I quite like the minimalist look but the Nice Wolf and the Three Little Pigs just didn’t get the memo. You know all those gorgeous pictures of perfect houses that I’ve been posting? Well, that’s not going to happen. Okay, it might happen once or twice, but if you knock on my door on any random day, you won’t see it. Keeping my house tidy is an ongoing, half-hearted battle. I know the motivation will increase tenfold once we move into House By The Water, but still, I’d rather be in the garden, on the deck or in the kitchen cooking up a storm.
Our (rental) living room at this very moment – currently the most photogenic corner of our home. Where’s the Lego in the magazine photos?
Of course, I’ve tried to train the Pigs (now aged 10, 8 and 5). They are rewarded for cleaning their rooms and for helping with chores. I trialled Hong Henwood’s “black bag strategy“, where, after fair warning, any kid’s items left lying out of place in the living areas are collected in a bag. In our case, the “black bagged” items could be earned back, donated to charity, thrown out or regifted at birthday or Christmas times. Well, the two oldest pigs formed a union and I received a formal complaint:
An elaborate bag-stealing heist followed, foiled only by the littlest Pig being a goody-two-shoes. On day two of “black bag” I asked the Third Little Pig to put away his skate board. He replied that he was leaving it out for me to put in the black bag because he’d like to receive it again for Christmas!
I’m hoping that in a double story house, the ground floor will be tidy-ish most of the time. Two of the pigs will have their sties upstairs and perhaps as they get older their mess may be constrained within their own four walls, but for now at least, they like to be where I am. They bring toys out to play on the lounge room floor and their homework is done at the dining table despite having their own desks.
So my challenge is to create spaces that can handle a bit of real, 3-kids, no-hired-help, living. Part of that will be allocating drawers, hooks and cupboards in the living areas for quick clearance. (One of my friends suggested a kitchen drawer for the mobile phones, pens, mail, etc. Yep, all the stuff that’s currently sitting on my kitchen bench.) Part of it will be sticking with fresh, tidy habits. Wish me luck. And part of it will be embracing the lived-in, homely look. On this final point I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for inspiration.
Beautiful rooms that look inhabited:
Too much cleaning may crush my creativity?? Source: Airbnb.
Kid and Coe specialise in stylish holiday rental homes around the world that welcome kids. This one is in Barcelona.
The House Nerd blog is full of real rooms with real people (and often real animals too). Sure the floor has been cleaned and the bench wiped, but the kids’ art is still on the fridge. Photo by Heather Robbins at Red Images, Thanks to House Nerd.
I notice from this collection of photos that the signs of life, be it personal items, clutter or disorder, add to the character of the room. Unique windows, interesting artefacts, layered soft furnishings, mismatching and multicolours provide enough interest that the kid’s toys and pile of books on the floor look perfectly suited to the space.
So matchy- matchy? Out! Monochrome? Out! Minimal? Never a consideration! Sleek, shiny, see-through? Probably not.
Greenery? In. Favourite bits and pieces? Definitely. Anything with storage potential? Yes!
Have you mastered the combination of kids/husband and tidy house without feeling like your life revolves around housework? If so, I need tips.