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Please tell me how you keep things organised in a smallish home, it's driving me mad!!

(21 Posts)
Jemster Tue 25-Mar-14 07:30:56

Please can you share with me how you keep things tidy & organised with 2 small children.
I'm getting pretty stressed out about living in chaos but just don't seem to be able to find effective solutions. I have ds 6 and dd 2, 3 bedrooms and one large living room, small kitchen. There is stuff everywhere and it is chaos!!

My main irritation is the table in living room. Large, rectangular solid pine, it gets used for everything. It is always covered in toys, paperwork, homework, books, babywipes, bits & pieces. There is never anywhere to sit and have a nice family meal. I would love to keep it clear but have nowhere to put all this stuff. Ds has to use the table to play withhis small toys so dd can't get them but he never tidies up and I have to rush doing it all when I'm about to put their tea on the table.

Dd's toys are all downstairs although I try to keep them tidy in a toy chest. We have a small hallway with a shoe rack that looks awful and cluttered. Kitchen cupboards are bursting at the seams and sides are always cluttered.

Last night ds had a meltdown as he couldn't find his woggle for beavers despite me telling him we must keep it safe.

I work every day until 1.00pm and spend every afternoon trying to tidy up but to no avail. It's getting me down and I'm overwhelmed and fed up.

I have cleared a load of junk at a car boot sale but still there is more!!

I would be grateful for advice and examples of how other people do it as this is no fun.

Jemster Tue 25-Mar-14 07:33:34

Oh and also arts & crafts stuff that is hardly ever used, paper cut out creations by ds strewn all over the place . Should I keep all this stuff when it is hardly ever used?

sugar4eva Tue 25-Mar-14 09:28:13

I wod buy good storage and then if you have too mu h stuff out at once rotate it for eg put some toys
Away Loft if have on or bedroom and swap over e dry few months as this means less clutter downstairs plus children
Think they have crash new toys re the craft maybe make a craft box and keep under bed upstairs then only get out when needed.
As for cupboards I have a sma ll shed next to back door with my cleaning g stuff in and tins to try to address storage. I also have those shelve things in cupboards which give double storage. The best thing I did was get a joiner to make a shelf under my sink half way up which then doubled my storage space Uzi g the dead space there , it cost £ 15. Also use below yr shelves or cupboard space using hooks for mugs . Utensils etc. I also have six stacking tins which go on counter one above other and they hold loads and look nice. Orla keily tins John Lewis.
As for table I'd make a special play line which toys can't cross near tea time so u get.mear table then a box u der table which toys go in quickly at dal time. Wd love to come and help you it's more fun doing someone else's than your own ! Go for it !

sugar4eva Tue 25-Mar-14 09:29:12

Fresh new toys not crash Sorry for terrible typing left specs upstairs !

onepieceoflollipop Tue 25-Mar-14 09:42:12

Your table sounds like ours! I only clear it off thoroughly once a week or so, or if we have visitors. I usually finds lots of paperwork that can be recycled or felt tips that are used up. The rest of the time I clear enough of it so that we/dcs can eat.
Tbh i like the dcs having a bit of craft stuff out, as they tend to use it more than if I tidied it a lot.
My tip for any sort of organising/storage is to declutter a lot. and sometimes this includes chucking/recycling stuff that you just have too much of. (look honestly at your craft stuff, for example, and give away some if you have far too much for your own use.)

TheGreatHunt Tue 25-Mar-14 09:49:30

IKEA do a storage system called trofast. You can buy small boxes with lids for about £3 each. A good way to sort stuff out. You don't have to buy the actual storage units, the boxes are stackable. I use them for Lego. Easy to tidy.

Have a "landing place" for things like paperwork. Something as simple as a bulldog clip hanging on a notice board. All paperwork is clipped to that.

Put some wall shelves up and store stuff like baby wipes, keys etc

Get some bookshelves for books etc.

Arts and crafts - we have wall mounted holders and a cuobosrd to chuck it all in. I do throw stuff away if it's a few weeks old and not a keeper. Ds doesn't notice. Other stuff goes on the wall.

I find toy chests are no good for storing. Better to have something with compartments.

Jemster Tue 25-Mar-14 17:56:05

Thank you for the replies. Sugar4eva what do you keep in the stacking tins & are they easy to open? They do look nice.

I have about 20 pots of playdough bought on offer a few years ago. Most of it is unopened. I hate the stuff and dd tries to eat it but I just can't seem to get rid of it, just in case one day it gets played with. My dd does arts & crafts while I'm at work in mornings and to be honest I like it that way! I have enough mess going on as it is.

I just wish I could see inside other people's houses to get ideas for systems & storage and organisation as I'm afraid it doesn't come naturally to me and I need help with ideas.

There is mess in every single room and as I'm either working, looking after dc's, food shopping or washing etc I just cannot get on top of it. It's not a relaxing way to live & it causes stress and arguments when people can't find things.

