How to Make It Easier to Clean Kids’ Rooms

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.

How do you help your kids with their rooms?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.

Comments

  1. Keeping an empty box is actually a great idea. We’re about to put our house on the market and I struggle to figure out what to do to “quick clean” if necessary. Keeping some empty space like this would help when we get a last minute showing.

    But how do you make sure the box is actively sorted through and put away? I fear we would just end up with lots of now full empty boxes.

    • Rachel Meeks says:

      Sorting through the box is part two of the process, but I try to keep it to just one box.

      • Yes! You could also make a deadline, and if the box is not emptied by the end of the week, all contents go away.

        • I don’t really want to throw my daughter’s things away without her permission, so I’m drawn to your idea of having a trash box right up front in the process.

          Also, it can be overwhelming after already working on the room to then go through the box. A lot of times we’ll take a water/snack/play break for 10 minutes and then come back. I limit the sorting and putting away to only 2-5 minutes (with a timer) since my little one is only 18 months. It mostly gets done and makes it a nice for napping and bedtime.

          • Jennifer says:

            My daughter is 5 years old and I do about the same thing. I have a plastic laundry basket and by bedtime if all the contents aren’t put away then I take the basket and she can’t have those toys for one day.

  2. I just started something that has helped immensely. My kids each have a “treasure box” under their bed. This is just an under-the-bed plastic box with a cover. I tell them that anything that doesn’t already have a place in their room either needs to be thrown away or put into the treasure box. So far there are old valentines, sea shells, pencils, pictures, etc. in the box. When the box is too full, they need to sort through and decide what to keep and what to throw. This makes room clean up much easier.

    • Rachel Meeks says:

      That’s a good idea, and since it’s wide and shallow they can find something without having to dump out everything.

    • Ooh, that is a good idea. My 8 year old daughter especially seems to amass all kinds of little trinkets. We hauled everything out of her room when we got the carpets cleaned a few weeks ago and she loved all the open space when it was empty! She did a lot better than usual sorting out things when it came time to put stuff back in.

    • Yes, having a limited space for them to keep their treasures in helps keep it contained. And it teaches them some important life lessons. My daughter kept a box of rocks under her bed for years. She would add to her collection of “arrowheads” every time she found one. When she was 14, she decided to clean out her room, getting rid of all the little girl stuff. She pulled out that box of rocks, and even though they held some fond memories, she realized they were just pieces of gravel, which she promptly took back out and put in our driveway!
      Bernice @ The Stressed Mom´s last post…Using chore charts to reduce Mom stress

  3. We have one toy box for both of our kids, and that is in their bedroom. All of their toys have to fit in that toy box, or else we start getting rid of things to make room. Downstairs they have a play kitchen which has a basket of play food and a few trucks for my son on the shelf. It makes it relatively easy to clean up, although it might not be completely organized. I wrote about this here http://www.townsend-house.com/2012/03/project-simplify-kids-stuff.html
    Heather´s last post…potato salad recipe

  4. The box is a great idea! I’ve been putting off doing some spring cleaning and organizing our kids’ rooms and I need to bite the bullet and Just Do It. During the school year they don’t play in their rooms very much but we do need a better system for those rooms anyway. Our current challenge is a place for the 5 y/o to keep his Treasures that’s out of reach of the 2 y/o.

    I had a terribly messy room as a child. My parents mostly let it go other than the once or twice a year my Mom would get fed up and clean it. I’m still contemplating how much freedom to give our boys in terms of applying my standards of cleanliness and organization to their pesronal space. Anyway, looking back I realize my problem was too much stuff and that I had no idea how to organize the stuff I did have. I’d like to teach our kids better skills in that area.

  5. In my sons room everything has it’s place. He is 5 years old. Art projects are in plastic bins on a shelf. Color books are in magazine organizers that can sit on a shelf. Games are on another shelf. Small toys and and trinkets are in cloth cubes that fit into a shelving unit (the ones you can buy at Target). Books are in his book shelf, he has little drawers to keep his CD collection in, with his CD player on top of that. He also has a desk that he keeps other art supplies and his leap pad at. Art supplies are in a a plastic rolling drawer unit. Stuffed animals are kept in bins in his closet. He has his own trash can and laundry basket in his room and knows how to use them.

