|Logan's room is around the bookcase. Notice the "emergency path" he made before going to bed.|
Today, I had enough of the playroom, and decided to tackle that project with the help of 7 kids. I have to say, I was able to successfully get done what was needed, but this was the hardest job I've tried to do with the kids. I would clean one area, and of course, that's where they would want to play.
I cleaned out an area (that will soon be for my crafts) to give the babies a safe place to play from all the mess. The 9 month old played in the playpen, and the older ones were able to help me sort through toys. I picked up all the big stuff, then literally, used the doodle mop to push all the small toys, paper, crayons, to the center of the room. I was very tempted to sweep it all to the garbage.
It is finally clean!!! I love having a playroom, but it is really hard to keep it all cleaned and organized (sharonized). When it's time to play I don't want to have to search for things. Hopefully, this will also help the children learn the importance of organizing and keeping their spaces clean for the future. Start good habits now, right?
I implemented organizing practices that work in the rest of the house. It may take more effort, but maybe it will help in there too. I made a list of a few things I do to help ease kid clutter.
1. Keep it as simple as possible. I love to organize with baskets and labels, but let's be real. That rarely works for kids. Instead of trying to divide toys into their own individual box, I try to make more general groupings. I put all babies together, trains, cars, etc. Sure, I would love all the Barbies separated from the fairies, and the comic book guys separated from the Mario people, but that's just too much. I try to think more like a kid.
2. Once everything is nicely grouped, there is always that pile of toys that just doesn't fit anywhere. Cell phones, cameras, play weapons, and happy meal toys that they have to keep. I have bins with each of the kid's name for those kinds of things. They mostly know what is theirs, so they can quickly toss them in the right bin.
3. With the toys grouped, many are in containers that are not easily opened by little hands. I do like the fact of free play, but I don't like everything pulled out at one time, as it has been lately. With the inability to dump everything out at once, they are forced to ask for help. That gives me the chance to have them clean up what they were playing with before starting with something else. It really works well, t just takes a little more on my part.
4. These kids love to color. I think they would color all day. With lots of coloring, comes lots of papers. My kids love to play with their papers once they've been colored. I probably tossed an entire coloring book of papers this morning. I enjoy their creativity, but I don't need to keep everything they draw. I allow them to stick a picture a day on the backdoor with magnets, and we have 4-12x12 cork boards in the playroom to display art. Every Friday the art gets tossed for a new week. (normally)
5. We start as early as possible with teaching our kids to pick up their toys. I don't have to have a spotless playroom every single night, but it would be nice to see the floor. The kids usually do a quick clean sweep at night (marshmallow time). They start in one room and pick up as quickly as possible. They try to "win" by cleaning their spaces before I finish cleaning the kitchen after supper. Once each room is clean, they each get a marshmallow. This may seem really small, but they love it!
I am always having to come up with fun new ways to keep the kids excited about picking up. The older they get, the more of a chore it becomes.
How do you get your kids to pick up, without driving yourself crazy?