One of the biggest design challenges I face as a mother of two young children is clutter; more specifically toys, books, diapers, art supplies, DVDs, and every electronic gadget imaginable. I remember in the months after my first daughter was born thinking that our living room was slowly succumbing to bright plastic overlords, objects that got progressively bigger, louder, and oops! Mommy accidentally took a hammer to that one!
It has only become worse with two kids, and now every night as we corral the kids to bed, every corner of our living room looks like this:
You have no idea how hard it was for me to take that picture and share it on the Internet. I just can’t stand messes like this. They crawl into my brain and block all reasonable thinking. Which I guess means I’m walking around all day thinking irrationally. This explains so much! Can you hold on a second while I go give my husband the good news? If he’d just keep the living room clean, we wouldn’t need couple’s therapy!
Every night we tidy up the mess, and this includes having our oldest child take everything down to her room that doesn’t fit inside her designated living room space, a mid-century console I bought at a local antique store for a little over a hundred bucks:
This is her space: the room inside the door and all three drawers. If it doesn’t fit inside this area, at the end of the day it has to go back to her room.
We store her DVDs inside the door:
And the drawers are used for miscellaneous objects and art supplies:
About once a month we have to sit down and reorganize everything, because she’s six years old and likes to shove things into the drawer more than she knows how to place them gently and in an orderly fashion. But this solved her clutter issue instantly.
As far as the clutter surrounding our eleven-month-old, we’re still in the process of figuring this one out. I use a large decorative bowl to organize her diapers and wipes, something we can stash onto a shelf for easy access:
Everything else fits into a wooden basket that we keep by the fireplace or is transferred back to her room for the night:
No, the basket doesn’t hide the ORANGE! and GREEN! and PURPLE! of her toys, but I like the fact that when you walk into this room you know that kids live here, that this place is lived in. And then I get to enjoy the rational part of the brain for the rest of the evening.