So, we live in an apartment.
Now, I don’t know the exact square footage of our place off the top of my head, but to me it feels pretty stinkin’ huge for an apartment, but pretty small compared to most of our friends’ houses in this area. I used to have house fever pretty bad, but after some sage advice from those well versed in the matter, I’ve started to see our rented home as a huge stress reducer, and honestly, a sort of luxury to be embraced during these years with small children. Sure, long term renting is more expensive, but RIGHT NOW this place really helps us to live more comfortably on one income, and it’s SO much easy to take care of. We’ve come around from house fever to thinking we won’t worry about buying until the kids are older and I’m employed again.
SOOO… that being said, in just the last month or so I’ve discovered two really simple tricks recently that have helped bring a lot more peace and quiet to our little space!
1. Storage on the boys’ bedroom door. We’ve hung a shoe organizer on the OUTSIDE of the boy’s bedroom door. All their matchbox cars wooden train pieces, Happy Meal toys, etc… Anything that’s small enough to fit in a pocket goes there, and if the pockets are full we declutter some more!
Now, I wouldn’t have thought this was something worth blogging, but HEAR ME OUT: That dumb little shoe organizer has changed my life.
I’ve been trying to keep all the boys toys in their room, because, I am filled with energy when our living room looks like an uncluttered adult place. Maybe it’s just me, but when I’m here all day with the boys, the absence of toys on my floor is what separates me from “the workplace”. It’s easy to have them pick up and at least move the larger items into their room before bedtime. But then I tuck them in, shut the door behind me, take a deep breath, take three steps and OUCH! Stepped on a lego. And because I know that if I open that door again, the baby will start crying and I will have doomed bedtime for another 20 or 30 minutes, I would just pile those stragglers up in the hallway, where, the next morning, the children would swiftly scatter them again to places unknown. Missing puzzle pieces, train tracks poking us in the couch cushions, you name it. Enter shoe organizer and I actually have a place to PUT the lego when I’ve stepped on it without disrupting nap time!
The other way it’s changed my life is that there’s no dumping. They HAVE to take one matchbox car at a time. And the high pockets hold items that need supervision. Think playdough. Watercolors. Toys with tiny pieces I don’t want our 16 month old to have.
2. Rearranging our Furniture to Prevent Rough Play.
Actually, we were just trying to figure out a way to keep our 16 month old from climbing and standing on top of our TV stand. We ended up with an arrangement that kept most of our furniture away from the bordering walls and away from each other by at least a foot and a half. A few days in, I realized the clomping sound that I was so sorry to our downstairs neighbors for had all but subsided. Our new furniture arrangement had created a sort of obstacle course, that the boys love! Lots of places to hide and chase each other and play peekaboo! But it also decelerates their indoor play. They can run and jump as much as they like, but my little race cars just can’t pick up as much momentum. Less noise. Fewer boo boos.
I had no idea what an improvement this would be, but we are LOVING this side effect!
So that’s where we’re at, right now. It’s really the little things right? Tell me what you’ve got going on at your house to reduce the chaos. I am ALWAYS looking for those sort of ideas!