Pieces of Lego are strewn; shoes are littered; food spilled; furniture stained. Clothing is scattered. Pens, pen lids, crayons and felt-tip pens sprinkle surfaces. Toys are disassembled; old batteries discarded; former favourite toys abandoned. Combs and hair clips accumulate in corners and on staircases; footprints mark shiny floors; scribbles, notes and doodles gather on tables, desks and chairs. Packets of biscuits are in with the fresh foods; milk is without purpose and outside the fridge; finger prints smudge cupboards, walls, doors and windows. It wasn’t always like this. Something changed. It’s the school holidays! The truth is that you may never achieve again the calm and harmony that prevailed throughout the pre-kids era, but that isn’t to say that at least a semblance of planning and regulation cannot be brought back into the home. So put a lid on the chaos, put that disaster away, and take heed of these top tips for tidying up and keeping it that way:
Gather your tubs, tins boxes and flasks. Some handy personalised labels can go a long way towards getting your home liveable again. They will serve as handy reminders of where those biscuits belong (the tin with the “BISCUITS” label on it, of course), where those toys should go (that box with the big “TINA’S TOYS” label, naturally) and where those toiletries should be kept (the tub adorned with the huge personalised label “MARK’S TOILETRIES”). Bring in some ownership and let the kids take responsibility for putting their things away. Labels will help to clarify where items should go, and leave no room for excuses!
Shoe boxes, wicker baskets
That shoe that you just tripped up on won’t be there tomorrow once you’ve created a clearly labelled, designated place for it – just make sure that the shoe box in question is next to the place where everyone sits down to take off those trainers. Keeping shoe storage beside the entrance or at the back door an easy and logical way to make sure that every takes off their shoes as they come into the house. Adding coat hooks in the hallway for bags and jackets will help keep everything in one place and is good practice for when the kids go back to school! Adopt the same right-storage-in-the-right-place tactics for clothes (a wicker laundry basket in every room!), and you’ll soon see an end to the problem of pants-on-floor.
Let’s face it, this is an uphill battle and those little mites will always find a way to upset even your best laid plans. So when guests come to visit try to attract the eye away from messy zones with a little colour here, and a little freshness there. Some flowers in the living room, a smidgeon of greenery in the hallway, a splash of natural light wherever possible; eye-catching touches around the home will distract from any mess and help keep spirits high.
There once were candles here. The scent of lavender floated down the hallway. Music lilted. Nowadays however, you will find that there is no longer time to pop on a CD, and lighting a candle isn’t the best idea with little ones around. But with the strategic placement of one or two storage solutions, plenty of personalised labels, and with a healthy dose of stubbornness and stoicism, there’s no reason your home can’t be a pleasant place to be once more, even during the school holidays!
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