Emma McMenemy reveals her top tips for getting organised in the home read more
Cute kids and a tidy home, you can have it all! Who would have thought a tidy home with tiny humans is most definitely achievable. The thing is, children create mess, it’s what they do however that doesn’t mean you should spend your precious Mama time carrying out repetitive tasks throughout the day! Kids need to be kids, allow them that however following a few simple techniques can make what seems impossible rather simple. These are the tips on organisation.
Fear not fellow parents, this need not be a structured hourly timetable. By routine I mean trying to follow a simple pattern of events. We have routine in our home, not all day everyday but certainly more often than not. Our day starts with breakfast, then after a quick wipe-down I like to encourage independent play which allows time for me to have a quick whizz round the kitchen. It’s how our mornings go — it works so we do that every morning, followed by lunch, dinner and a bedtime routine. The key word here being routine! It’s one hell of a task to structure your day hour by hour with children however a collection of similar events does work. Kids need routine in their lives and the benefits on the whole family are endless.
For little people it helps establish important habits like brushing teeth, it encourages them to understand time and it gets them used to having chores. Yes, even from toddler age. For the family, it creates a bond and makes everyday activities meaningful. As a parent it’s completely natural to go through those days where the main focus is to just make it to bedtime. Those days where all our energy goes into just surviving the day. Having a structured day allows time to complete the not so fun tasks and look forward to precious time together. By all means have those tough survival mode days, however creating time to get through that to do list will free up time for the more fun activities.
Get them involved
Work with your children not against them. Involve your kids in as many household tasks as possible. For even the youngest of tots, having a little responsibility will go a long way. My almost 2-year-old is the peg distributor in our home! There was a time when I would run frantically around the house doing every chore possible whilst my newborn napped in 20 minute doses. Then as he got older, he discovered the adventures the garden had to offer and since then we work as a team. I hang the washing, he hands out the pegs. He’s a pro and he loves it! The point is, kids love to imitate. Involve them as much as possible. Alfie’s personal favourite is pressing the washing machine buttons — the anticipation is priceless! Let them observe and learn. Introduce these behaviours from a young age and I bet they stick for years to come. Oh and you’ll be surprised at how much you all actually get done!
Stylish storage is your new best friend! We’ve introduced routine and we’re doing chores as a team but still, I don’t want my home looking like a crèche! You need to start by decluttering (see below) and adding simple, stylish storage solutions. With a limited number of rooms in our home, we all spend a fair amount of time in the sitting room. It’s where I’ll work, read a book, watch TV whilst Alfie prefers to build dens, make car ramps and practice aerobics! It’s a beautiful room but it has to work: it has to be practical.
Beautiful storage such as this Laura Ashley Kubu Storage Trunk makes that possible. I love the look but more importantly I love that it offers easy access for my little one to play then tidy away his own toys (like his little Dinosaur Toy), again creating that feel of responsibility. Baskets and boxes are an easy way to add a classic, fresh feel to any room. We have a trunk filled to the brim with toys, a basket for throws and pillows which makes easy access for tandem naps and a basket for quick fixes, (which is basically wipes, wipes and more baby wipes, because accidents do happen), all whilst keeping this room a beautiful place to be.
I like to follow the ‘one in, one out’ rule! At almost 2, my toddler has gathered a fair amount of toys, to which he’ll acknowledge just a few. With his birthday around the corner, I’ll donate or pass on toys that he doesn’t play with and make way for newbies! Same with clothes, baby essentials, anything we don’t have space for. If it’s not in use, it has to go. Just you wait for the feel-good factor that comes with donating unused items! I’m also a huge fan of going with the seasons. A new season is a great time to declutter and freshen up. Don’t wait till spring. Packed away are summer throws, garden toys and all things picnic, replaced by autumn goodies. Did I mention this is my favourite season?
Now let’s face it, when the little ones go to bed your day is far from over! If you think time throughout the day is precious, let an over-exhausted mama explain how precious time is once they do go to sleep. The last thing you want to do is spend this time cleaning! I do a ten minute round-up at night (ten minute maximum!) A quick whizz around the house to make sure everything is back to its own place, no dishes in sink, washing machine loaded for the following day and a quick glimpse over what tomorrow looks like. Being organised is key. A quick run through the house whilst the kettle boils is your last thing to do before ‘you time’. Now go and relax!
We love our home because it is exactly that: A Home. A place where we all love to be. A place to have fun, make memories, relax, unwind and a place to live. And with children that need not be a chaotic mess with around-the-clock tedious tasks. It’s the most cliche conversation every parent repeats over and over however this time really does not last long. Kids are kids for such a short time. Soon Lego in the hallway and dinosaurs taking over the sofa will be a distant memory. Create a beautiful space that works for you and your family, and free up that precious time to go have fun. Go make some mess.
Now who’s ready for a cosy autumn night at home, we are! Hope these organisation tips were helpful. Thank you for reading and I hope to see you again soon. Follow Emma’s blog for more updates and tips on organisation.