Children don’t really require a lot of stuff. Love, food, shelter, clothing — their demands are actually quite basic if you think about it. Then along come the crayons, and suddenly we’re faced with an endless quantity of preciousness we could never (should never?) discard. However, you can handle the seemingly endless stream of child mess which follows that first-ever smile. Here are a few strategies, illustrated by rooms that prove kid stuff needn’t carry over.
Knapp Interiors, Inc..
Chaos and Children
A few years back I was hired to help a young family redesign their living space. At least that is how it started. What started as a desire to have a welcoming and useful room finished with facing the demons down of parental guilt on what to discard.
The room itself was truly not the problem. In every corner of the spacious, amazing home, their kids had taken over. Indeed, little beings appear to leave the biggest marks.
Adding to the chaos, seemingly every surface was covered in photos of these gorgeous boys and their cavalcade of creativity.
By contrast, this chamber demonstrates how new and contemporary children’s artwork can be if it’s displayed in a thoughtful manner.
Natasha Barrault Design
As a designer I have learned that there’s generally a reason someone needs a brand new, new space that goes beyond ditching the colours or furniture. For families with young kids, there’s usually an unmistakable urge to escape the child litter overtaking them.
This picture demonstrates how beautiful storage may be — in theory. The truth is that however many baskets we purchase, they generally wind up overflowing with muddy shoes, lost schoolwork and piles of kids’ stuff. In several cases obtaining a handle on child clutter adds a sense of calm to a previously chaotic space.
More Baskets Are Not the Answer
Believe me, I know it’s not as Straightforward as a visit to the Container Store. In fact, you can really buy toomany baskets! I have had to nix the influx of baskets to many a house. If you have it, you’ll fill it, even when you should really be downsizing clutter.
The practice of feng shui teaches that at the world of energy, like attracts like. So the difficult reality is that unless you keep the rest of your dwelling slightly clutter free (the operative word is “somewhat”), your kids won’t learn to take care of their particular things efficiently.
The Way Organizing Helps Your Child
There are countless reasons child clutter gets out of hands, but here’s the deal: Parents set the platform for their kids’ future habits every day. Among the greatest contributors to child clutter is the tsunami of child creativity that flows in from college and play time.
Toys will be the other culprit. As a single mother raising my daughter in a little studio flat, I discovered early on that there was just so much I could feasibly keep earlier I had no space for my clothing. My situation dictated how organized I needed to be. I embraced the expression, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
Children are overwhelmed by too much stimulation — verbal, physical or visual. In a house where a child is bombarded with toys, DVDs, electronics, art supplies etc., they get emotionally exhausted.
When a play place is organized, like the beautiful room in this photo, kids are free to pick and choose what to socialize with, and their play is almost always more focused and pleasurable.
Equipped with everything they have all around the place, nothing is enjoyable for them anymore. Children are extremely sensitive and crave a safe place in which to unwind. If the “playroom” becomes the entire home, there’s no longer a silent space where any household member can recharge.
Flat 46 for the House
And here’s where it gets frightening — kids are typically in college for 12 years. Each day they produce five or more things — about the very low end. Between drawings and artwork projects and worksheets and random scribbles, a week’s worth of output could fill a medium-size box. There are just four weeks in a month. You do the math.
As parents we’re awed by our child’s first self-portrait. All of us love the way kids scrawl their names and first sentences. Those efforts are important and special in every way, but not every piece of paper is important and special. You have to learn how to discern.
Start by Getting a Handle on Artistic Clutter
Children are actually much better at letting go than adults are. We’re the ones who join feelings to what they produce. They make for the pleasure of this. They do this, and it’s done!
Enlisting your child in the method helps instruct her or him crucial decision-making abilities and makes it possible to cope with any misplaced guilt you may have about not saving every shred of paper. Here are a few tried and true tips for keeping artistic kid litter in check.
To keep artwork from being plastered to every surface, give kids a place to hang it, like the framed chicken wire board exhibited here. Each week they could curate their own exhibit in that space but nowhere else. Large corkboards, one facet of the refrigerator and magnet boards are good ideas. Ensure that you admit their artwork, reveal others and also make it a big deal so they’ll enjoy putting pieces up to their own exhibits.At the conclusion of every week, go through each of the artwork, schoolwork and arbitrary creative works and ask them three things they believe their best and want to keep. Recycle the remainder. In this manner they will not be unhappily surprised to find out their own work at the bin once they know that they, in actuality, made that selection. Place their absolute best choices into an accordion folder weekly. In case you have more than one child, every child receives a folder. At the conclusion of every month, go through the folder together and pick the three very best bits. Place each month’s selections into a large Rubbermaid closable bin stored in a closet or the garage. Make certain it’s watertight! At the conclusion of every year (generally during the college vacations works best), revisit the bin and see if they are still in love with everything they have chosen to keep. It is possible to provide ideas about your favorites; select a couple of things to send to relatives, and the stack will get whittled down much further.To make the supercute screen shown here, swap artwork in and outside as the yearly process unfolds. Year after year continue to combine, with the understanding that the “very best” cannot ever outgrow that Rubbermaid bin. My own battered bin is stuffed full of 13 years of my daughter’s output, which we still revisit for laughs and memories.Soon I’ll be speaking about powerful ways to reduce the influx of toys and other objects out of well-meaning family and friends — it’s a tightrope that you are able to manage with gentle requests.