Keeping a tidy home when there are kids about (or even when there aren’t) might sound like an oxymoron, but it is possible. All you need is a bit of creative sideways thinking and a smidge of cooperation from fellow house members.
Or, in other words, declutter. While it’s not the most exciting of prospects, neither is never being able to find anything or having nowhere to put new stuff because old things fill every space.
Declutter in stages. You can do this either by room or by category. Do, for instance, books and magazines or newspapers one day, and toys or games the next rather than trying to do everything all at once. If you’re anything like most people, accumulated possessions will have a trail that spans several years (or even decades), and include items you’d even forgotten you had.
If the thought of throwing things away breaks you out in a cold sweat, you could consider self storage as an alternative place to keep things. Items like dining tables you only use once in a blue moon or a spare bed that’s handy but rarely used are prime examples. They take up lots of space at home, but you’d miss them if you didn’t have them.
Another way to declutter the home is to only keep there what you’re actually using. Self storage units are ideal places for seasonal storage of clothes you’re not wearing right now, and you can take the same approach for bikes or sports gear that normally clogs up the garage.
Hidden Storage, Tidy Spaces
Storage furniture is brilliant when you want small things organised and handy.
Get lift-top coffee tables or those with a shelf beneath, or occasional tables with built-in drawers or cabinet space. There are also storage footstools (great for hobby items) or vintage chests that can double as seating in a pinch. All these things fit seamlessly into living spaces and can hide things like battery chargers, remote controls or game controllers.
Children’s bedrooms can be particularly challenging. Raised beds are one solution for fitting more in while not taking up valuable floor space, or choose ottoman beds for older children.
Other ideas include placing a portable drawer stack in a closet or installing an extra hanging rail if you have a full-length wardrobe but mostly half-length clothing.
If you’re a DIY expert (or know someone who is) building drawers into a flight of stairs provides acres of hidden storage where you wouldn’t expect to find it.
Make More Floor Space
Anytime you can get something off the floor, do it. Having an expanse of open floor automatically makes rooms seem bigger and more spacious. As well as the tricks of space illusions such as choosing furnishings on legs, use shelving to replace as much free-standing storage as possible.
Replace sideboards, bookcases or display cabinets with strategic shelving. Whether you go for an industrial look or more sophisticated floating shelves is up to you, and may be mixed and matched depending on what you’re displaying and where.
When you’re looking around for shelf space ideas, don’t forget the unusual places, like around and over doorways or behind the sofa if that’s normally against a wall. Having one long, narrow shelf running behind the sofa is a handy place for reading or hobby lights, and it doesn’t get in the way at all.
Other places you can put shelves include in alcoves, under the stairs to clean up that common dumping ground, or at the end of kitchen cabinets. In the kitchen, we rarely use the end of a run of cabinets, but it’s a handy spot for a spice rack or recipe books.
The more storage you can devise, the easier it is to keep track of possessions and know where they all are. Even tiny steps like installing a key rack in a handy location can help keep things organised.