5 indispensible clutter hiders

Filed under: Just For Moms

My house is not a shining beacon of clean. In fact, there are several dust balls under the couch and sawdust remnants float around the house, beacons of my brother's basement project. But when visitors come in the door, the house at least has the deception of cleanliness, the vague aura of organization.

1. The living room ottoman - I have a fake-leather one, dark brown and with so much storage space that it holds several hockey sticks, a dozen books, a discarded helmet and random toddler shrapnel I've stepped on and now want to discard. The best thing about this ottoman is it seems to shut neatly no matter how much I toss in there. Even better -- Nolan can loll on it with fruit-smeared hands and I can just dab it clean -- so much more practical than fabric.

2. Ikea baskets - I hope everyone's local Ikea has the same little area prior to checkout filled with plants, jars, and baskets. I have an Ikea wicker laundry basket, a wicker toy holder, and wicker storage baskets for underneath my bathroom sinks. Anything random gets sorted into one of those, and it mysteriously all works out in the wash.

3. Toys within toys -- My son received a giant lego dump truck for his birthday, and though it's an eyesore, I'll forgive it because it has a dual purpose. All of his dinky cars fit in the back of his dump truck, and when he's finished washing his small cars in the tub, or driving them up various walls, he happily plunks them into his dump truck and drives them all away, hopefully out of sight.

4. Storage rack -- A few years ago, I purchased an inexpensive, portable set of drawers from Pier 1, to use in Nolan's nursery. The drawers are cloth: perfect then for diapers, wipes, swaddling blankets and towels -- and perfect now for chucking too-small toys and kid's books I temporarily loathe. It sits in the corner of his room, unassumingly, with much deeper pockets than his normal clothes chest. It was a 99 dollar investment that was absolutely worth it. There's something kind of similar here, though I prefer cloth drawers (easier to cram!)

5. A secret toy nook - I keep any random stray toys in a space in front of my desk in my office (which is actually fairly open.) It's a narrow strip of real estate, and not visible from anywhere in the house -- a perfect place for hideous toddler mess. I don't have a play room, so this is perfect -- and it's small enough that it's easy to keep tidy, but Nolan can still play happily.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.