(Image credit: Gwyneth Paltrow's kids' playroom. Photo: The Home Edit.)
What can I say about storage that’s both useful and original?
How about this: Forget it. Chuck everything out.
I’m inspired by my friend Tim, who got so depressed by his ever-expanding in-tray that he carried it to the bin, closed his eyes and tipped the lot in. Swears he was never troubled by any chasing up and never regretted it. And the sheer relief!
Bit too radical? Ok, then let’s try a gentler approach. The way I see it there’s two parts to cracking storage issues: What are you keeping and How are you keeping it.
What exactly are you storing?
If you haven’t already, take a look at our ‘decluttering a kids room’ post for some starting points. Children are growing and changing so fast, if they haven’t seen or used something for 6 days / months do you really need to give it house space?
I’m rather drawn to the Buddhist idea.
It appeals to a puritan streak in me that the bhikkhu or monk only owns 8 things:
Three sets of robes, a belt, a bowl, needle and thread, a razor and a water filter.
A lovely idea. Difficult perhaps to achieve for ourselves & our children but a good starting point. (Maybe translate ‘robes’ to favourite clothes, ‘belt’ to a couple of pairs of decent shoes, ‘razor’ to toothbrush…you get the idea).
If you can’t get quite so Buddhist about worldly possessions can you at least get picky? A nice starting point for what you keep could be to follow the wise words of William Morris:
“If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
So. Useful or beautiful, and preferably both. Who can argue with that?
How do you store what you keep?
Toys & craft equipment:
Sort by type. Soft toys, Lego, electronic games etc.
Pick your style of storage. Are you more minimalist clear plastic boxes, vintage shabby chic tin trunk, or crafty fabric covered boxes (don’t forget you could cover them with offcuts of wallpaper or fabric to match the room - here are some ideas we had)
(Whatever you choose, remember to review every 6 months or so & chuck out or re-gift anything outgrown or worn out.)
Keep their favourites on one lovely bedside shelf to encourage them to pick them up. Keep the rest on bookshelves either in their room or elsewhere in the house and sort them by size or colour to be pleasing on the eye.
My most organised friend swears by the KonMari method of clothes folding. She says you can store more clothes and you can see exactly what you’ve got at a glance. Gotta be worth a go – see here
Remember the ‘hatch, match, dispatch’ culling process & check that they still fit & haven’t been stained with sweet potato beyond the realms of decency.
I think you get the idea. Try to cull often & ruthlessly. But if you must have storage as you are a normal human person not a Buddhist monk then make your life even more lovely with a beautiful piece of furniture to keep things in. It could be all horrid shouty plastic tat on the inside, but at first glance your storage solution is a glorious pleasing container.