Okay so we’ve all been there before. It’s 5:30, you’re hustling to figure out what magical meal you’re going to put on the table for dinner and all the while you look around and you see nothing but chaos. The table is littered with papers from school, art from earlier that day, napkins from when your 2 year old spilled and “cleaned up”. Toys of all random assortments are meticulously thrown about in random parts of the floors. All the pillows from the couch are on the floor being used as a landing zone for when the kids played Peter Pan just moments before. You hear kids laughing one moment, and crying in the next. And let I remind you… this sensory overload all happens over the course of 2 minutes tops. It’s enough to make anyone go mad, and I know for certain I am not the only mama with scenes like this to be common.
So here’s the rub… kids should be kids. Watching them make memories, running around like dinosaurs, color and play together is one of the sweetest scenes a parent can see. However, the OCD in me struggles with the balance of how to allow that scene to unfold, but still maintain order and be able to relax when they go to bed at night.
Here’s my top tips that I have found to bring me much more peace and organization!
- Have the kids help! Before we go play with friends, have tablet time, go to bed, or any other transition… we do a quick round up! I have the kids tidy the toy room, take care of the items they had been playing with, and put them away. I know it may sound like a lot, but if you do it a few times a day, it truly doesn’t take long at all and it’s much easier to manage! Use transitions to your advantage! “I am going to the store, and if we can hurry and tidy, you can come with me and we can look at the toys!”….. “I am about to make lunch, and if you can put your dinosaurs away, you can help me get out the goldfish!” Kids are VERY reward driven!! Use that to your advantage! even if it’s not a big mess, have them help you take 10 seconds to fix the pillows. Less clutter in your space, means less clutter in your mind! And if you have a hard time persuading them..
- Blast some music! My kids are super into the Hamilton soundtrack right now, so I challenge them to see if we can clean the toy room before the first song is done, and sure enough, most of the time it works! They laugh, move quickly and then we have a quick dance party!
- Have a basket for items to take up or downstairs. For us, toys trickle down and it is super helpful to have a basket that you can quickly toss upstairs items in so the next time someone goes up, they can take that with them and things don’t get left downstairs all day long. My favorite are these bins from the dollar tree!
- Have a place for everything. When we revamped the toy room before school started, I made sure there was a place for everything, and the kids knew where everything belonged. This helps so much because when we are tidying up, we can break down the mess into sections and I’ll ask how I can help, and they’ll say “I’ll do the dinosaur bin, and you do the magnatile bin.”! It’s very helpful and takes a huge mess into something much more manageable! Everyone takes a zone, and it takes no time at all!
- Focus on the good. Sometimes it’s hard to get kids excited about cleaning or organizing, but if you focus on the reward at the end of the chore, they’re focusing on that rather than how hard it is to clean, or how long it’s going to take.
So there you have it! Those are my quick top 5 tips to ease the burden of clutter and manage your home and family with a little more ease! What are your favorite tidying tips that have worked for you? Please share some with me in the comments!