If you can keep your home free of clutter it instantly creates a more relaxed environment, and also a healthier one, because it becomes easier to clean. Here are a few tips which I try to follow to keep my home as clutter free as possible:
- When a child outgrows a piece of equipment, especially a large item like a bouncy chair or playmat, either pass it on or store it somewhere out of sight. If you are storing it, make sure that it is neatly packed and properly protected. And be honest with yourself as to whether you are really going to use it again, or whether it could benefit someone else!
- Always keep a carrier bag or box somewhere out of sight to keep things in for the charity shop or to pass on to friends. When it is full, make sure to drop it off immediately.
- Store like toys with like. If you find that you've got too many of the same thing then it's easier to see it, and then make the decision which ones to part with.
- Try and request non-clutter gifts for the children - passes to local attractions or soft play centres, a day trip out with the grandparents, clothes if they need them. My only exception is books, they don't count!
- Keep a nice basket in all the rooms where toys are played with that you can throw loose toys into at the end of the day, preferably one that can be stowed out of sight, e.g. under the bed. Go through the boxes though and rehome things regularly.
- Identify the "hot spots" in your home. These are places where clutter builds up easily. Mine are - the shelf by the front door, the stairs, the counter in the kitchen and the coffee table. Make a daily effort to keep these areas clean and put away items that are out of place.
- The most obvious tip - a place for everything and everything in its place! Find a home for everything and get in the habit of putting it away. Make decluttering part of your cleaning and tidying routine.
Recently I've taken a lot of inspiration from the Marie Kondo method of tidying and decluttering. You can read a little bit about my experiences here - The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo - and here - My Marie Kondo Approach and Sparking Joy - as well as Working out my own interpretation of the Marie Kondo method.