February 24, 2012

Recently I talked about the different toy storage systems I have tried over the last 14 years throughout my playroom. You can read all about it here.

 

Upon writing the above, it gave me the motivation, determination and inspiration to actually go and clean out the mess that had accumulated over the many enduring weeks of the school holidays. You can see the before and after pictures here.

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Now I can be unrealistic and say that my new set up is now ‘perfect’ and it will never be disorganised ever again…..well, this is totally WRONG.

How do I know this? Because, I have lots of little kids ~ BOYS in particular and to make matters worse a 3 year old boy!

This 3 year old of mine would make a good Demolition or Construction Worker as he could create chaos and mess in the playroom in the space of 10 minutes quite easily.

Obviously cleaning the playroom every day is the best option so it doesn’t end up the way it did over the school holidays. Keeping it tidy requires the help of many helpers ~ ‘many hands make light work’, therefore I make it a family task or one or two children have this job.

Chores are important in this busy household and with many helping hands, tasks can get done quicker, especially the playroom.

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If the kids were home to help me the other day (though I didn’t mind the day home alone to get through the mess), it would have been done in half the time it took me.

The main areas that always seem to be out of order in my playroom are:

Bookshelf and Books

Of course it’s impossible for a child to remove only one book and the whole shelf of books has to be removed as well. As for my 3 year old, he just treats books like they are dominoes (I did say Demolition Worker didn’t I) and throws them all over the floor.

Lego & Blocks

These get tipped out at an alarming rate, WHOOSH and are either played with for days on end or for about 10 minutes. The worst thing about these toys is they tend to hide in the most unique places and during the ‘black of night’ the pieces develop tiny legs which happen to become active the moment you walk up a dark hallway or into a child’s bedroom to check on the little darlings sleeping in their beds. I firmly believe that Lego was invented as a form of torture. If any of you have trodden on one of these, then you will know the experience I am referring too.

Puzzles

Again, these are very similar to the Lego; out they go all over the floor and played with for a short amount of time. I highly recommend parental supervision while a child is using puzzles. After going through my box recently; I found several pieces missing (others found in odd places around the room) and some had just completely vanished.

Toy Box

This as you may have seen from my before/after photos is a hot spot for mess. When the kids are on playroom duty, they seem to think “mum wont know, lets hide it in here” (a bit like in a wardrobe right). WRONG. The toy box is not the rubbish bin *sigh*.

So, cleaning the playroom is something every child can learn to do from a very early age.

From the age of 1 (when they are first learning to stand and possibly walk) they can quite easily pick up a toy and put it in a box or container.

2 year olds can even have a game of picking up toys and putting them away. They often will copy a sibling or parent too.

From the age of 3 – 5 they can also help a lot more and are even quite capable of sorting the toys correctly (cars and trucks together, or blocks into individual boxes).

From 6 or 7 they can sort books in sizes, do the puzzles and give the room a thorough clean (which includes also using a vacuum).

By the age of 10 and above, they can clean the whole thing themselves without the aid of mum or dad.

So when you have tasks or chores to be done around the home, it is a good idea to have a routine or chore chart set up too.

Each family is different and will decide what is required of each member of the family. Our chore charts are pretty simple, and easy to follow for each child. You can take a look here “Where do I begin”?

Don’t be discouraged; with a bit of know how and simple organisation tips your household can be tidy too. As I said ‘many hands make light work’.

Please head over to No Excuses! Easy organising for large families as there are many other great organisation ideas, recipes and household hints you might be interested in.

Otherwise here are a couple of other cleaning and organising tips to get you started:

When the pile is too big

Organising and tidying the linen closet

Main image courtesy of Shutterstock.com


  • I have just sorted out the toy baskets and removed the ones that are “too young” and passed them on to people with younger kids, returned those that I had been loaned, put some aside for when youger children come to visit etc.
    The toys that are suitable for the 2 visit regularly are now in two toy cubes in the bottom row of shelves of the entertainment unit. Two others have books in them and one has craft gear in it. I am going to put the toys for little ones in a separate container with a lid on it.

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  • Such a good list. Thank you.

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  • great idea for teaching our little ones rules and responsibilities

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  • thanks for sharing this…

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  • Nice examples, thank you for sharing!

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  • love this article and I am going to let my 10 year old read it out loud for her and her siblings to hear maybe it may work

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  • New year and new hope for getting my child to do his chores. At the moment it’s no pay for no chores! It is my aim to get this happening.

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  • I learnt a LOOONG time ago the difference between dirty mess and clean mess.

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  • My daughter always helps me with most of the chores around the house and gets upset if she isn’t able to help. She especially loves helping with clothes washing, it’s good fun!

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  • I find making it a competition for my kids works best. If they think they are competing for whose the quickest or can pick up the most it gets done in a flash. Generally I don’t have to have a “prize” either, and it teaches two things at once. How to help clean/tidy and how to deal with losing as they cant all win every time.

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  • We set the timer and see if we can tidy up before it runs out, has only even beat us a few times.

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  • my child has learned nowadays and helps me while arranging,, great article..

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  • I made the mistake early on of doing it all and now in their teen years, they expect it all done for them, they make a mess they expect me to clean it.. I have started with chores for them but it is a tough process..

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  • Thanks for sharing this interesting article and suggestions.


    • Also; good to get the kids started early on tidying up/chores!

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