The moment you have kids you’ll find yourself in the world of a special kind of clutter, one that will take up space on every surface and cover your floors in no time flat. From toddler blocks to Legos, you’re going to be dancing through the minefield of tiny toys unless you do something fast to get things under control. How do you keep the house tidy? Where do you even begin?
Recognize Everything Starts in the Ground Rules
Tell your kids they can’t play with something new without first putting away the old toys. Trying to sort pieces from multiple activities results in lost time and lost items. Keep things from getting out of control right at the start.
Have a Place for Everything
Every toy and craft supply should have some regular storage place. It can be anything from a fancy system of drawers and closet organizers to recycled shoe boxes. The important thing is to make sure anything new that comes into the house has someplace where it lives, nicely tucked away in a tidy spot until needed. Try sticking to the practice of getting rid of something old before bringing in something new, to keep from running out of space.
Set a Supervisor
By creating a clean-up routine without song or dance, making the room tidy becomes fun. Include your child in this process though. Appoint them the “clean-up supervisor,” in charge of ensuring everything is put away properly. Kids love having authority, which makes this aspect of the game appealing. If you have multiple children, be sure to rotate who’s in charge, so everyone gets a turn.
Create Personal Bins for Belongings
Designate a box or basket with the child’s name on it for their stuff. Keep it somewhere central in the house, so both you and child have a place to store items during the day. Make a practice of putting lost items in the basket, and have your child take their basket upstairs to their bedroom at the end of the day to empty it and put away the items stored within. That keeps you from excessive clutter all over the house.
When All Else Fails, Take Things Away
The child who refuses to clean up sometimes needs a little tough love. Items left out after being asked to pick up should be removed by the parent. Don’t be afraid to make the child earn back the toy by doing extra chores around the house.
The important thing when dealing with kid clutter is to remember your child needs to be a part of the clean-up process. Teaching them good habits now about how to keep things tidy is going to serve them for years to come.