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Posted by Maxine Cleminson - - 5 comments

My kids crap is everywhere... it seems to migrate around the house as if it has a mind of its own. A lot of this is my fault I know. I feel that I am constantly badgering my kids as it is: Please use your manners/We do not snatch/Please share/Please eat your food with you mouth closed/Use your indoor voice/Fingers not up noses and etc... So when it comes to some things like tidying up as you go, it is sometimes easier to let it slide and just pick it up yourself. Unfortunately, this means that my kids expect me to clear up after them now, and so whenever I try to engage them in helping, I often get dissent in the ranks!

I think a lot of this is probably because I don't prioritise tidiness myself. I LOVE when my house is tidy, but often procrastinate the actual chore. Even when I do collect up the kids crap (random Lego bits, pyjama trousers, books, a lonely sock, Beyblade ripcords, Hot Wheels Cars etc...) at the end of the day, I often just pile them on the stairs with the half-hearted intention of taking them up the next time I go upstairs! Who am I trying to kid? In reality, they stay there and accumulate for a few days, before it becomes a health hazard trying to ascend the stairs!

So, I've tried to come up with a solution. I am not going to cure myself of lazy-itis overnight, and it's going to be a challenge introducing a new 'rule' to the kids, but even if I can make the clutter more manageable I will be pleased. In brainstorming, I was reminded of some fabulous stair baskets my sister-in-law Sandra had for the same purpose when her kids were small. The idea being that you fill the basket with the bits you find throughout the day and then carry it upstairs to put away in the evening. Perfect! I looked into getting these and was surprised at how expensive they were ($30+ each), especially as I had envisioned getting one per person in the family to try and promote ownership of, and responsibility for one's own clutter. If you have the budget, there are some lovely stair baskets out there...

However, if like me you'd rather not spend a fortune, do not be disheartened! Firstly, measure the depth and height of one of your stairs. Mine were approximately 9.5" deep, with a rise of about 9". Then simply keep an eye out for some containers with handles that are going to fit these dimensions. You may also want to look for ones that coordinate with your decor as they will be on view. You could use traditional wicker or rattan baskets, galvanized buckets, canvas cubes, plastic baskets, whatever catches your eye.

I found some lightweight plastic baskets in my local Dollar Store... the perfect size for little boys to help with the tidying up, and because they had a 'solid' base unlike a lot of wicker or rattan baskets, they were a much better solution to holding the Big One's Lego bits.

I also had some old Ikea Branas baskets lurking in a cupboard that were also the perfect size and made more 'grown-up' looking ones (slightly more in keeping with the decor of our lounge than blue plastic!!

Lastly, if you are going to rope the whole family into this new regime, simply label each person's basket with their name or initial. For the kids' baskets I used craft foam to cut out their initial and tied it on with a ribbon. Again you can coordinate this to your decor, or even ring the changes with the seasons (tie a bauble on at Christmas etc...).

Now we've just got to get disciplined enough to use them properly every day!

How do you keep on top of the clutter?

5 Responses so far.

  1. Thank you for this awesome idea! Totally going to hit the dollar store in search of stair baskets--I too love it when it's tidy (but always last on the list).

  2. Anonymous says:

    This idea makes me wish I had some stairs.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Love it! Cant wait to put baskets up for my family's crap. Now where to find a fairy who will magically put everything back in its place :)

  4. How do I keep on top of clutter?? I don't. That's why I'm on the internet learning how to make"crap" baskets!!!

  5. My problem is by the door for all the stuff that needs to go out to the barn, the garage, my car, the RV, the chickens, etc, etc. Any suggestions?? A huge tower of drawers?

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