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Don’t let Lego take over your home

A laughing child surrounded by tidily organised toys
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When you are constantly tripping over toys, battling your way through little shoes in the hallway and facing an avalanche every time you open a cupboard, it might be time to get organised. After all, a tidy house is supposedly the sign of a tidy mind.

If you have young children or untidy teenagers and you think about keeping your home tidy, the phrase ‘thankless task’ springs to mind. With the amount of toys and belongings our offspring accumulate, embracing minimalism is easier said than done. But once you get to grips with some long-term solutions, family life will run so much more smoothly.

Room by room

Hallway: Give everyone their own peg. Out-of-season coats can be stored in a wardrobe or plastic box under a bed. The same goes for boots and shoes. Anything that hasn’t been worn this season should go to the charity shop, or be stored away until a sibling grows arms long enough or feet big enough.

Lounge: Is this relaxing and comfortable or is the floor strewn with toys? One mother was so exhausted by the end of each day with her Lego-obsessed son that she swept everything into the corner with a garden rake and threw a blanket over it! This is one solution of course, but there are plenty of clever storage options on the market. Or use shoe boxes with a picture on the front of each one to show your youngsters what goes inside.

Kitchen: Covid-19 has highlighted the need to keep surfaces clean, wash your hands and sanitise. But has your kitchen become a dumping ground and a busy hub for all of family life? If there is room, put a basket for each family member somewhere, so they can dump their school bag for instance. Put away as many kitchen gadgets and utensils as possible so that you can keep surfaces clean.

Bedrooms: If you have teenagers, there are likely to be wires in every corner for every gadget imaginable, and clothes all over the floor. Not to mention the mouldy plates and cups. It’s important to make sure bedrooms are safe and just about hygienic, but it might be best to close the door on the rest. One day your teenager might emerge from their cocoon and ask where the dusters are kept.

Bathroom: Your children might be obsessed with grooming rituals, or completely oblivious to health and hygiene. There will be tubes of toothpaste oozing all over the basin and empty cans of deodorant and bottles of shampoo. Even toilet rolls don’t seem to make it to the recycling bin. To maintain some sort of order, have a towel hook for each person and an allocated shelf in the bathroom cabinet. Anything left out gets thrown away!

Longer-term solutions

You may have toys, equipment and clothes your children are not using right now, but you are saving them for a younger sibling. In this case it is worth investigating storage facilities. How much is self-storage per month? It might be less than you think – especially if you use Store and Insure rather than the insurance companies often recommended by the storage facilities.