As it is just around the corner, I have decided to give you some tips do be Half-term ready.
Half-term means kids at home all day, lots going on indoors, especially if the weather is bad.
Your home can easily start looking like a war zone and yourself feeling absolutely overwhelmed and anxious, which in turn can create tension and a not so relaxed holiday.
And anyway, who wants to spend their time doing the house chores over half-term, when we could be spending time having fun with our family.
Here are my top tips to ride this family time as stress and clutter free as possible. I have two children and learnt to work out a method whilst they have been growing up.
Nowadays, it only takes me 15 to 20 minutes of daily tidying to feel on top of things and leaving me with a feeling in control.
To achieve this though, it will require firstly a good session of decluttering - it is really difficult to keep a home tidy when it is filled with objects, followed by a good adapted organisation system that works for you and your household.
I will tell you more about my deep decluttering method in a future post.
BEFORE HALF- TERM:
When children are around all day our homes can easily become really messy, but however good your intentions are, there is no way you can keep a space clean and tidy if it is full of stuff.
Even if you don't have time for a thorough decluttering, I would suggest a light session before the break:
- Go through their belongings and discard everything that is not usable,
for example, the Craft box/drawer/cabinet. Throw away any pens that have dried out, overly chewed pencils, dried open paint tubes and the likes. Assess wether you need to replace them.
Crafts are a great way for the kids to express themselves and for us to have some fun with them.
- Dedicate a Craft cupboard in which you store all your different items into Families: the paint family, the glitter family... in separate containers like in the picture bellow:
Drawer dividers like the ones sold in Ikea (http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/products/small-storage-organisers/clothes-organisers/skubb-box-set-of-6-white-art-00192631/) for a tidy Craft drawer.
Do the same with every family: football cards, lego, cuddly toys... and store them with like to likes (I prefer to say Families).
- Keep the different families in separate boxes (my favourites are from the Ikea Variera range bellow). Here are some Lego stored in one box and sorted by colours in separated boxes. The manuals are stored in the box.
Keep going with other items such as books, dvd, cds, board games...
Toys tidied in Families and Lego by colours.
- Store those different Families where you use them. For exemple, crafts often happen at the kitchen table, so,even if they belong to your children, there is little point in storing them in their bedrooms (unless you have no choice), I personally store my kids craft boxes in the kitchen when they are used and where we can easily tidy and clean afterwards.
There are several ways to keep the mess at bay. Here are a few tips tried and tested by yours truly:
- Tidy up and clean after each activity. This should be non-negaciable. If you don't keep at it, you'll certain to be feeling overwhelmed by the end of the first day. It requires some discipline for adults and children, but if you keep at it, it will become part of your routine in no time.
- Involve the children. Sounds impossible? Well it is possible. Think about how even toddlers at nursery are expected to participate to the clearing after each activity. "Tidy up time" can be done at home, and children are never to young to be involved. Each child can be given a "mission" such as emptying the dirty glass water or putting the pen lids back on. It develops their sense of responsibility and makes them proud.
- Make it Fun! Everyone is tired and dragging their feet after a crazy 2 hour Playmobil Bonanza? Put some energy music on, turn up the volume and shake it all around whilst putting things back where they belong. You will all have a laugh and tidy up in no time. Best of all, kids will associate tidying up with fun, which is a great thing.
As human, our senses are bombarded all day long by various stimuli and it is essential for our brain to be able to restore and relax after a long day, Adults and children alike, we need to be able to unwind in an "unmessy" environment. So living spaces and bedrooms need to be tidied before bedtime for a restful night sleep.
As Karen Kingston - the Feng Shui expert says:
"Home is an outward representation of what’s happening inside you"
Have a great fun filled Half-term.
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