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Christmas Organisation Tips For The Whole Family – Guest Post from the Mess Goddess herself, Tania Mellis.

A Little Intro to Tania….

I love the Mess Goddess’ ethos ” I consider what I do as a form of art and empowerment combined with efficiency and practicality.” Her skills in decluttering and simplifying your life are really worthwhile and she has many tips to share which are really applicable to your child’s room, maybe even more so at this time of year as we all prepare for a new influx of toys, clothes and books into our already crowded children’s (and family) spaces. Read on for her take on decluttering to help the whole family get ready for the festive season.

1.Have a clear out and Donate to charity : Try the Bin Bag Game

A fabulous idea for the whole family, to get them motivated to let go of unwanted items – PLAY THE BIN BAG RACE!

You will need :

  • one bin bag for each member of the family.
  • a kitchen timer.

The Object of the game is for each person to collect as many unwanted things as possible that they would like to donate to charity. The person who collects the most things say within five minutes wins a prize. This is an exercise to teach children about charity and people in need, so I recommend keeping the prize simple – like an extra half hour before bed, or they can choose their special meal for dinner, you get the idea.  

Whilst we are clearing out……

 2. Tidy your Wardrobes – take all of the plastic and wire hangers out.  

Toss all the plastic hangers and keep wire hangers for craft.  A great tip in the future start saying no in stores if you are offered hangers!  Plastic hangers are not good for clothes, the environment and make our wardrobes look messy!  A great inexpensive alternative is the popular velvet covered hanger. These come in lots of wonderful colours and really can make your wardrobe look sensational. Choose round shoulder hangers for women’s clothes and the larger ones for men, you can also get children’ ones. Below are some of my favourite shaped velvet hangers.  Remember some brands are better quality then others and as they are used each day for years it is better to invest in a better-quality hanger.

Most people are going to need at least 100!  Yup, 100!  Most clothes fare much better if they are hung rather than folded into a drawer.  They have air flow around them, hanging keeps the creases out and it is much easier for you to see what you have in your wardrobe. Hang t-shirts, vest tops, jeans, everything you have space for.  Make sure to have one coat hanger for each item of clothing.  Why you ask?  This will help you to adopt the one in, one out concept. Each time you buy a new item of clothing take some out of your wardrobe and give to charity. Also – keep a box at the bottom of your wardrobe to put unwanted/charity items in.

Below is a recent wardrobe makeover I did in London.  We let go of lots of items, to charity and friends.  Purchased new hangers – purple in this case!  And banished all over wire and plastic hangers.

For the longevity of your clothes it is imperative to look after them and hanging them correctly is the start.  Don’t over pack your clothes, leave space in between so each item can breathe. Never leave your clothes inside the dry cleaner’s plastic! If you have delicate items that need extra protection invest in cotton suit covers. Always use the correct hangers for different items.  

  • For sweaters – padded hangers
  • Coats – wooden hangers
  • Dressers/blousers etc.- Velvet

3. Reuse, Repurpose and Gift 

So many things can be recycled: why not make fabric covered hangers for Christmas gifts, this is so simple the kids can help too!

All you need is some wire scissors, hangers & fabric.  As you will have collected lots of clothes from playing the bin bag game you will probably have a sheet or some clothes like a man’s shirt or a cotton dress you can use.  

Cut strips of fabric, I would say not more than 2cm wide.  The length depends on where the fabric is coming from. Start at the neck of the wire hanger and tie the strip and knot around the neck of the hanger. Then begin wrapping it around and around the hanger until it is covered.  It must be really tight, or it won’t last. I once wrapped an incense stick inside, so my hanger had a lovely sent. Once wrapped, the tie a knot at the neck and I suggest tying a lovely ribbon to cover over it.

I love making these hangers, it is so simple, it creates something beautiful and practical, it is recycling, it teaches the children the idea of gifting a heartfelt gift, not wasting money and so much more.

 Another brilliant idea are these card displays made from hangers. We are only limited by our imagination.  And best of all they are inexpensive.

Below is a picture of a card display made with wire hangers. This one was made by madeinaday.com

All you need is:

  • wire hangers,
  • washi tape,
  • small wooden pegs,
  • a ribbon. 

For more ideas with coat hangers visit my blog http://messgoddess.blogspot.com/2013/12/christmas-coat-hangers-and-cable-ties-i.html

4. Find Storage Solutions that Work for You – Lego Storage Cubes

I absolutely love these Lego Storage containers, they are fabulous for children’s rooms and for parents too!

I have my apple mac phone leads etc in one small white one which is £9 on Amazon! 

They come in several sizes and stack nicely on top of each other.  They are a must in the home for children’s and adult toys!

5. What to keep and what to let go

As our homes are so small in the UK we are often forced to keep children’s toys in their bedrooms. It’s not only toys & books but broken toys as well as toys and books that are no longer age appropriate and craft and school work all mixed in together -all  in a mess!  

The first thing I do is establish what items are being kept for sentimental reasons.  Often there are a lot!  So why are we keeping things that have such sentimental value in such a disorganised way where they will get damaged? Does this sound familiar?

Here are a few ideas to help you store your sentimental clutter safely where you will get more enjoyment from it:

Make photo books:

How about making a Photo Book of your child’s Art & Craft? Not only have you solved the problem of all the bits of paper laying around and stashed in drawers – you will have a beautiful book to cherish forever and order another couple as they make perfect Christmas presents!

New ways to keep old soft toys

Broken, often smelly and with so many memories attached!  I came across a wonderful article recently about a fellow Australian, Geoffery Ricardo, an Artist.  He has come up with the most wonderful way to keep memories of a Teddy Bear that we can no longer keep.  He applies a light coat of paint to the front of the Teddy & then presses it against craft paper!  Genius!  Then you can get your camera out, take a photo of Teddy, a photo of the print, and these go into the book or you can frame the print and hang it in your child’s room and say good bye to the smelly Teddy.

Perspex boxes

I love this, it’s one of my favourites. Your child’s first pair of shoes would look beautiful in one and they are not expensive! They have many uses and can look very stylish.

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Finally, while  organising a child’s room I find so many pencils that I could sink the titanic with them!How many pencils do children need?  One packet, one packet of felt tips and maybe one pack of crayons.  I think the best way to store them is in a clear container, I recommend letting go of pencil cases.  Use glass glass jars to store your pencils etc.  You can can put them in individual jars i.e. pencils in one, felt tip in another, crayons another or my personal favourite – Colour code them.  All red in one jar, green, black etc.  Beautiful it makes a real statement!  And before you think that charity shops want your old pencils and pens, they do not!  There are many charities who want donations of old pens and pencils such as http://www.pensforkids.co.uk

Tania, The Mess Goddess’ strength lies in her ability to combine concepts of eastern simplicity and style with practical organisation, spacial-creation and functional storage design. She is always thrilled when a client is amazed that “it all fits”. Tania wants her clients’ homes to not only, look stylish and beautiful, but also, to work well. To find out more about her services browse her website https://www.messgoddess.com/about-mess-goddess 

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