The first step is finding room for the stuff. Kids come with a lot of gear, from the time they’re babies until they’re out the door and into their own place. In the meantime, you have to find ways to accommodate everything from strollers and building blocks to hockey sticks and Barbie collections. When there’s a place for everything, there’s a better chance that the stuff will get put away. Don’t waste closet space. Add a shelving unit and storage bins, and put up hooks on the back of the closet door wherever possible. The small dresser that served your young child can be put into the closet at a later age.
Children’s beds often come with storage compartments underneath, and nightstands can have either drawers or shelves. When children share a room, bunk beds and sleeping lofts are obvious choices for saving space. Teenagers, especially those 6-footers, may very well need a full-size bed rather than the standard twin. Again, think storage space underneath or headboards that incorporate storage space.
Even if your school-age child has a computer desk, he or she may still not have enough room for spreading out books and binders at homework time. Consider a large desk if there’s room, or maintain an open policy about using the kitchen or dining room table for homework. But remember that a young child’s feet should touch the floor to prevent restlessness, so if the dining room chair is too tall, use a box or stool under their feet.
Toys and sports equipment can be kept under control by using storage chests, large plastic cubes, or shelving units with bins. Hall trees often come with a storage bench and are a great solution for coats and boots and skates.
Save yourself a lot of trouble by painting children’s rooms rather than using wallpaper. Children quickly grow out of cute prints, and new paint is a simple solution for changing tastes.
Keep the living room and family room furniture looking good by choosing fabrics with a high thread count and tight weave that clean easily and hold up to hard use. Flatweaves are better than textured fabrics for durability. The new microfibers are a good choice for surviving kids and pets, and nothing is easier than slipcovers that can be removed and washed. By the way, sectional sofas are very versatile, able to adapt to any room and comfortable for everyone in the family. Add a set of nesting tables that can be handily moved from room to room for games and projects.
Don’t trip over the stuff of family life. There’s a way to make everyone happy . . . especially Mom.