Bless This Mess: Keep A Tidy Home Without Stifling Creative Kids

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Kids make mess.

It’s a staple fact of parenting. Children are messy, little whirlwinds of chaos that leave sticky hand prints any time they touch. At times, it’s tempting just to sweep everything under the rug – perhaps literally – and just ignore it. Accept it’s going to be up to 18 years until you have a tidy, clean house again; chalk it up to the experiences of a parent.

But no! I know you’re tired and that it feels like you’re fighting a force you can’t ever win. But this is only just beginning. It is possible to reclaim your home from a force of nature such as a playful kid – you just have to know how to go about it.

Please note: some chaos will always reign. Children make a mess and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. There is no fairy dust that can magically make everything in your home kid-adjusted. (Though if you find some that does, could you email me? Please?)

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  1. Crafting Time Remains Crafting Time

Pretty much all advice in the world: Craft with your kids! It’s good for you and them! And you get stuff at the end of it!

The bit they leave out: Your house is now covered in glitter, and it will be for weeks on end. Enjoy your new glitter house. Look how it sparkles!

Crafting is by nature a messy affair. Not only do you have the aforementioned glitter, but there’s also your glue guns, stickers, fabric, paper.

Fight back by designating craft time to a particular area. Spread out an old (or cheap, purpose bought) bed sheet to craft on, which you can roll up at the end of the session. Tip the contents into the trash. And the glitter everywhere? That’s one war you’re never going to win.

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  1. Washable Walls

“Look, I drew a lion! Come see!”

“I will sweetie, that’s so impressive, I’m so – oh you drew it on the wall.”

It happens. But with washable paint, you can reclaim the walls with a simple wipe down. Yes, this kind of paint is more expensive, but it’s also worth it. No need for touch ups after you’ve scrubbed scrawls off the wall to the point you’re removing paint.

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  1. Make Every Jar Unspillable

(Is that a word? If it isn’t, it should be.)

Kids open things and then they drop things; always in that order as well. If your child is old enough to be investigating cupboards, then you have to protect the contents (and your sanity). Mason jars are ubiquitous for food storage but relatively easy to get into.

One of the best deterrents is to wrap things in noisy, crunchy paper. It won’t stop a curious child, but it will at least alert you to the fact it’s happening. You can also use duct tape to cover the openings for things you don’t use often. You then have to go through the hassle of removing it when you want to use it, but better that than hydrogen peroxide all over the floor.

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