Your home is your haven. A place to recharge and refresh, connect and inspire. A place of beauty and ritual. And then come kids. And with them all the things: art, toys, and clothes galore. Broken bits that have some unknown sentimental value. Slime and sand and clay and building supplies. Books, bottles, and blankets. These are just some of the things that seem to multiply in the night once kids enter the picture.
As a mom, I value creativity and play in our home environment, welcoming any chance to build, create, and have fun. As a work from home creative, I also know I do my best work in a visually calm and organized space. Finding that balance has been a series of trial and error—one that’s included baskets, bins, systems, and figuring out just what works for our family and space.
Below are a few of my go-to strategies that help keep our family and home mostly balanced between creativity and calm:
After yet another basket and bin purchase, I started to re-evaluate our system. We had THINGS to keep us organized, but not strategies that were clear and involved everyone in the house being on the same page. For me, the following three shifts have been a game changer:
Offer easy solutions to make tidying self-sufficient and age-appropriate.
I’m a big believer in enabling my child to be self-sufficient in life. For play, it was equally important that she be involved in the setup and cleanup. As you can imagine, this looks quite different at age 7 as it did at age 3, but with the right rules and tools, every age child can help in the tidying up process. Some constants have been to:
Binge + purge quarterly.
The purge is the key to keeping on top of clutter. The amount of stuff that comes into your home after kids is UNBELIEVABLE. I binge quarterly, moving most items to the garage to hold, out of sight, for 3 – 4 months. If no one has missed the article in that amount of time, I then donate it, discard it, or resell it, moving it on to its new home. This quarterly cadence helps me to stay on top of the ever-growing mound of art, schoolwork, and things that come into our space daily, helping it to never get too far out of hand.
Engage your child in the WHY of keeping the space clean.
For me, having a clutter-free home is key to creating a calm environment. I’ve noticed the same in my daughter, watching as she engages in deep play and creativity better in a tidy space than surrounded by clutter. I began to talk to her about WHY we stay organized and tidy in our space, helping her to notice how she feels, and motivating her to help in the process and keep her own spaces pretty clean for a child.
These shifts have helped me to create a rhythm in the chaos that is our home. They’ve allowed us easy access when we want to play, make, build, and live, while also keeping the organized calm that we so value in our environment. On any given day, our mess is out of control across the board, but I’ve found just having these few simple tweaks in my approach to parenting and tidying up has made all the difference in keeping the balance just right for our little family.
Tell me, what are the best tips you’ve found in winning the battle against clutter in your space?
Images by Stoffer Interiors Photography
Jill Elliott is a creative consultant, strategist, and thinker constantly seeking inspiration and balance. As a writer, artist, and founder of The Color Kind she seeks to inspire others to live creatively every day. She can often be found making art and messes alongside her 8-year-old daughter and Goldendoodle puppy.
BY Jill Elliott - April 21, 2019
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.