Life with kids can be messy, very messy. Even when you do get a chance to clean up a space properly, it often ends up messy again very soon after and parents often wonder why they even bothered in the first place.
The key for how to how to reduce mess in the home when you have kids is to have systems in place that everyone understands and to get the children involved in the process of keeping your home looking nice so that it’s a place that you can all enjoy together.
Children need to learn to help look after their own belongings and this should ideally be taught from an early age. There are lots of age-appropriate tasks that children can do and often they enjoy getting involved. Parents shouldn’t have to constantly pick up after their kids and keep putting things away in the right place. The family needs to work together as a team. Let’s have a look at some ways to make this easier!
Children from a young age should be in charge of putting away their toys when they’re done playing (or when you say it’s time to do so!). The parents are responsible for making sure that there’s adequate storage available to make this as easy as possible for the kids. Make sure the storage boxes and shelves are within reach and easy to access safely. Label the boxes with pictures or words or have boxes of different colours to make it easy for your children to remember what goes where. Keep putting things back in the same places – if everything has a designated place, a home, then it’s much easier to tidy things away properly.
If you can, try to choose toy storage that fits in with the style you have for the rest of your home – especially for the rooms that are not the children’s rooms. Opt for baskets and stylish boxes that tidy away nicely so that you can enjoy a more grown-up looking home once the kids are in bed.
From the age when kids start nursery or school, there’s suddenly a lot more daily stuff to deal with. School bags, book bags, PE bags, lunch bags, rain clothes, and wellies for preschool… You need a place for these things so that they don’t end up strewn across your home. The more kids you have, the more stuff to store too. Hooks can work well for some families, but we have hooks for the kids’ coats, and they quickly become a mess. I wanted somethings with a tidier look for our hallway.
Meet the Colonial White Storage Box from VonHaus. It’s a very versatile piece of furniture – it can be used as a toy box, a sofa table, for storage in the bedroom or as a storage box in the hallway to mention a few ideas. It would work in any room of the house!
We have it set up in our hallway as a place for the kids to put all their school bags. The system is that we come home from school, the kids head straight into the kitchen with their bags and take out their water bottles, empty their lunch bags (and pop the lunchboxes and bottles in the sink) and remove any homework or other paperwork from their bags. Once emptied, the empty lunch bags go back in their backpacks and the kids put their bags in the storage chest in the hallway and close the lids. Then we don’t see the bags until the next school day when it’s time for the kids to pack their lunchboxes into their lunch bags – then they retrieve their bags from the storage chest.
This system works so well for us and, now that we have this storage box, there’s no visual mess from the school bags anymore at all. The box is very spacious and can hold lots of bags – more than enough for three kids.
The VonHaus colonial storage box is stylish and practical. It has a traditional style but the crisp white colour makes it work well in our modern home too. It’s a sturdy storage box with a water-resistant paint finish that makes it suitable for families with children as it can be wiped clean easily. The storage trunk features a modern three-hinge mechanism designed for safety – perfect for young children. The central hinge locks in the open position to hold the lid open while you’re putting things away or getting things out. You can also use the closed storage box as a seat which is handy in the hallway for putting shoes on or waiting for siblings!
Clothes can cause a lot of mess in a family home. Dirty clothes that are not put in the hamper, clean clothes that are not put away, clothes that have been tried on and then chucked on the floor for some reason… Dealing with all the washing is a big enough job on its own in a family so do make sure your children help out with the rest.
We have a laundry system that works well and saves me lots of time while teaching my children important life skills. When I take the clean washing upstairs to fold and put away, I pour it all onto our large bed, then quickly find all the items that belong to my oldest two and put them back in the washing bag for them to deal with. They sort it, fold it and put it away in their own drawers that have drawer dividers in them to help keep them as tidy as possible.
The kids know to put all their dirty washing in the laundry hamper in the bathroom and have each been given a place for clothes that they have worn but will wear again before washing. The two bigger kids have a box each in their room for this and my youngest has a storage pod in the bathroom. Everything has a place and this works well. Ensuring you go through each child’s clothes (with them) to see what’s been outgrown or is no longer loved or used helps keep the amount of clothes for each person down too – less stuff, less mess.
This article is not about achieving a perfect family home. I don’t think they exist. All families are different and need to find solutions and systems that work well for them. My goal is to make life simple, to have a home that we all enjoy and all help look after. I think it’s very important to teach children that looking after a home is a job that needs to be shared. Teaching children to take responsibility for their own things will help you and them now and give them very useful life skills for the future too.
Collaboration. Features a gifted sample from VonHaus.
This blog is edited by a mid-30s mum with over 15 years of professional childcare experience. Now 10 years into motherhood and enthusiastic about finding great products and helpful solutions for busy families to make life more fun and easier too.
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