I am thrilled to share that I was featured on The Everymom last week for a home tour and interview. I shared lots of pictures of the house and the interview questions ranged from parenting goals and challenges, our NICU story and what my design process looks like. It was such a honor to be featured and answering all those thoughtful questions really got me thinking about why we do things a certain way in our family. I talked in depth about how I designed our home to be kid and adult friendly and I thought I would do a blog post with more information on our systems.
*Big disclaimer. I talk about this in the article a lot but I feel very strongly that every family is different and what works for one family won't work for another. I love how different personalities and goals allows each family to pursue its own path and I never ever think that there is only one 'right' way to do things. So this is what works for our family with our personalities and goals but never feel bad or insecure if my goals aren't your goals or strengths. For me, I hate visual clutter. I am willing to sacrifice time and things to keep a relatively visually clean house. It may not bother you at all and I never want you to think that it should bother you just because it does me. But if it does, maybe you will find some tips below on how to organize your home so both you and your kids feel comfortable. So, onward!
*hidden toy storage in the above picture! Scroll down to see...
Kids seem to collect things. I swear toys multiply on their own around our house and I know I'm not the only one who thinks so. Last fall Luke and I both felt like we were drowning in stuff and we were staying up until 10 at night cleaning the house. We sat down, addressed pain points and came up with schedule for daily straightening and organizing. We cleaned out toys and got rid of a lot. Some toys I put up in bags in the attic and every few months I will pull those out and switch them out for the toys left in the playroom. Presto, 'new' toys! The twins totally forget about what I have boxed up and its exciting when I pull them down and switch them out. We also set up storage in our families shared spaces for the girls things so everything had a place. We have been following this plan consistently for the past 8 months and its changed our lives.
*Wren's walker and toy basket tuck away out of site easily.
Here's the short version of what we did that made the biggest difference.
- We all respect our families' shared space and work together to keep it clean. The girls bedroom and playroom are their space and we give them as much freedom as possible in those spaces. We only straighten up their bedroom and playroom once a day (if that) but all work together to keep the common spaces straight throughout the day.
- Set the girls up for success to help. Create ways so that they can easily help us organize and keep the house straight. We don't have out glass or breakables within reach of the girls reach and big pieces are furniture are bolted to the walls. We have a cream/beige sofa in a performance fabric and I keep a throw blanket folded over the seat of the sofa. Its even easier to clean a throw blanket than a slipcover!
- Create storage areas in our families' shared space for the girls things so they know where everything goes.
- Create 'stations' around downstairs for the girls different activities so they can move around throughout the day and have a new environment for playing. Puzzles are in the kitchen, crafts in the dining room and toys in the stairwell. Special toys are under the tv.
- Wren has a separate basket for her toys right next to where she plays during the day and her walker tucks under a side table when not in use. Her basket and walker shown in the above picture.
- Clean up one station at a time as they go throughout the day.
- Have a catch all basket for toys. As toys come downstairs during the week I collect them and throw them in the basket and then once a week or so as it fills up I take it to the playroom and unload it.
- The girls playroom and bedroom are their space. I try to let them have as much freedom as possible in their space for playing. We clean up this space only once a day (if that) and its right before bedtime.
Here's a few ways those guidelines play out in our house...
When we first walk in, the girls hang their jackets on the hooks right next to the doors and then drop their shoes in their basket. I have a basket for Luke and I's shoes and one where all the girls shoes go.
I showed above where Wren's toys tuck away out of sight so our living room can stay clean. The gold trunk next to the sofa houses blankets for movie snuggles and fort building.
Next to the stairwell lives the toy catch all basket where I put all the random toys that accumulate. Once a week I run them up to the playroom and unload. Its tucked next to the girls workbench from magnolia line from target and the clean wood tone disappears in the space.
The girls' table and chairs hides behind the sofa but is centrally located for crafts and dinners.
One of the girls favorite things to do is crafts and that console under the mirror is stuffed full of them. The girls will do crafts for hours and the dining table will be covered with glue, markers and stickers. The Eames chairs are plastic and clean off so easily with a baby wipe or a magic eraser.
This shelving unit in the kitchen is super functional for us. I have baskets for the girls bows and brushes, puzzles, paperwork and receipts. The covers keep the paperwork out of site but easily accessible.
With these easy organizations in place, I feel like our house is so much straighter than it was and its so much less stressful to clean it now that everything has a home. I do a quick sweep of the house before dinner and it takes about 5 minutes to put everything back in its place. We go into most dinners with a clean house and it helps my stress level tremendously. Anything that helps stress levels is a win in my book! Any other tips for me? I always love learning about other peoples systems so hopefully this was helpful to some of you!