Organised {Chaos}

People often comment how tidy my house is considering I have three young children.

But the truth is, it’s not that my house is ALWAYS tidy {anyone who’s come round at feeding time can vouch for this} but more that I’ve put methods in place to make it EASY {or easier} to tidy. I like to think of it more of an “organised {or at least contained} chaos” kinda home.

When you have kids mess is inevitable. Toys come out, drinks get spilled and food gets EVERYWHERE. In fact almost everything is fair game when the boys want to play games such as “roads” aka get anything and everything out on the floor. Fun times.

This level of chaos can send any laid back wannabe-be perfect housewife into full meltdown mode and I’m the first to admit I’ve found it incredibly hard at times to accept. But {as with most things} a level of compromise is required. I like an organised house. The kids need to be able to play. So we make it work.

An orderly home makes me feel relaxed and in control. Subsequently chaos makes me anxious and feeling overwhelmed; making finding ways of organising {for me} a priority. But if I’m not careful I can spend a lot of my time attempting to keep some level of status quo and get a bit obsessed. So I’ve tried to find a balance between my own need for tidiness, letting the kids be kids and spending quality time with my little family rather than spending all my time cleaning up.

Our home is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. It’s not a show home or Mrs Hinch worthy but I like to think we keep it nice-enough for us. And actually since the twins came along I think it’s much more homely and welcoming.

So how do I attempt to keep on top of our own little corner of chaos? Here’s a few twintastic tips:

1 / Simplify

Keep.It.Simple. You can’t organise mess. I’m a HUGE fan of Marie Kondo {if you haven’t watched Tidying Up on Netflix or read her book do it NOW!} and even after numerous trips to the charity shop and local dump I’m still shocked by the amount of STUFF we have. I’ll do a separate post about the KonMari Method but in summary – the simpler the better. You don’t need to buy your kids hundred of toys or have everything out at once {see point 3 below}. Your shelves don’t need to be full to the brim and every inch of floor space taken up. More stuff = more to tidy and clean. What do all those home posts you like on Pinterest or in magazines have in common? They are usually relatively simple. Ditch the clutter and embrace simplicity.

2 / A place for everything and everything in it’s place

I aim for every single thing in my house to have a home. This makes it easier to tidy up and put things where they belong {as long as everyone knows where that place is!} If something doesn’t have a home it’s usually because we don’t need it. This mindset also helps curb random buys – where is that item is going to live in your home? Is it useful and/or brings you joy? If not. Ditch it.

3 / Remove ‘high stress’ objects/toys

Lego. The boys love it but clearing up a million tiny pieces drives me potty. Add to that the fact we now have a little person who likes to put everything in her mouth it has became an important issue to tackle. Attempts at getting them to tidying up or keep these tiny bricks of mischief in one place have been pretty fruitless and if it’s kept in their bedroom they’ll end up staying up late into the evening. Therefore {for now} Lego lives out of the boys’ reach as an ‘under supervision’ or ‘get out and put away’ activity. The same goes for play dough and any kind of arts and crafts. It’s just not worth the stress. Similarly if sand {for example} drives you potty don’t buy a sandpit; instead find a local park or cafe that has one. Problem solved.

4 / Think about storage

When it comes to storage {again} simplicity is key. I’m a huge fan of Ikea’s Kallax shelves {you can also get versions at B&Q and Argos} which can be fitted with boxes, shelves, doors or left open. I currently have 6 Kallax; three with four squares and three with eight and find them so useful for storing everything from toys and books to office equipment and even as a TV stand. I use pretty boxes and baskets and try not to clutter things together too much. I also use Pinterest for both storage and design inspiration.

5 / Designated rooms for toys

We try to keep the living room, our room and the spare room generally toy free {apart from a few of Penny’s things which can be easily boxed up or put to the side} and designate specific rooms for toys {the conservatory, kids’ rooms and we are lucky enough to have a playroom}. The boys can play in any room but those are the rooms the toys are kept in and if all else fails they contain the chaos keeping our ‘adult’ rooms free to relax in and basically ignore the mess/current in-progress or abandoned game {ha!}

6 / Finding a cleaning/tidying routine that works for you

I’m a huge fan of The Organised Mum Method {#TeamTOMM} designed by Gemma Bray who has created an achievable cleaning plan based on 15 minute ‘level 1 jobs’ and 30 minutes of focused cleaning 5 days a week. All of which can be downloaded for free on her website! Gemma also has a book coming out in the autumn now available for pre-order. Whatever method works for you – little and often helps keep the chaos at bay.

7 / Target dump areas

Similar to ‘high stress’ objects try to find a way of getting rid of ‘dump’ areas – the place everyone puts unread mail, shoes, bags or just random stuff. To tackle these types of items I have a basket under the stairs for the boys’ shoes which they can kick them off into; I also have a basket for my bags and have fitted hooks for the kid’s backpacks and coats which they can reach themselves. I try to keep on top of the dump area in our kitchen and by following Marie Kondo’s tidying method I find it a lot easier to either dispose of or file paperwork straightaway. I’m still working on my ‘current’ pile as I usually end up just moving it around the house instead of dealing with it.

8 / 15 minute sweep up

I spend 15 mins every evening {usually whilst the boys are winding down} putting things away, doing the final bits of washing up, sweep the floors and prep for the next day. I use a ‘bung it’ basket to collect up and re-distribute anything that doesn’t belong and try to prep a wash to put on first thing. Then when the kids are {finally} in bed I can put my comfies on, have a cuppa and relax or get some work or a project done in a tidy, uncluttered space. It also means we can start a fresh each day ready for the next round of chaos.

9 / Give your kids responsibility

Now the boys are nearly 4 I feel like they can start to take responsibility for some simple actions/chores {like put your coat and shoes away, tidying up their toys or even a bit of dusting!} and for them to have the opportunity to have responsibility for their own things – these are YOUR toys and this is YOUR playroom and therefore your responsibility to keep it tidy. It also never dawned on me that kids may need you to show them HOW to tidy. My boys now quite enjoy arranging the cushions on the sofa {!} But I also think it’s important to give them the chance to have things as they want them. You may like all the cars sorted into separate boxes but they may like them to be with the farm animals. Try to give them the opportunity to decide how they want THEIR stuff.

10 / Don’t try to be perfect

Your children won’t stay little for long and your house will one day be toy-free. I really try not to clean up whilst the kids are playing but sometimes I just can’t help myself {!} If they’re happily engrossed in something, I’ll do a quick tidy up around them just to help keep on top of things {and because I’m a crazy person who likes tidying}. Find a level of organisation you can cope with and try to accept that kids = some level of chaos. Let them play, get muddy and build dens. They’re only little once and all that.

Obviously we have times when tidying up just isn’t a priority but I also won’t apologise for trying to be house-proud. These methods help me keep my mind and our home ‘homely’. They mean a room can go from complete chaos to some level of organisation with relative ease. I don’t always go to bed with or come home to a tidy home but that’s ok 🙂 But when I do I can think clearly, ready to face what’s next to come. Until the house needs tidying again {ha!}

The one exception to all of this is if we have a play date – all rules go out the window and you just have to embrace the pandemonium! {When you know you know!}

How do you attempt to organise you’re own personal corner of chaos?

Published by Ellie Hully

Business Health & Home

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