If you have multiple floors in your home could you manage your kids if there was not one child related thing on the main floor (where kitchen is & you spend 70% of your time)?
We have 2 kids DS 4 & DD 2.5 (baby due in Feb). DH HATES having kid stuff in his main living space. He feels he cant have people over because its to messy. He wants everything either up in their rooms or in the basement (play room there). NOTHING at all on the main floor
What we have now in the Living foom is a small bookshelf with books, 1 stacking toy & a basket with legos. on the ottoman are a few puzzles. In the kitchen is a small table with crayons/stickers/paper etc, a small box of dress up & 1 tool box. Thats it on the main floor unless one of them bring something down/up. Most toys are in the bedrooms or in the play room.
If you do manage to keep it all out of sight HOW?
With the new baby coming I think we will be spending even more time on the main floor than we do now. I feel they are not old enough to play on their own completely yet in the basement (a few disasters have occured already) which is what makes it hard.
Wife of 10 yrs to Oaties, Mama to Bubs 08/06/08, Rizie 04/19/10 & MRae 02/02/13 & to
We have a two story house, it is kid central here so yeah, your Dh would probably hate it! We converted the dining room into a play room and then the rest of the toys are upstairs in a loft. The older kids, 6 and 9 have their things upstairs and then the younger two have all their stuff downstairs. I couldn't do it but I have a neighbor that almost does. 3 level house, and all kid stuff is on the bottom level. She keeps a few small toys in a drawer on the main level, but the playroom and bedrooms are on the basement. Her kids are 5 and 2 and do play downstairs alone but she is the queen of baby gates. everything is gated everywhere and the kids are either gated into the bedroom and or playroom and that it all the access they get. they can't even get back up to the main level unless she wants them up there. Well, the 5 y old can climb over now but the little one is stuck. That isn't how I roll but not he other hand, her house doesn't look like a bomb went off every second either.
I am not sure if organizing is the answer or negotiating with your partner is. I think there will probably be an age when your youngest is 3 years old when it will be far easier to keep items on different floors, but until then it is a constant time-consuming exercise. If I was in a similar situation as yours and my partner felt so strongly, I would try and put the onus back on him a bit. Maybe he could design an organization system, teach the kids how to use it, and create a reward system if they succeed. I would be supportive but not responsible for the design/running of the system. If it didn't work at first, I would encourage him to redesign the system or relax his expectations.
We do allow lots of stuff on our main floor but we have key clean-up times (usually right before desired activities). I do imagine there will be a time though when our floor is not covered in baby/toddler stuff (when do no longer have babies and toddlers). It is far easier for an older child to be responsible to play independently.
Your set up sounds quite organized. I do go crazy when I realize toys have taken over every room; I like to have one room that is tidy / toy free - well toys neatly on shelf is ok, or an actual work in progress game or craft on the table is fine, but toys stuffed on every shelf, overflowing on the ground gets me off balance.
BUT I dont think its realistic to keep every child related thing upstairs, kids want to be around you, playing by your side, and you need to be in more places then just upstairs.
When I was growing up my parents had a spare adult room - living room / kids allowed only upon invitation - mostly it was a toy free zone. Well, it was all white too, so we couldn't go in there after playing out side. But our family room was the kid zone, toys, books tv, where we all hung out.
we just moved into a house with 3 smallish stories including a main level with kitchen/dining/living room all pretty much connected and an office of the side. Upstairs has both bedrooms and Downstairs a large multi-use room.
Before i had kids i would have thought that they should have all their stuff in that lower room and I am one of those folks that love a nice formal living room (though i have rarely managed to have one)
Now with 22 month twins we thought better and have flipped things around, we gate off the kitchen (open sometimes closed when needed) and a entry area by the door (which effectively gates off the stair to upstairs as a bonus) and the non doored entry to the office and gave them the rest of the living room space. We then set up the adult space in the downstairs room, he has his hobby space and me mine and we have a great couch and big screen TV area with an eye to movie watching.
- Although we dont have a formal living room we have toddlers and i think that is just reality for a few years. this set up gives them the most autonomy to explore and be independent while still being near me while i go about daily activities be it housework or office time.
- It also keeps most toys out of their room, i like that since i think it can interfere with naptimes and sleep, specially since in the next year i may be moving them out of cribs. we have quiet time toys up there for mornings when they crawl out of our bed (were he end up by morning) and entertain themselves. (they can move back and forth between the rooms once we take them out of their cribs.
- And it gives us a large adult area where we dont have to worry about the noise we make since we are two floors away from sleeping kids and we dont have to clean up for kid safety.
- that being said we do have nice shelves and cubbies in the living room so when i clean toys up at the end of a day it looks colorful and kid friendly but also purposeful and organized. Any friend we have over knows we have kids, they probably do too, if we lived back in our old town with more adult oriented friends we may think differently, but i doubt we would handle it much different till they were old enough to routinely play solo, maybe 5 or so.
- when i have folks over they are often sitting and drinking coffee or talking or playing games at the dining room table, so no conflict there.
i feel that in your shoes with baby plus 2 and 4 year olds, you as parents need to sit down and decide what is realistic and your priorities. And if you stay home with the kids thru out the day, what makes you an effective and calm caretaker needs to weigh heavily in the final decision.
So what if I don't fit cleanly into a defined parenting style, my kids don't fit into a personality archetype either!
I think it's better to have the house set up for the people who live there, not for the people who might come over. Would it be so hard to sweep through the living room before visitors come, and haul the toys somewhere else? We do keep toys in our living room, but they would easily all fit into a large bin, or even a good-sized storage bench.
I also do not like toys in all rooms BUT we do have designated areas for them in the main living area. We have 3 floors but bottom is unfinished basement so that's out of the picture- our main living area on the first floor and bedrooms upstairs. We spend most of our time on first floor. We have a play kitchen in our kitchen (which is a big, eat-in kitchen) and a small table for crafts. The living room has two bottom shelves of a tall bookcase cleared for books/toys and a small bookcase that's somewhat tucked behind a couch for more toys. I buy baskets at Marshall's or even Good Will to keep all toys in. I am a tidy, organized person so I cannot stand when it's too chaotic. I also only have about 1/2 of his toys out at a time and have the rest in his closet. I try and rotate every few weeks. Of course, this is only with one, with more I am sure things change! In his room he has a few baskets under his bed and the 9-cube shelf from Target with books and other toy baskets. I think it's very impractical not to have ANY kid stuff on the first floor. Maybe a toy chest or storage bench or ottoman and a bookcase that can be put in the corner of a room for at least some stuff.
Honestly, your kids are pretty little, making it hard to have toys stay separate from the main living area. Growing up, my mom had laundry baskets labeled with our names that served to corral anything of ours that ended up in the living room. Perhaps a similar "grab and drop" system would help you and your husband's goals? With young kids, you could use a box for each room that things just get dumped in when there's not time to put them away in a more organized fashion? Perhaps one that closes and isn't see through, so he doesn't see it as visual clutter?
Mine are 5 and 8, and we've just moved to a new place where 80-90% of the toys are in their bedrooms. Stuff that I don't want them to use without supervision (crafts, paints), and things that need to be done communally (board games) are in the living room. Everything else they can bring out to play with in the living room as long as it goes back when they're done. Now, their rooms are a disaster, but at least we can homeschool, eat, and do family activities (and yes, have people over) without toys underfoot! I could not have done this until they got to these ages though.
Book loving, editor mom to 2