I love a tidy home. I find so much value in keeping our home comfortable and inviting and, to me, that means a place for everything, and everything in its place. Sometimes keeping up the house plus the kids’ rooms feels overwhelming and because of that, occationally the kids’ rooms slip off my plate. We all know how quickly a kid’s room can descend into chaos if we ignore them.
Here are some tips I use to keep my kids’ rooms tidy
Don’t have more than they can look after
This advice came from my husband’s grandfather and we’ve passed it onto our children. Kids collect a lot in a single year. From their birthday, to Christmas, to gift bags from other parties and of course, holiday baskets, the inflow of stuff is never ending. As parents, we need to teach our children the value of only keeping what we can maintain. Of course we don’t expect our children to live minimally, but we encoragage conversations about how much we need versus how much we have and we take the time to sort through their things often. We remind our six-year-old that if he has too much to clean up every night, then he has more than he can look after and it’s time to cut back.
If your child is a habitual collector, like mine, you might not be able to save the purge for spring cleaning. Anytime you notice the little piles start to form, make a plan to go through the entire room and purge. Bring a laundry basket with you and start tidying up. Anything that doesn’t immediately have a home goes into the basket. All surfaces are cleared and the floor is completely picked up. Once all the obvious toys are away, sift through the basket for any trash, broken toys, or dirty laundry. Next put away any keepers that found their way into the basket. Anything left over is most likely junk. If you can’t bring yourself to throw it away, put the whole basket out of sight. If your child doesn’t ask for those things in a few days, throw them out.
Have a good storage system
We use these clear plastic shoe boxes to keep our toys sorted. I like that we can see exactly what is stored inside each box and they stack and store really well! If all of the toys don’t fit into the box, I know it’s time to go through them and throw out anything that is broken. I avoid one big box for all the toys. It’s tempting as an easier way to clean, but it can be overwhelming to your kids when it’s play time and has the potential to be dumped every single day.
Keep toys organized
Using smaller plastic bins helps us keep the toys actually sorted, not just stored away. We can quickly take stock of how many dinosaurs he has or how many Hot Wheels cars he owns. The bins stack on his shelf and any larger toys stand along the wall. Collections that aren’t toys, like figurines or a rock collection, have a designated place on shelves or the dresser top. While they might migrate during play time, they should always findtheir way back to the place at the end of the da.y
Don’t overfill the space
Have a designated space for toys like a shelf or a closet. When that space is at capacity, it’s time to reduce again. Something simple like a crate shelf or a book shelf is perfect for stacking the plastic bins I mentioned.
Pick up every night
Each evening, we do what I call a total reset of the house. It’s part of our evening routine. We clean the kitchen, straighten the living room, and put all the toys back in their place. Nothing is left out. Just before bath time, each child is sent into their own room to tidy up. Toys are put in their boxes, art supplies are put away, and creations are tucked up on the shelves. This reset each night keeps the mess and clutter from becoming overwhelming during the busier parts of the week.
Start a toy rotation
If you find your child just has too much but you can’t seem to get rid of them, start a toy rotation! This will eliminate some of the mess each day and breath new life into those old toys.
Check out this article to help – Starting a Toy Rotation
I encourage my children to start cleaning their rooms as early as they are able. That’s probably much earlier than you think! If you wait until your child seems ready to teach them how to look after their own room, they will never learn. I don’t know exactly when we started, but if your baby can pick up a toy, they can drop it in a basket. It can be fun for them too! It’s not the quickest way to clean up a room, but if you think of it as an investment in their well-organized future, it’s worth it. I understand that my six-year-old will do a six-year-old job and I’m ok with that. He’s learning the value of looking after his own space. I don’t look for perfection most of the time, just a good effort in looking after and cleaning up his things.