I am often asked by people how I keep my house clean and tidy with three kids, a husband and animals. Well, I can tell you that it isn't clean 24/7, but I have created a process that helps keep clutter at a minimum and and allows my kids to keep their toys on all levels of the house without them spilling into all areas of the living space. I have created these place on a shoestring budget since we moved into our first place many, many years ago. With a little time, persistence, and coats of spray paint, its easy to create sustainable and simple storage options for your kids toys and other items your family enjoys.
First, I love heading to Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist to find free or super reduced items to repurpose. The side tables in this picture were purchased in Colorado when we were moving into our small duplex in 2011. We had zero funds to furnish this small place so I looked to Craigslist to find some treasures. With a few coats of spray paint, these were 'new' to us and have stayed with us for the last 10 years. I look for tables that are tall enough for baskets to go under and opt for simple lines. These pair of tables cost us $20... and I would say we got our money's worth. Another option that we spent a little bit of money on was our Ottoman. I needed it to have soft sides because... #kids. But I didn't want something that wasn't useful. So I found this Ottoman on Wayfair and invested $150 into it. It has storage inside and typically holds Legos, puzzles/games, and some times random items when company unexpectedly shows up. For now, we house extra blankets for the kids to make forts in the family room and it can double as an extended part of the sofa as well.
Next, we have a unexpected TV console. I like to mix a combo of my thrifts with items found at bigger stores like Ikea. This dresser that sits under our TV was found at a Goodwill 50% of day and we got it for $30. I have done nothing to it, it still does need to be refinished, but I love the warm honey color that brings warmth to the otherwise cool space around it. This console stores items like puzzles, games, books for homeschool, and cords/chargers. It is flanked by two Ikea shelving units that hold special to us items and on the bottom, some magnets and blocks for the kids (stored in clearance baskets from TJ Maxx).
One question you can begin to ask yourself as you design or redesign a space in your home is: What purpose do I want this space to serve?
My goal for my home is to never have people come into my home and feel uncomfortable. With soft textiles, easy to clean up baskets filled with toys, and organic décor around, I know that everything is kid friendly and easy to clean. The same goes for my kids. I want them to be able to enjoy the items in our home. Sometimes I find pictures rearranged, Lego figures among the décor, and even sticky notes with hearts and stick people. I never discourage my kids from adding to the décor that is our home. I keep the colors simple and neutral so I can add in pops of color when the season or mood strikes. And when the toy clutter becomes too much, I have a simple system that gives my kids an easy way to clean up and detox their toys.
Baskets! I am probably not the only mom who loves baskets but they contain the mess and are easy for kids to grab and put away.
The baskets I got are from Dollar Tree. Simple and cheap. But what I love about these is that I can ask my kids to take them into their room and do a quick toy detox and fill up their basket with toys they no longer want. It allows them to be empowered to decide what they want to keep and what they don't. It allows for the chaos of the toys to be kept under control and gives me a break from the 'deep clean' I used to do monthly because it was always so out of control.
Baskets on the stairs, make for a great kid catch-all. The same simple blue baskets I mentioned above. They are round with handles and fit nicely on the stairs. I add the kids items to the baskets throughout the day and at the end of the day they take them upstairs and put the items away. It keeps the small bits of clutter contained and gives them the ownership of putting away their toys at the end of the day.
My process of designing started simple. Finding colors, textiles, and patterns I loved and then incorporating items into the house on a budget over time. If you are looking for simple solutions to creating a cleaner and simpler home, I am offering Virtual Home and Pantry EDITs to help busy and overwhelmed moms create and implement simple systems to clear the clutter. Your first session is complimentary to create a plan!
And if you need a soft place to land after this crazy ride ( a.k.a. year) we've been on, I would love for you to join my in my FREE community, The Holistic Edit Community! Full of women who are committed to building a happier and healthier them, free of the shame guilt, and restrictive diets. It's all about good food, fun, and holistic health!