When you’re sharing your home with little ones, taking basic security precautions becomes second nature.
We automatically think of covering plug sockets, using fireplace guards and turning saucepan handles towards the back of the cooker. We keep small items out of reach, especially glass or breakable things or anything a little person could choke on. We might even change over some furniture, replacing a glass coffee table with a solid one for instance.
But what else can you do to make your home safe for small people? Organising furniture and possessions with good storage can help, with the added advantage of making it easier to keep things tidy.
From self storage to home storage, here are some ideas:
- Maximise space
Observe how your family uses the space at home. Are there some furnishings that just get in the way without having a practical use? Renting a self storage unit could let you reclaim space at home without permanently getting rid of items you may need in the future. Spare beds are an example. If you have a guest room that’s barely used, could that become a playroom or office/study?
We tend to think rooms upstairs have to be bedrooms, but they are just ‘rooms’ and can be anything you want. Using self storage for existing bedroom furnishings means you can quickly swap back if and when you need the extra bedroom again.
- Create activity zones in children’s rooms
Try making a quiet corner with a small bookcase and beanbag to sit on. With many parents trying to encourage children away from screens, starting early with an old-fashioned book case for entertainment could help. Children can easily reach all their books without having to climb on furniture, and know exactly where to put them back so favourites don’t get lost.
It’s also quick and easy to pick out bedtime stories. And you could make play zones with activity mats on the floor, and install child-height shelving for soft toys or collections of smaller items held safely in transparent tubs or baskets.
- Make a computer corner in the living room
A small workstation for the computer or laptop doesn’t take up much space but it helps to keep all office supplies in one place. Install a shelf above the workstation to hold reams of paper, the printer, and all the other office bits and bobs that could be dangerous for little children to play with.
If your living room is large enough, try turning a bookcase out from the wall to make a room divider. Placed next to the computer this provides somewhere to hold text or reference books and creates an illusion of privacy that older children might appreciate.
- Create specific zones throughout the house
Even small changes can help to make a safer, more organised home. A shoe rack in the hall, close to the door, encourages everyone to store their shoes off the floor so no one trips over them. If you have a handy cupboard under the stairs, see if you can fit it in there.
If your children like being with you in the kitchen, or you like them there so you can keep an eye on them, you could think about having a kitchen cupboard just for kids’ activity items. Colouring books and crayons, puzzles or play baking sets — whatever keeps them occupied while you’re preparing a meal. Having a handy cupboard also makes it easy to pack up when dinner is ready.
- Declutter with seasonal storage
This is a brilliant strategy for decluttering the house and garage. A small self storage room acts as a kind of overflow for anything that only gets used for part of the year, such as summer garden furnishings, or sports equipment during winter.
Or you could pack up all the family’s summer clothes and put them safely in self storage for a few months. They don’t have to be folded – keep them in good condition by using free-standing hanging rails or chests of drawers in your storage unit.
An organised wardrobe, filled with the clothes you wear and need, is surprisingly liberating. You’ll also find things feel fresh again when you retrieve them in a few months. For the magpies amongst us, it’s also a way of keeping hold of things you can’t bear to part with without having them underfoot at home.
Good storage, in or out of the house, helps keep the home safe and cosy for all the family, especially the smaller ones with their never-ending curiosity and sense of adventure.