Drowning in kid clutter? Here's how to store their stuff
As all parents know, storage is a priority when you have kids at home. Designers Cairenn Foy and Kerry Hiddleston, the duo behind hiddlestonfoyinteriors.com, have seven children between them - they share the secret to stashing stuff away, nicely
Let's talk storage. Not, unfortunately, storage to put your kids in, as that seems to be frowned upon, but storage for kid's stuff.
As anyone with little people knows, the amount of detritus they accumulate is incredible, and no-one wants it in their living space. We have seven children between the two of us, and are well aware of the mess kids can generate. Our clients seem equally obsessed and frequently ask us to focus on storage as much as design.
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Storage doesn't need to mean large, expensive, built-in units. It can be a way to hide away the things you don't want on view, or a way to show off the things you do. However, whether you use a Scandinavian retailer to buy boxes and containers to hide things in, or whether you use storage as a means to enhance the look of your kids' room, remember that either way you're taking the mess off the floor.
For hide-it-away storage
There are so many companies that offer good storage solutions and you can spend a little or a lot. IKEA is the obvious choice if you're on a smaller budget. Our Scandinavian friends are efficient and effective space organisers and their STUVA range for kids rooms is especially good.
But whether you opt for cheaper or not, make sure whatever you choose can multi-task - doubling up, say, as a desk, a bed or a bench. Integrating storage into your interiors so it doesn't look like storage is one of favourite ways to dress up a room.
Built-in units are another option, but they can work out to be quite pricey as they are often bespoke. A more reasonably priced alternative is smartstorage.ie, an Irish husband-and-wife company who developed their space solutions in response to 'a shoe crisis' in their own home.
Danish company Flexa (flexashop.ie) have branches in Cork and Dublin and offer innovative children's furniture and storage designs, including integrated beds and shelving. They are a bit pricey, but very high quality, and because many of their pieces are modular, they can be altered as your chlld's needs change.
Their "Shelfie" modular shelving range has sizes and shapes to suit all storage requirements and starts from about €550. They also have a high-spec finish. Some pieces even include a slide, which is always fun.
For show-it-off storage
The second type of storage is all about displaying stuff. This is our favourite type - if that doesn't make us sound like complete losers. It achieves more than just the function of storing; it also looks good.
And multi-tasking is key in all things child-related as we all know. As a parent, these days, you're expected to be able to cut toast into the correct shape, hold several separate conversations at once (none of which make sense) and get ready for work. Apparently.
Many companies make drawstring play mats that you can use for LEGO and other small toys - check out the Storage Bag Play Mat, €35.50 by kidly.ie - which can be hung up out of the way and look a lot better than LEGO scattered over the floor. Especially if anyone has ever stood on LEGO. You're welcome.
Anyway storage. The fact of the matter is that items on display, properly sorted and categorised, will be much more likely to be used. Things all jumbled up together won't be - whether that means odd socks, pens or jigsaws.
You don't need to spend much for this form of storage. We've reused pretty ceramic yogurt pots to hold pens, paintbrushes and pipe-cleaners instead of throwing them away. They look nice, you can use them to hold water for painting, while the kids like that they can see all their crafting tools and they are handy to use. We also like the fact that we are reusing items instead of throwing them away, ie, multi-functional.
Clear jars or containers also work perfectly. Kilner jars in glass or Perspex, depending on the age of your kids, look great. Just make sure that you can see what you have and that it is organised so that everything has a place. This form of storage also has the welcome side effect of encouraging independence and giving kids ownership of their belongings, which may even mean they take a little more care and tidy up after themselves.
Shelving is one of the most decorative forms of storage. Even plain, narrow shelves can work if you use them to display books facing outwards. Most children's books are colourful and often beautifully illustrated and so add colour to a room without even trying. It's like having art on the walls. It's also nice for kids to be able to see the titles easily when picking stories - anything that encourages reading is a plus. They can access their books easily and then, hopefully, put them back again.
Another winner is decorative wall hooks. You can play around with them as decor. We've used hooks that have different animal heads to great effect. Check out miramira.ie and kidstore.ie, which always have something that little bit different. They look great and again, mean there is half a chance your kids will hang clothes and bags up rather than leaving them on the floor. Half a chance…