Re-claiming family space with the Clutter Inspector

by Creative Homes

Lead Artist Helen Maier tells the story of how one family took control of their clutter to make more space for play.

“We’ve collected so much stuff as a family, things just pile up and I don’t even know what we have anymore”, says Sami. We’re standing in Sami’s family dining room, the large window sills and shelves around the table are piles high with toys, games, papers and craft materials.

“I’ll start an activity with the kids and then it just gets forgotten in all this clutter”, she says “Look Aaron, here’s that volcano we started making”.
“My volcano”, says Aaron (5) reaching up to take the triangular mound of paper-mache and showing it to his little sister Freya (2).

 “I know I should clear all this up but I don’t even know where to start”. – Sami

A week later the Clutter inspector is standing in the middle of Sami’s family dining room. Five coloured mats are laid in a line on the floor. Our musician Jay strums his guitar as Aaron, Freya, mum Sami and dad Russel jump along the mats with the Clutter Inspector singing: “we need to collect, sort, store, create, display”.

Tool belts and magnifying glasses out, fake moustaches stuck on the family hunt through their dining room collecting all the clutter onto the yellow mat. Soon it’s piled high with mounds of loose pencils and crayons, scrap paper, half started art projects, unopened board games and much more.

Aaron and Freya help sort through it all deciding with their parents what to keep, what to throw away or recycle and what to give away.

The family use the empty cups and containers from the things they threw away to store art materials and arrange all the play materials neatly along the window-sill. In just an hour and a half the family has transformed their cluttered and uninviting dining room into an inspiring and easily accessible place for play.

Now the family have a regular routine for de-cluttering, something they do together and which is everyone’s responsibility. When the clutter starts to build and its time to tidy up they get our their coloured mats, turn on the Clutter Inspector song and “collect, sort, store, create and display together”.


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