  6. We have a “small, random things box” for my son that I purge profusely. It really does work for us. It is currently one of the “cubbies” in our 3×3 cubbie box (Target), but I like the idea of an under-the-bed box mentioned in one of the comments above. I do the same thing with our house when company is “just down the road” but I stink at purging (or putting away) the stuff in this box. I tend to collect them, piled in the upstairs hallway. Every once in a while I feel brave and just dump the box, without looking inside, into the trash. Maybe I’ll do one today :)

  7. Most kids aren’t taught sorting and grouping, the basic organizing skills, and they are lost later on when it comes to organizing their time and their things.

    You can start when they are very small, by limiting the amount of things they have and teaching them to put things in their proper homes when they’re finished using them.

    To keep from having a bunch of miscellaneous junk boxes, you have to schedule time to go through the “treasure” boxes or “dump” boxes. They are great interim solutions.

  8. I wonder if decorating might be an interesting way to approach making heads or tails out of all that flotsam and jetsum. After all, isn’t decorating what we do to a) improve our interior environment and b) make sense out of our various passions? I have a friend who happens to live in Australia who is quite good at assembling unlikely collections of stuff into wonderful interior environments. http://www.thesocietyinc.com.au/ What better way to start a young creative kid on the road to an improved DIY interior? Painting shelves to hold collections, decorating boxes to hold treasures, ways of actually making the process of organizing into an artistic adventure instead of a purely utilitarian bit of drudge. It also may impact the future collecting of ‘toys’ into a nuanced approach to assembling things in a way that has an affect on all kinds of things within her room.

  9. I’m a new reader here, but I feel like I can answer this question! My kids are 7, 5, 3 and 2 mo. They all share a small room, so it gets thrashed in the blink of an eye.

    I tell my kids to look for the biggest things first, I.e. blankets, pillows, costumes… The things that take over the floor space. That gives us mobility :)
    After that, I ask them to each pick up 4 or 5 things closest to their feet, without picking through it, and put them away.rinse, repeat. I found that if i only asked them to pick up one or two items, they quickly started playing, rather than putting them away. Only my 7yo can do it by himself at this point, and the 3yo would just as soon make a new mess as clean up, so it’s still very hands on.
    That’s what works for us :)

  10. NancyV908 says:

    Great ideas.

    A little off topic, but I am struggling with my 10-year-old daughter’s room. She has lots of “treasures” that she wants to display. They seem random & jumbled to me, but that’s my aesthetic, not hers. :-) Having all that stuff out makes her happy, so I don’t want to force her to sort things into boxes. My challenge will be to encourage her to limit this–she can’t keep adding things to the displays indefinitely–& especially to figure out a way to dust that doesn’t take forever! (She cleans her own room.) At least the floor is mostly clear, & I do require her to store and sort other items (toys, clothes). Also, our shared spaces have to be kept neat and clear, and we do periodic purges.

    Like BethB, I am trying to figure out to what degree to impose my standards of neatness and cleanliness on my kids. I am leaning toward letting them keep their rooms however they want when they are older, as long as they periodically clean–it’s their personal space, after all. (Although I once read of a person whose roommate had grown up like that & accordingly never learned to respect shared spaces.) For the younger ones, I do impose rules in the hope of getting them into the habit of keeping things neat & ordered. We’ll see.

    • For this kind of child, I think narrow open shelves are probably more useful, even if my own preference is to shut things away “tidily” in cubbies, boxes, cupboards or whatever, this little girl would probably like all her things on view.
      I guess she’d have to dust a shelf a week or something, though!

      I also feel strongly that it is good for kids to share space and have some limitations – as you note, it makes life a little less hard later on!!

      • NancyV908 says:

        Yes, she has open shelves. They make her happy.

