As some of you may know, our family kicked off 2012 with a cross-country move. While I was dead set on raising my boys in sunny California, life had other plans for them, and my husband had an opportunity that simply made sense for the entire family despite being on the “wrong” coast.
My 70° and sunny bubble quickly burst when the movers arrived. Deciding what was coming to our new NYC apartment and what was heading straight into years of storage was no easy task. This life-changing event called for some serious downsizing. And while I had a 22-month old to manage during the move, I also had his enormous sleigh crib to deal with. After all the packing and purging, the last thing I wanted was to lug a massive crib cross-country to use for what, just a couple of months? The panic then set in after thinking logistics. Would the crib fit in the room? How would I get rid of it? Where would I store it? And so it was decided—my youngest would be fast-tracked into a twin bed to share a room with his 4-year-old brother.
Shared rooms are a hot topic in these parts. Pam and I are both making our kids share (although she has one up on me as she’s mixing genders). The real issue then becomes how does one mom (me!) single-handedly manage all their stuff? Keeping clean and organized is a constant battle with small children. Throw in a small space and a small closet, and well…here we are today.
After weeks of wrestling with kid clutter, I am sharing a few tried-and-true design solutions, plus a sneak peek into my boys’ new room (still a work in progress). Keeping it organized from the get-go is what gets me to the finish line of each and every hectic day here in the Big Apple. And let me just say this…This is not a designer room with three things on the wall so it looks good in a magazine. My kids have lots of stuff. My boys insist on loads of color, their own art work on the walls and Superheros splashed just about everywhere.
Note: I did have the option to sacrifice my home office space and give the boys their own rooms, but there’s something about forcing them to share everything in the hopes of them becoming very best buds that’s every mother’s dream. I figure it’s worth a shot.
1. Maximize wall space. Clearly this is the theme of the room. Truthfully, it’s just my way of keeping photos and frames out of the closet. Coming from a larger home, we had so many frames that we decided to create gallery-style collages on many of our apartment walls. I spray painted some and re-framed others in white, so the art would “pop,” and the frames would blend into the walls. Not only does it make a major design statement, I’m also proudly showcasing my children’s art collection and a few family heirlooms in the process.
2. Purge and then edit and edit again. The sole purpose of this exercise is to save my sanity. It sounds excessive, but do they really need every single stuffed animal they’ve received since they were born? Just saying…
3. Limit decorative accessories. Not everything needs to be included on the shelf or bedside table. Not only will it look cleaner, you will actually be able to keep it clean with a quick dusting or wipe down.
4. When in doubt, go up. That’s what great shelving is for. My picture ledges are working double time as excellent space-saving bookshelves.
5. Get it off the floor. This is probably one of the biggest offenders when it comes to kid room clutter. Vacuuming and keeping the dust bunnies at bay is a constant when living in a small apartment, so I like to give myself a break and clear floor space by hanging what I can when I can.
6. Keep it fluid. Have storage boxes standing by, already labeled. My clear bins are just waiting to be filled with the clothes my oldest will pass down to my youngest.
So that wraps up a sneak peek into my new apartment lifestyle. I am now more anxious than ever to finish off some of the design details in the boys’ room, and I’ll be sharing more in the coming weeks. But now we want to hear from you. We are offering our readers a giveaway you won’t want to miss in an effort to help you keep your kid space clean and clutter-free. How do you manage all of your kid clutter?
WIN IT! A $350 Target gift card plus a $150 Container Store gift card to one lucky Project Nursery reader, a $500 value!
HOW TO ENTER: To enter, simply share with us your very best tips for keeping your kid space clean and clutter-free by commenting below. For official contest rules, visit here. Contest ends Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 11:59 PM EST.