Let’s Find Some Beautiful Place to Get Lost. This is a quote I’m drawn to and have on a sign in my house. It conjures up visions of frolicking on tropical beaches, serene walks through a forest, vineyard picnics with lots of cheese and wine, swimming under waterfalls, but also just hanging out in my own chaotic home.
I realized at one point after my first kid was born that since I spend the majority of my time here at home, this should be my beautiful place. I can get ‘lost’ in moments of beauty right from my couch. There’s no reason to use kids as an excuse for having a cluttered, disorganized house that I wasn’t in love with, and the effort put into making it a space I enjoy has paid-back tenfold in how relaxed I am as a mom. For me anyway, my mood and stress level is often directly linked to the state of my house. Of course, my house gets messy like everyone else’s and I get overwhelmed by clutter and would really rather be on that tropical beach far away, but really the daily cleanups are much easier and much more fun in a space where everything can be quickly put back in place and the end result is a beautiful, relaxing space for both the adults and kids. So, here are my tips for a beautiful home with kids:
- Don’t compromise your style for your kids. Put things in your house that make you happy. Don’t get the ugly couch because ‘the kids will ruin it anyway.’ Do you really want to wait 18-30 years until all of your kids are out of the house before you have a space you love? Also, I’ve noticed that when you have nicer things, you tend to take better care of them and your kids learn to respect their things more as well. Stuff may get a bit dinged up, but so what? In 20 years, get another couch you love.
- Don’t give up on organization. The more organized you are, the easier it is to maintain and it also teaches your kids how to be organized. I can’t keep everything perfectly in place all the time, but I have the basic organization down and end up cycling through spaces every couple months for touch-ups.
- Only bring things home for your kids that you’ll enjoy looking at… a lot, at least while they are young. Unless you have a dedicated playroom, kid stuff will end up everywhere, so you better like looking at it. They won’t miss the loud, bright-lighted, music-making, obnoxious plastic toys if they never had them.
- Find beautiful, adult-looking storage for your kids’ toys. Ditch the plastic toy organizers, at least in the common areas, and hide toys where they will actually be hidden and camouflaged, in containers that you would put in your house even if you didn’t have kids. There are so many great options for baskets and bins out there that there’s no reason to stick with ‘kid’ containers when it comes to storage.
- Don’t be afraid to change your mind or throw things out. My house is in a constant state of change. If there’s something I’m tired of looking at, picking up, something that I don’t have a place for and don’t need, or something that’s broken, it gets tossed in the garbage or in the donation bin. I have a basket dedicated to stuff for donation that I’m constantly adding to. Don’t hold onto things you that you don’t like and don’t be afraid to change up your space when something’s not working.
If you walk in my house, you can tell right away that kids live there but you can also tell that it’s a space that’s lovingly cared for and designed. Even on my most stressful days, my house is a place I can relax in and feel good about.
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