        That’s a good idea to dust a shelf a week! It’s just too much to do all at once. :-)

    • Perhaps you have a future museum curator on your hands, and in that spirit I would encourage her to think of her collections as things to be displayed the way a museum would do it. They rotate their exhibitions regularly to keep things interesting and fresh. If you visited a museum (particularly one in a house) and teach her museum vocabulary, she might be thrilled to curate her own collections.
      Lori @ In My Kitchen, In My Life´s last post…{pretty, happy, funny, real} Emphasizing "Real" edition

      • NancyV908 says:

        That’s a very good idea! I actually just redid her room, so she has a lot more shelves now. Since the arrangement is new, now is the time to get her in the habit of rotating her trinkets. Thanks!

  11. When my son was 5-14 years old, actually beginning the process of cleaning his room was too overwhelming for him, so while he was in school, I gathered up all the detritus, including clothes, toys, and papers, and piled them up in a pile in the middle of the floor. Then I cleaned the rest of the room, so when he came home, there was one pile in an ocean of clean calm. He soon learned to sort out the mess and deal with each item in the pile. I usually did this every Friday and made the pile liquidation mandatory before weekend fun. He accepted and embraced this method.

    • My mom used to do this when I was about 15-16 years old. I hated it when I walked in to my room to find a big pile of mess, but it did help me to concentrate on cleaning. If she hadn’t done that, there would’ve been mess all over the place so I wouldn’t know where to start. I’d get lost in old magazines etc. This has really helped me in filtering mess: I still concentrate mess first and then start putting things in their right place.

      So, ‘piling’ does work!

      • The pile on the floor was my method when my kids were young, as well. I was always surprised at how much they left in the pile that they didn’t want to keep and they didn’t care what I did with it!
        I still use this idea when cleaning MY bedroom. If I leave it to put a book away, take laundry out, etc. I often get distracted and forget to go back! The box/basket gives me a place to throw all the “other room” stuff so I can stay on task.

  12. My grandson, who had issues concentrating, used to get completely scattered when confronted with a floorful of toys. So, when he was about 3 he and I invented “Pick and Put.” Pick up one thing, and Put that one thing away. Even just reciting “Pick, Put” seemed to help him center. Pick up the teddy bear, Put the bear in the toybox. Pick up the book, put the book on the shelf. Bypass for the moment all ideas of categorizing and sub categorizing. It isn’t fast, but it breaks what seems like an overwhelming task into simple, doable And do you know, it’s useful to force your brain into linear thinking — I used it just last night to clear my kitchen counter. Pick and put. LOL

  13. Rachel, I always appreciate your posts. They are succinct and straight to the point. Thank you for the tips today.

  14. I tend to do this for myself. If I have a pile of stuff that I don’t know where to start, I dump it into a laundry basket, take it out of the room, and sort through it elsewhere.

    Most of the time, if I’ve been holding on to it “just in case” and it doesn’t have a permanent home, I get rid of it. If not, I find a place for it and make sure that it never ends up in the basket again.

    And if I get tired of looking at it all, I dump whatever is left into the garbage (not even kidding). I’m so over Stuff that I know what I need and what I use, so if I don’t recognize it, I don’t need it.
    Jennie´s last post…Creating Memories Before My Children Even Get Here

    • That’s my dirty little secret, too. I try to be good about sorting, donating, reusing, etc, but when I don’t have time or energy and it’s that or let the clutter get out of hand, I dump it all in the trash.

    • I was going to say this also! I totally did this today.

      We also have a very small basket in the living room that we can toss all the random kid things into. We take it to their rooms and put the things away regularly, but it really helps keep the living room looking picked up.

      I love how useful boxes or baskets are for temporarily containing the mess.

  15. I never tire of this topic because I am always struggling to remain patient and kind to my darling children when their room is trashed for the 12th time in two days. I love the idea of a treasure box! I will do that today for my son. I do limit the amount of stuff they can have and I can see the relief on their faces when I clean up and declutter their room. I also make a game out of clean up–I will throw out numbers of things for them to clean up–pick up 11 books or count how many socks you can put away. That sort of thing seems to make clean up not such a monumental task.

