Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Kid-friendly tips for Organizing & Decorating your Home

Lately I've been thinking of all the ways I've incorporated kid friendly decor and organization into our home.  I've also been thinking about what has worked and what hasn't worked for us in the past, and what new solutions I can add to make things easier.  In years past I would decorate our home however I wanted only to get discouraged when I could never keep things picked up or organized.  I was trying to create a home that was completely unrealistic to live in and maintain, and guess what, no one is comfortable in a house like that!  At the same time no one is comfortable in a house that is in constant dissaray either, so finding a balance is crucial! My goal with our farmhouse is to create a home in which my family can thrive, so designing rooms that work for all of us is so important!

I think the first and most important step is to evaluate everything you have and decide what you can let go of.  This goes for toys, clothes, everything! It's really difficult to decorate and organize when you have way too much stuff!  I thought my house was pretty simple & organized until I began reading the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.  Seriously, this book is life changing!  She teaches you how to evaluate your belongings and determine what items you should keep based on whether or not they "spark joy" and I'm telling you I've gotten rid of so much stuff that I would have otherwise kept, and it is so freeing!  I could go on and on, but I'll save that for another post because I'm still working my way through the book!  But basically you need to get rid of clutter (including excess toys) before you can decorate and organize your home in a way that will truly make you happy and content!

Once you have rid your home of unnecessary clutter, you can begin to think about how you and your family use your home.  For us, our children are still small, 7 and 3, so we have our fair share of toys, arts & crafts supplies, and more!  I read somewhere a couple of years ago that you should keep your children's toys in one location, out of their bedrooms, but that just doesn't work for us, I've tried it. I know some moms who go that route and it works great for them, so it just depends! My kids really enjoy spending time in their rooms. It's their own little get away and what fun would that be without a few toys at their ages.  

I have no issues with our children getting to sleep at night due to toys in their rooms, if we did, I may re-think this.  I will say that the number of toys kept in their rooms are limited which is very helpful when it comes time for clean up.  I love these toy organizers and fun bins from Target.  They are super cute and make it easy for my little one to put away his toys all on his own.

 We are a crafty family so we are constantly doing projects with glitter, paper, paint, etc. I decided we would benefit more from having a separate space designated only for arts and crafts rather than toys. 

We once used this room as our home office.  We quickly realized that we didn't need a room this size solely for an office, so we added a little more function in the form of an art room!  The top shelves of the bookcases hold our office essentials, and the lower shelves hold all of our children's arts and crafts supplies.  My roll top desk is still in here as well, but now it's on the opposite wall not pictured here.

Now I'm able to organize all of our supplies and have a space for our children to create to their hearts content without having to worry about toys thrown in the mix or paint smeared on their quilts (yes that has happened!) If you can't give up an entire room to create an art room you can designate a corner in your living room or even your kitchen. Again it's whatever works best for you! 

Another rule I break is the "no toys in the living room" rule!  Again this is something that just doesn't work for us.  Years ago I applied this rule only to get frustrated when toys were thrown everywhere in the living room and I had to carry them all to a different room when it was time to clean up.  So silly. 

 My children love to play in the living room especially in the evenings because that's where my husband and I hang out, so I'm not going to discourage them from having toys in there!  Instead I've implemented toy storage that works with my decor! Cabinets,  storage ottomans, bins and big baskets in styles and colors you love are all great ways to do this!

 You don't have to choose kid themed storage for toys if you want to keep them in your living areas.  You can choose storage that compliments your decor.  I love these fabric bins I found at Target a while back.  I have two of them in our living room and both hold toys.  I also like to conceal toys in cabinets and drawers.  Storage ottomans are great too.  If you are short on space consider a giant storage ottoman in place of a coffee table to maximize function in your space.

My children love books!  We love to read bedtime stories together, so each of my children have a collection of their favorite books in their bedrooms.  My daughter is now a wonderful reader, so she enjoys lying on her bed and reading all on her own! 

 We also keep children's books in our living room. The books they share are kept in there, and we like to read those together in the mornings on the couch.  Think of your book collections as decor for your home.  You can arrange them on a shelf or place them in a crate or basket for a cute look.  I like to keep the books we are currently reading right on top of our coffee table.

 I applied the KonMari de-cluttering method to our book collection and was able to weed out all the books that we no longer read, or baby books as my daughter called them!  Now that we only have books in our home that we love and will actually read, our shelves are less cluttered and we read more often!

Another topic I want to touch on is clothing.  Kid's clothing is one of those things that can quickly get out of hand, especially with how quickly our kid's grow and change sizes!  I try to go through my children's clothing with each new season and donate the clothes that no longer fit them.  This did help me keep things under control to a point, but I still didn't have a handle on keeping their clothing organized, especially the clothes they keep in their dressers.  My daughter is now 7, so she is plenty old enough and actually wants to put away her own laundry, but her drawers were such a mess that there was no way I could expect her to put anything away! I didn't even know where to put anything!  I knew this had to change! 

 As with everything else, de-cluttering was a must! Once that was complete it was time to put everything back.  Marie Kondo teaches folding techniques in her book that make it so much easier to store your clothing, and it applies to kid's clothing as well!  I began my KonMari journey with my own clothes first, and after seeing my newly organized drawers my daughter was eager to do hers as well (crazy I know!) She helped out through the entire process of de-cluttering and organizing her clothes.  I think because she was such a big part of the process she has a strong desire to keep her things neat!  It has been about a month since we finished and I'm so happy to say her dresser drawers are as neat and tidy as they were the day we organized them, and she maintains her clothing storage all on her own now!  I place her clean laundry on her bed, and she puts everything away! Not only is her room becoming much easier to care for and maintain, but she is also learning valuable life skills that will stay with her.  It's a beautiful thing! ;)

Once your space is de-cluttered and organized you can focus on decorating! It's so much easier to decorate a space when you are not working around a bunch of junk in the way! It's important to consider kid-friendly options for decorating when you have children in your home!  Luckily for me I've embraced the farmhouse style of decorating and I'm in love!  The more distressed the better for me so that certainly works well when you have kids around. If my kids put a ding in my furniture it usually just adds to the character. 

 My couch is neutral and I can easily remove the covers and toss them in the washer.  As much as I love the look of a white slip covered couch and as much as other moms swear they are great when you have kids because you can bleach them and what not, I still just can't do it.  I don't have time to wash my couch cushions every week and believe me that's what it would take around here to keep them looking nice.  

I love throw pillows, probably way too much! I'm slowly adding pillow covers to my collection so I can easily remove and wash them when I need to.  I love jute rugs although they are not the best choice in my opinion when you have crawling babies because they are not the softest ever, but now that my kiddos are a little older they are perfect! They hide dirt and stains like you wouldn't believe! 

 As for bedding I chose quilts, even on our own bed.  They are wonderful because the more you wash a good quality quilt, the better they get, and that's definitely a plus when you have kiddos!

 Now am I sharing all of these things to lead you to believe that by implementing these systems my house is totally tidy all the time? Absolutely not! Just ask anyone who visits regularly.  Our home is lived in and my kids make messes, lots of them, but I will say that by de-cluttering and having organizing systems in place my kids can quickly and easily clean up on their own when it's time which makes me one happy mama! 

 I suppose I'll go ahead and wrap up this long post!  Thanks so much for reading along! I hope you found some helpful tips and inspiration along the way!

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Have a BLESSED day!

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