From Jennifer on January 20th, 2010 in General Remodel
Being a parent and keeping a nice home can sometimes feel mutually exclusive. One of my frequent sayings is, “See, honey, this is why we can’t have nice stuff.” I say this in jest, though, because I know that my rough-and-tumble boys are bound to get things dirty or broken during their hours of banter on any given day. It’s just something I’ve come to expect.
But how do you balance good parenting with good housekeeping? Parents often imagine that a minimalist-style home just won’t work with kids in the house. Clever homeowners, however, are finding ways to achieve a minimalist lifestyle that incorporates children rather than making them feel like bulls in a China shop.
Here are some tips for simplifying your home with the kids in mind:
When remodeling your home or just making a few changes, try to keep in mind what those new materials will be like to clean. Opt for materials that are easily wiped clean, like impervious tile, metal finishes, scrub-able paint and other non-textured surfaces. Carpeting, moldings, faux finished paint and textured laminates are more difficult to keep up with, making housecleaning harder and more time-consuming.
Keep the furniture simple and the pieces few. Plywood chairs and a metal table in the kitchen make for excellent easy-to-clean surfaces and a sitting area that doesn’t take up a lot of space. In the living room, substitute overstuffed sofas and easy chairs for less cumbersome couches and ottomans. The ottomans make great seating for little bottoms, as well as fun stools or stepping stones for imaginative minds.
Whatever you choose, you still want your kids to have fun, so don’t purchase items that would devastate you to lose. Don’t substitute beauty and grace for practical and playful, but do keep in mind that items that work best in a minimalist home will be easily multi-tasked, attractive and functional.
Climbing the Walls
One of the things kids are great at is making fingerprints on the walls. Aside from painting with finishes that are easily wiped clean, keep wall-hung items to a minimum and fasten them above arm’s reach of the children. Not only will it save you the trouble of cleaning fingerprints off of your hanging art, photos and other items, but it’ll also keep the kids from accidentally damaging these items or pulling them down onto themselves and getting hurt.
Cut back on tchotchkes, antiques and other small breakables around the house. It’s amazing how much space these items take up collectively, and you’ll really enjoy having more spacious rooms. As the children get older, start introducing a few breakable items into the home and teach the kids how to respect breakable treasures. Begin with the larger, sturdier items and before you know it, you’ll be able to keep lots of nice pieces all over your home. Just be mindful that your goal is minimalism, so don’t overdo it!