Guest post by Fran Swaine.
You can't see the coffee table for unfinished jigsaws. Just sitting on the sofa means rehoming entire families of teddies. You don't dare walk around without slippers in case you get tiny bits of Lego imbedded in your bare feet.
If your lounge is already full to bursting, you can be forgiven for dreading the toy avalanche that is the festive season. But what can you do about it - aside from banishing the kids to their bedrooms until they're old enough to share your minimalist ideals?
Thankfully, there are lots of clever ways to help your living room cope with all the extra toys Father Christmas brings. Some, like rearranging furniture, won't cost you a penny. Others, like investing in furniture with hidden storage, may be worth investing in. If that's the case, a small loan could help pay for them, as well as the other additional expenses Christmas brings.
Here's our advice on how to get your lounge Christmas-ready:
Out with the old
It's time to accept the inevitable. If you have kids, Christmas means toys and loads of them. So before the big day, start de-cluttering the lounge. Box up rarely-played-with toys to go in the loft or to charity, leaving just a few favorites. Home organization blog Small Notebook has some excellent advice on how to de-clutter toys.
Do some planning
If you're giving your kids something that you know will take a while to put together on the big day, think about assembling it in advance. That way, you'll know just how much space it will take up in your lounge, plus you'll have enough to do on Christmas morning without trying to wade through pages and pages of instructions.
Rearrange the furniture
If you've bought something that takes up a lot of floor space, like a train set or a computer game that sees you dancing round the living room, think about how you can rearrange your lounge to make space. Push back sofas and take any unneeded bits of furniture such as occasional tables upstairs for the time being – you'll be able to get things back to how they were in the New Year.
Get clever with storage
The normal rule of thumb seems to be that the older the child, the smaller the toy. But even small toys can be a pain to store with lots of fiddly pieces to lose. Get lots of separate baskets that can be placed on the bottom shelves of your bookcases, making it easy to scoop all the little pieces away after a hard day's playing. They don't just have to be in boring old clear plastic, either. Go for pretty wicker baskets, retro-looking suitcases or printed boxes in funky colors. If you make them inviting enough, your kids may help you tidy, too.
Coffee tables with hidden storage inside, or even vintage chests that can be used as a coffee table, can be a great investment too, which will last you long after the decorations have come down.
So there you have it. With a bit of preparation, your lounge can absorb all the new toys Santa brings, without it ruining your design ideals.
This guest post was written on behalf of Money Matters, the Sainsbury's Bank blog. The views expressed in this guest post are of the author and not of Sainsbury's Bank. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.
Search this site