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Respecting Your Space – Where Does Family Space Begin & End?

Kid’s and their stuff… where does it end?!

My client Chloe was wrestling with clutter. Chloe was a tidy person with a new clutter problem. But it wasn’t her clutter, it was her kid’s clutter. The stuff that your kid’s attract seems endless doesn’t it?

Don’t you sometimes feel like it’s taking over the whole house?

You start out with a cot, push chair and changing table and end up with 40 plastic ponies, 252 toy cars and you can’t find a single pair of matching socks in the house even though you just bought a third pack of ten.

Chloe felt like her entire house was the kid’s house! She felt like she couldn’t invite grownups over, except other mums. If you were her friend and looked at her house, you might not see what she sees. But I understood what she meant.

The Baby’s Room.

Olivia, the youngest, was in the spare room. She was nearly three and that room was fast overflowing with little girl things. The sofa that Chloe had used for feeding was also her mum’s fold-out bed when she visited.

The wardrobe was stuffed full of the family’s winter gear, some camping gear, extra linen, blankets and cushions. Chloe’s husband kept his sports gear in a big set of tall cupboards near Olivia’s cot.

Olivia has a set of drawers for her clothes. She also has lots of toys, big and small, that didn’t fit in her room. They were kept in the living room, the hallway and the overflow of the bigger, messier toys were in Chloe’s bedroom.

And Olivia was beginning to notice something. Her sister’s room was different.

Their Own Room.

Chloe’s eldest, Sophie, has her own room too, but it was a bit bigger and was exclusively hers. She was 7 and it was decorated in princess pink.

Chloe LOVED Sophie’s room. She’d decorated it herself when Sophie was born. She adored organising her little girl’s dresses in her wardrobe, sorting her toys and ornaments and just making it a beautiful little girls room.

Sophie was messy. She loved collecting things. Stones, feathers, leaves and flowers. She was an artist in the making, insisting on her creations being on display. She loved anything sparkly and had to have EVERYTHING where she could see it.

Sophie’s room was making Chloe crazy! No matter how hard she tried, Sophie’s room never looked the way she liked it to. Every time Chloe tried to tidy her room Sophie would get upset. Sophie even made her own sign for her door: Sophie’s Room – Private!

Your Room.

Some of my clients who are mum’s neglect their own needs. Yes, they have a bedroom and a wardrobe, but often it’s the last to be sorted out. Chloe’s room was the first to have stuff dumped in it.

The room was pretty big, that’s why they’d moved some of the bigger, messier toys there. So of course the girls used it like a playroom. She’d hoped it would keep the living area a little tidier. It didn’t. Her wardrobe was stuffed full and not just with their clothes. It was full of presents, wrapping paper, games that were too old for the girls and bags and bags of gifted kids clothes they might grow into.

She wished she could have her room back the way it used to be, tidy and grown-up. She was at the end of her tether and completely overwhelmed.

Their home had never really been set up for their changing needs.

Chloe told me she was considering moving Sophie into her and her husband’s room and making it also the spare/sleepover room. She was thinking of putting Olivia into Sophie’s room and taking the smallest room for themselves.

On the face of it, it seemed to Chloe to be the perfect solution. All the family things from Olivia’s room would fit in the largest room with it’s walk-in wardrobe, along with Sophie’s things. Olivia would have a bigger room so all her toys would fit. She thought the smallest room would be fine for her and her husband and she could always put her overflow clothes in the girls wardrobes.

The reason Chloe called me in was to have less clutter around the house. But our session turned into a conversation about respecting space and changing family dynamics. Especially as the girls were growing up fast and their needs were changing too. They’d be teenagers before she knew it!

A Happy Family.

We got stuck in and sorted and decluttered all the toys in the house (of course!) Then we tackled both Chloe’s and Olivia’s wardrobes. Chloe was amazed at how much was packed into them and was happy to donate quite a bit. Having less stuff to worry about helped a LOT.

After a bit of reorganisation and moving things around Chloe’s bedroom was toy-free. There were no more toys in the hallway. Sophie and Chloe came to an understanding and Olivia’s room had space for her things. For the time being the sofa-bed had to stay in her room. But Chloe and her husband were thinking differently about that space and the kind of home they wanted for their family.

Sometimes our homes evolve with us, sometimes they don’t. We’re often living in the moment with the pressures and busyness of life directing our energy and attention. We make do with what we have. It’s only when things stop working or become a problem that we realise something needs to change.

Life is change. We are constantly changing and growing and so are our children. Getting your home to a place where your home life is easy and conflict is rare IS possible. Respect goes both ways.


The Tidy Lady.

Declutter Coach & Tidyness Expert.

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