Ok, so our house isn’t always “clean,” but I was told once that your house should never be more than 15 minutes away from being able to host company. I like this tip because it allows for a little bit of manageable clutter.
Have a designated play area. We have a long, skinny living room, and I knew the moment we bought the house that I would be breaking up the room into 3 distinct sections, with the intent of having a chic place for my kids to play without having a full-on play room. This is the section where our teepee is and a few, select toys. Some times toys end up in the kitchen or on the couch, but the majority of them stay in the play area, which makes clean up a lot quicker and easier. Also, the way we have positions our couches to create distinctive “areas” helps to hide the appearance of all the kids’ toys if they do happen to be left out by the time guests arrive.
Toy rotation. There is simply no reason your child needs every single toy they’ve ever been given at their disposal. This is why I hate play rooms. Too many toys are overwhelming, difficult to contain, and impossible to clean up. Every few months I break up the kids’ toys into 4 categories: toys that we keep downstairs, toys that belong in our room, toys that will go into the basement for awhile, and toys we no long play with. Anything that is loud or extra stimulating we keep downstairs, that way if one kid is napping while the other is awake, the toys won’t disturb the other’s sleep. The quieter toys go upstairs for quiet time or bed time snuggles. It is important to me that we only have the same amount of toys as we do storage space. Granted, our toy cart appears to be overflowing some times, but I don’t want their to be multiples piles of stuff cluttering the space. During each season, we sort through the toys that don’t get played with and donate them. Whatever is left gets put in the basement until the next season, where we will switch out the basement toys with whatever toys are upstairs. This keeps their toys in better shape longer (since they aren’t being played with EVERY day), prevents clutter, and keeps old toys feeling fresh, new, and nostalgic.
Keep adult clutter in check. We pretty much have to do this anyway if J and I don’t want our own stuff being handled by tots. Plus, Cora is notorious for putting everything in her mouth (surprisingly not a problem we ever had with Sophie). Not only is it a matter of safety for us to keep our own clutter in check, but it also helps with appearances. There are some things I just don’t want in my bedroom: stationary, extra phone charger, meditation books, etc. I have my own chic little box to put things in that I keep downstairs, so that these things are still easily accessible without being a hazard. I got J a vintage looking chest to keep his coupons and stationary in too. They look decorative while also being functional, and containing clutter.
Another tip I think is helpful… I like having neutral colored containers, even for the kids’ toys. As you know, children’s toys are typically brightly colored eye-sores, so having neutral bins to put them in helps the space to feel more soothing and like a shared place for all members of the family, rather than a daycare center. We have purple and turquoise bins in the babies rooms, but downstairs I prefer a more consistent look when it comes to storage.
What do you do to contain daily messes and keep your house looking sharp?