mind you. But I have some systems that work for me. And they are easy and basically effortless. Because that’s all I’ve got time for.
Even expert organizers tell you that a system must be easy to maintain or it gets thrown out the window. So if you feel your house is overflowing with stuff and needs an organization jolt, this post is for you!
The first thing you need to do when you want to get organized is to get rid of stuff. I like to call this phase toss, downsize and organize. I’m not saying get rid of things you use, but random useless junk may as well be thrown out. I promise it’s much easier to maintain a clutter free home when there is less to put away at the end of every evening.
2. Up up and away
Children like keys. And wallets. Or loose change. And my driver’s license. I decided a great remedy for this was to install these racks beside the front door. Important things can hang and be kept out of children’s reach. If you have high traffic surface areas in your home accessible to small children, it’s best to create designated spaces for personal items out of their reach. Kids can learn what to touch and what not to touch, but for very appealing items I think it’s best to lead them not into temptation.
3. Baskets, baskets and more baskets.
I am a big lover of baskets. We use an Expedit desk from Ikea with lots of storage space. The baskets hold many things and, since the desk is in our main living area, prevents the whole room from looking cluttered. Each basket has a theme (important documents, electronics and plugs, baby books, toys, etc.) and it is the most organized desk I’ve ever had.
Baskets also make appearances in random locations around the house. In between two living room chairs we have a tall wicker basket full of toys. I shove that blanket on top when I want to cover the toy evidence up, but the kids know right where their toys are and happily play and put away. If there are toys remaining on the floor in the evening, it takes seconds to throw them in the basket.
4. Easy function
Whether or not something is pretty isn’t as important as whether or not it functions. We have two bedrooms upstairs and a laundry room downstairs. After dirty laundry was littered all around the top floor and halfway down the stairs – hardly making it into the laundry baskets in the laundry room – I decided to get with it. You can’t tell from the picture, but this basket is fairly tall and holds quite a bit. The children put their dirty clothes in the basket and, when full, I take it all downstairs to wash at once. It’s cute and a little circusy, so I think it blends in well with my upstairs funhouse theme yet functions well for the area. A quick sweep of the upstairs and dirty clothes can be put away in seconds.
If you have a two-story home, I recommend keeping some type of basket/container handy near the stairs. When you find something that needs to go upstairs, put it in the basket. Next time you go up carry the basket with you and put things back. Then vice-versa on the way down. Instead of traipsing up and down the stairs all day long (unless you like the exercise value) this helps to keep things near their place without cluttering surfaces.
5. Strategic placement
If your children naturally dump things in certain areas of the house, that’s where you need to put the storage. Otherwise, you’ll get some cute storage that remains empty because your kids will still dump things where they’ve always dumped things. We read books in the green chair above in my son’s room, so that toy basket works perfect for books. My daughter plays on the rug in her room during independent playtime so her toys and books are easily accessible in the toy chest in her room. Wide open spaces in living areas are great places to put baskets because kids inevitably play where there is more room.
6. Shelve it
Everyone in our home loves books. My husband and I, and the kids too. We want to foster a love of reading so it was important to us that the books are easily available for the kids. I will say that my 14 month old actually prefers taking books off the shelves to reading. Ah well, you can lead a horse to water… Here we’ve used the Expedit shelves from Ikea which are bright, airy, and have plenty of room for books. The kids will often grab books during the day and sit together reading, or bring us books to be read. Also, bookshelves can fit baskets and boxes that are great for hidden storage as well.
- You can be relatively clutter free and organized without having to create intricate systems you won’t follow through with.
- Less stuff naturally translates into more organizes spaces.
- Kids may make messes, but they needn’t stop you from having an organized home if you want one!
Tell me, what’s your best organization tip?
You are NOT lazy, disorganized, or unmotivated. The fact is, if your home feels chaotic,it’s your systems. With easy efficient systems, habits, and routines you can start to have the home (and home atmosphere) you crave without working yourself into a frenzy.
Take this quiz to see how well your home systems work then get free and easy hacks to help make your home more tidy, peaceful, and organized.
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