“Find ways to make your home decor do double duty,” says Williams. “Wicker hampers, crates and bins hold all sorts of goodies and store easily away on a bookshelf or the bottom of a coffee table when not in use.” A storage ottoman is another great double-duty item. It can hold blankets or toys while looking stylish.
Maintenance is key
Tidying up doesn’t have to be a chore for mom alone. Help is contingent on having a system that others can decipher. “Labeling is critical,” says Gutman. “Choose containers that can be labeled for items that you would like others to be able to help keep in order.” A labeled organization system means babysitters and visitors can help put items away without explanation.
The success of an organization system is also contingent upon ease of use. “I encourage design that allows the child to be as independent as possible in her play,” says Gutman. Limit children to one or two bins in the living room and help them learn to eliminate things they’re not using or no longer want. While it may seem like a lot of work to keep family spaces under control, Edwards reminds us, “If the space works functionally, you’ll naturally want to spend time there.”
Kimberly Isburg is a writer in Des Moines, Iowa, who specializes in decor and other necessities designed with children in mind.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN TODDLER MAGAZINE, SPRING ’07