Logg1e Tue 25-Mar-14 19:08:49

Oh my goodness, I would love to come and sort this out. Please tell me you live near York.

CremeEggThief Tue 25-Mar-14 19:48:48

Honestly? Be as ruthless as you can, and de-clutter, de-clutter, de-clutter, before you even think of storage and systems. There are several threads on this forum (sorry, I don't know how to link from my phone) to help and motivate you. I would also suggest your older DC is old enough to play with most of his toys in his room. Good luck!

Jemster Tue 25-Mar-14 20:23:59

Logg1e unfortunately a long way from York but thanks anyway.
CremeEggThief I chuck bit and bobs out every day but it's as if the clutter grows overnight, the next day there's more c**p everywhere!
I don't think we have more toys than anyone else I know and ds does keep most in his room. I think alot of the problem is that there isn't a particular place for everything so some stuff doesn't get put away as no- one knows where it should go.
How far can you go with decluttering when you have kids? They just seem to come with so much 'stuff'.

mrselizabethdarcy Tue 25-Mar-14 20:28:29

Some great tips about storage. Am watching with interest as I am in exactly the same position.

Artandco Tue 25-Mar-14 20:31:56

Declutter everything. Literally.

Ie how many cups do you have? Think how many you actually use and donate the rest. Repeat on everything

If you hate play dough and have loads, honestly just donate to a local nursery/ school/ church.

We live in a one bed flat. X2 adults, x2 children (2 and 4). There is so much stuff out friends own that we never have. Before we get anything new we usually sort and donate something. I think they have plenty of stuff though.

Once you have done that then do get some decent storage. We have one wall which is floor to ceiling built in cupboards with doors. Inside is everything from toys in baskets, shoes on built in racks, coat hooks, spare loo roll etc. if it donest ft in there it goes

ThatBloodyWoman Tue 25-Mar-14 20:35:17

We just live in a fair bit of chaos.
We have 2 dc's in a small single bedroom, and our bedroom is barely a double.

Small home living, kids, and the current fashion of minimalism, just aren't compatible imo.

Jemster Tue 25-Mar-14 20:39:37

Thanks Artandco, is your storage built in to your flat or did you buy it? I would love to have something that would hold everything rather than various bits of furniture rammed full of stuff. I'm not really sure what it is we need. We do have a white trofast thing in ds's bedroom but I wouldn't want that in living room. Also money is tight for new storage so I might look on ebay?

sugar4eva Tue 25-Mar-14 20:55:55

The tins are good as contain a lot but take up minimal space. Fine to open. The big one you could put pasta rice etc or paperwork . We use for all lunch box snacks. Bics. Etc . But cd be used for whatever you want . It helps that they are pretty !

sugar4eva Tue 25-Mar-14 20:56:56

I have also adopted a routine from fly lady . It helps me keep on top of things. Sometimes I slip tho!

threepiecesuite Tue 25-Mar-14 20:57:31

We live in a similar sounding house to yours, op. One double lounge and small kitchen. We're not the tidiest of folk and dp has hoarder tendencies, but we tried to incorporate storage into our everyday furniture. So - bought nice narrow long sideboard, nice ornaments etc on top but chock full of toys, paperwork in drawers, catalogues, dvds, all that.
Sofa came with pouffe with lid, full of board games and laptop. Down back of sofa, 3 x large gift type bags full of craft stuff.
Cupboard under stairs used to maximum capacity. Coat hooks in for us, smaller lower coat hooks in hall for dc's coats and bags.
Plastic shallow crate of hwk and toys kept on 2 dining chairs, can't be seen when tucked under table.

Layl77 Tue 25-Mar-14 20:57:32

You can try and get storage solutions (Pinterest is good for ideas and nosing at people's homes) but ultimately when you have small kids you're not going to live in a show home unles you want your kids to be a bit bored! I couldn't send mine to their rooms to play they need to explore!

sugar4eva Tue 25-Mar-14 20:58:04

You could have a joiner do wall to ceiling storage ? To fit your size room?

Artandco Tue 25-Mar-14 21:22:32

Jem - we had it built in ( went 50/50 with landlord). So yes it's built in and wasn't cheap but has literally made it excellent here as now any floor space can be used by kids to play and not just as a dump.

Could you get a few quotes?

Def need to declutter first also though as it only works if everything can fit in and obv too much stuff won't fit

Jemster Tue 25-Mar-14 21:29:24

Thanks Art, it sounds wonderful, a great idea. We haven't really got any wall space left to have anything built!
I do accept that having dc means a home can't be like a show home but I just need it to be organised and easy to find what everyone needs. I think things have got do bad as me & dh are just always too knackered to do a big sort our. Our dd wakes up at 5.00 most days and then we are both off to work. By the time the evening comes we are good for nothing and just want sleep!

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