Are you tired of living in minimalist hell with clean kitchen work surfaces, cream coloured floors and soft buttermilk sofas? Do you find yourself yearning for the homely clutter or her next door? Well look no further, this handy five-part guide will give you the lived in house you always dreamed of.

1. Make sure you have a strict ratio of more children than adults. Preferably three of the children should be under the age of four, past this age and they begin to lose the desire to throw everything wantonly all over the floor. The ratio of people to bedrooms should also be high, the smaller the house the better.
Provide the children with easy access to small plastic things, a ball pool is good, lego bricks, coins and building blocks are brilliant. Make sure they have easy access to the cereal boxes and packets of raisons, small children like nothing better than scattering them over the floor and walls and treading them in the carpet. Frequently allow your children to use pens, glue, play doh, clay, stickers and paint. Don’t worry about the age restriction on any of these items, children seem to have a natural ability to find the nearest surface and decorate it.

2. Take up a new hobby – or two. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it takes up lots of time and energy – leaving you with less for housework. I find blogging and running are perfect.

3. Never, ever, hire a cleaner, maid, au pair, carpet cleaner, or invite your mum to stay for the weekend. This will result in a return to order.

4. Have a strange, slightly debilitating condition whereby you have something in your hand and then you forget where you put it. Never put anything back in the same place twice. Spending time looking for that set of keys is a bonding experience and good for the children’s spatial awareness. If you are attempting cleaning, never finish a job, sit down and have a cuppa, check Facebook and Twitter, mill about for a bit, start one thing and then remember you need to do something else. If you leave the room to do something productive, forget what it is and have to go back. Leaving the ironing pile for as long as possible, possibly until it starts to topple over. Just make sure there aren’t any small children underneath first.

5. Never leave a shop or supermarket without acquiring a few new things. Small items like hair clips and stationary are wonderful for this. Try to get something completely new so that it doesn’t already have a box to go in. Also form an emotional attachment to some items so you find it hard to part with them – books take up lots of space and attract dust so will suit the purpose brilliantly. Cut out pages of magazines to read again later, and collect boxes and cartons just in case you need them for a craft activity.


Hang on a minute – I’ve just read the Friday club prompt again. We’re supposed to be writing about how to declutter your house. Well I’m afraid I know nothing about that – but hopefully someone at Notes from home does!