One of my all-time favorite movies is Mary Poppins. One of my all-time favorite scenes in the movie is when Mary Poppins helps Jane and Michael tidy up the nursery. As a young, impressionable child, this scene left a mark on my psyche. Yes, I knew it was movie magic. But somewhere inside, some part of me wished I could snap my fingers and everything I needed to put away would levitate into place. As much as I hoped or even tried, maybe it just might work, it didn’t. Clean-up time is a DIY task.
Having a handful of kids at home, especially a 3-year-old whose playtime tendencies can resemble that of a tornado, I have found the best strategy for clean up time is to limit how many toys the children have, or at the very least, limit how much they are allowed to play with at one time.
I’m still waiting for my gift of a phone with photo-taking ability and internet access (hint hint) to show photos of how I have things arranged. In the meantime, I will describe to you what my kids have and where it is.
In my kitchen, on top of the cabinets I have about 2 feet of space below the ceiling. I keep almost all the toys with small pieces or sets up there in see-though bins. If the kids want something, I get out the step stool and get it down. It’s usually a two-bin limit, but sometimes I’ll allow three. I have wood train tracks, plastic train tracks, colored pegs, Jenga blocks, wood blocks, Zoob, mega blocks, Connex, and Legos. I started putting games with pieces up there, too, as Hurricane Boy would get into them and I would have game pieces everywhere.
In the living room, there is a bookcase with cabinets underneath. In one cabinet, I have 3 or 4 puzzles that belong to the 3 year old.
In the boys’ bedroom, there is a Fisher Price castle that was mine from 35+ years ago. In a basket are the knights, horses, and Little People my son likes to play with. The castle often changes location depending on where the kids want to play with it, but it’s home is the boys’ room.
In the girls’ room I have a 3-drawer see though storage unit. In it is the doctor kit, pretend keys, little cars, and random odd-n-end toys. On one shelf on in the closet I have a folded doll stroller, doll car seat, and clothes. My youngest daughter is 10, and not really into dolls. I’ve debated giving these items away, but since we often have guests who have little girls, I take these items down as needed.
I have one small box on the bookshelf in the girls’ room that has electronic toys needing batteries.
That’s it. Yes, really. Except for a mini-trampoline, balls, and some riding toys that’s all the toys we have that are kept outdoors. I know where everything goes, and so do the kids. I can’t say that they love to clean up, but at least when the chore gets done, they know where to put it.
If you are one of those people who is buried under toys and you are frustrated that the kids “won’t clean up”, take some of the blame off them. The problem is two-fold. They simply have too much stuff and the stuff probably doesn’t have a home. Help them out. For many, ’tis the season to receive gifts. Before the new stuff comes in, i beg you for your own sanity, send some of the unused and unloved things out. If you don’t, the problem will become far worse.
So, while Mary Poppins isn’t going to appear, snap her fingers, and clean up for you, take the Klutter Koach’s Pearls of Wisdom to heart and start decluttering.
Thanks for reading.
The Klutter Koach