A typical play scene in my living room. Clean laundry piled up on chairs and toys everywhere.
When I was pregnant with my first, I remember thinking I was going to be that mom who had her shit together. My house would be clean and tidy and people would gasp in awe of how clean my home was when they would come over. If I could go back and tell myself something then, I would say, “BAHAHAHAHAHAHA”! And then once the laughter stopped, I would say “Don’t let those social media highlight reels make you feel like you are failing.”
Despite what people’s Instagram accounts may tell you, most of us moms will have mess in their homes a good portion of the time. It’s unavoidable. I used to drive myself nuts trying to keep my house looking perfect. Why? Who was I trying to impress? Admittedly, part of it is my own doing. I do find a calmness to a clutter free and organized home. Now with three of them, the mess is more to manage. So how to find the balance became the question. How can I have some order to my home without feeling a constant state of anxiousness.
there are often random diaper boxes found here and there in our house
I want my kids to feel free to play and have fun. Creativity can often be a bit messy.
My five tips for tackling real life mess are….
- Eliminate some things. I make it a habit to go through our toys about every month. I get rid of anything broken or unnecessary (we don’t need to keep all toys from Happy Meals and birthday party goody bags). There will also be things they no longer play with or have outgrown and those items I put aside for donation.
- Keep some things packed away. I keep a big storage bin of toys out in our garage. When I see there are certain toys they haven’t been playing with for a while, I will store it away and rotate a different toy in. Something they haven’t played with in a while is always fun and exciting to see again.
- Find pretty and practical storage solutions. I’m a big basket guy. Any kind of basket, crate, or tray that can contain mess and add an element of design to my home is a good thing. Having spots to easily toss all the toys and books into makes life simple. Half the battle is having a place for everything to go.
- Have practical furniture that can double as storage. We bought our coffee table from IKEA when I was pregnant with Madelyn. We bought it for $75 at a midnight madness sale. This thing has been used, abused, and is getting a bit beaten up. The exact reason we bought it! What sold us on it was the six compartments it had in it that was perfect for storage boxes to hide everything from remotes to kids stuff.
- Let it go! I’ve had to learn to change my expectation of what my home should look like. I would say in the grand scheme of things, it is clean (as I am still constantly scrubbing and washing) and fairly tidy. The thing is, when you have 5 people living in a home, and three of them are under the age of 5, things will get messy. When I get that overwhelmed feeling, I try to take a breath, remember they will only be little once, and tackle one mess at a time. And sometimes I just plop myself on the floor, right in the middle of the mess, and take time to play instead.
Oversized baskets like this one are perfect for bigger toys.
In our coffee table we store books, colouring books, crayons, and small toys. In one of the grey cloth baskets I also have large, labeled, ziplock bags that I keep little collections of toys like their Fisher Price Little People.
This stunning basket is from local line Pink River Co. A great place to stash cords, chargers, or other things you want hidden and out of reach of little hands.
A friend of mine bought me this 3 Sprouts storage bin as a baby gift. Great gift!
I turned this little wooden crate on it’s side to work like a mini book shelf.
I currently have this tray in the middle of my kitchen table. I have it stocked with markers, crayons, pretty paper, stickers, glue, and washi tape. Madelyn loves to sit, colour, and craft. A great activity for when I’m cooking dinner.
I keep a basket with rolled up blankets in it year round. For movie nights in the Winter and for late nights outside by the fire in the Summer.