I was thinking the other day of how some families pay their kids money for doing extra chores at home. Apparently, my kid was thinking about this too.
When my five-year-old daughter offered to pay me ten quarters to clean her room, I laughed. Then she upped her offer to three euros, and I knew she meant it.
She really did want her room to be clean and pretty, but it was too difficult for her to do on her own. I get overwhelmed at the thought of trying to clean and organize her room, and she’s only five, so how does it make her feel?
We already simplify and declutter the toys, and my daughter is good at that, actually too good. She doesn’t have too many toys or books or even stuffed animals. The issue we’re facing is that some of her stuff is so random, we don’t know where it should go.
For small kids, you can put their toys on a shelf sorted into baskets with logical categories: dolls, blocks, cars, little stuff, and so on.
When I was a teenager, the problem in my room was that I had too many clothes.
At her age level, stuff seems to defy organization. Old Valentine cards from school? Completed craft projects? Those don’t mean that much to me, but they mean something to her, and she wants to keep them. A toy microphone, a fairy wand, an Easter basket…when a lot of things like this are on the floor, it’s tough to know where to start.
I bring in a tool to help simplify the process: one big box.
- If something is trash, put it in the trash can.
- If it’s dirty clothes, put it in the laundry bin.
- Put everything else on the floor into the box.
This simplifies the decision process to only three options. It also helps us to get the floor and surfaces cleaned up quickly so that it’s not so overwhelming to be in there.
When the floor is clear and the room appears to be picked up, we can take one thing out of the box at a time and say, “Okay, where does this go?” and find an organized place for everything. (And if we need to quit early, the room at least looks better.)
I also got the clothes that were too small out of the way, and I’ll try to do better about paying more attention to their bedrooms on a daily basis.