  16. We’re just getting to that point with Eleanor, where she loves miscellaneous junk. Birthday party favors, storytime coloring pages…etc. Right now all the oddities fit in one small basket in her room, but I love the idea of a treasure box for when she’s older!
    Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm´s last post…1222: A Hanne Wilhelmsen Novel

  17. My kids each use their nightstand drawer as their “treasure” space. When it’s full, they purge to decide what’s meaningful enough to continue to hold onto, and begin again. They also each have a “tool box” in their rooms which is for items that help them do a job: camera, binoculars, measuring tape, magnifying glass, bug jar, headlamp, etc. Things that seem random can have a shared category and be housed together.

  18. Cindy May says:

    That’s how I clean my room – get an empty box and either put all those loose papers, magazines and whatever other paper items are cluttering up my desk into it. Sometimes I get a box to temporarily store odds and ends I’ve just purchased that I either don’t quite know where to put them or haven’t gotten around to putting away. Unfortunately it’s too easy to sometimes leave everything in the box and walk away since the room looks so much more tidy, but eventually I get around to sorting the contents.

  19. We’re not quite to this point yet; our problem is more that “playing” to my boys means pulling out every toy and piling them in some random spot, like the crib. They love a good project! (And that is exactly why I try not to buy too many toys!) But I’m filing the box idea away for future reference! I also liked the treasure box idea another reader mentioned.
    Erica {let why lead}´s last post…Flaws that Don’t Define Us

  20. We don’t keep any toys in our sons’ room; they play downstairs in the living area. We keep the bedroom just for sleeping, and this was validated for us when we had a home assessment by the American Lung Association and they told us to keep the bedroom as cleared out as possible to minimize dust. This is so important for our kids (one of whom has reactive airways), especially when they’re in a room for 10 hours at a time. It works well and then we only have to keep one area organized. Plus I clear out toys and books all the time; just yesterday took a bag of books to donate to the library and also a bag of toys and books to a friend who has younger kids than ours.

  21. Haha! We do the box clean up too. I bought a stack of red plastic bins from Ikea a while back for under a dollar each. When the house is crazy, I put one box in each room and tell them to put anything that doesn’t belong in that room in the box. My 3 and 5 y/o’s know the drill and it’s kind of fun with music on. Super easy!

  22. I am loving these recent posts. I find the whole bedroom saga one of the most challenging, but also one of the most satisfying when changes and movements are made- love that declutter.
    Tasmanian Minimalist´s last post…Time…You Can Be Too Organised You Know !

  23. Thanks for making me feel better about using an organizer box for the random stuff in my girls room! It has worked but I think I felt bad for not having an immediate answer for every item. You’re so right that we all feel better with these things controlled first. Now to attack the box and not forget about it!

  24. I think the thing is to separate out the two tasks: One of cleaning and the other of tidying. My kids clean their own room once or twice a week – it requires sweeping and mopping the floor and changing their sheets. In order to clean their room it has to be tidy… We don’t tidy all day and everyday but my kids have to tidy up before dinner and before breakfast – somehow waking up always means a huge unpack!!! If we leave our tidying for too long it just becomes overwhelming. Everything has a place really… toys go into the correct box: either it is lego or duplo or zoobs… into the correct box it goes. They each have a shelf for their personal treasures… away they go. Books back on the shelves… height order! There is no laundry – you can drop nothing in our house without my two year old scooping it up and popping it into the washing machine. Shoes are on a shelf next to the front door and all crafts are on a craft shelf in the kitchen… I think the key is a place for everything. The biggest problem with ALL tidying is distraction: the child putting away a book gets caught up in it, the lego gatherer gets caught up in it… Two things really help: We have zones around the house: crafts, toys, clothes and so on.. and things don’t wander too far from their zone; and plenty of kids to help tidy – they never have to work alone there is always someone working alongside them to help keep the focus..

  25. Kids room! I know more than a few adults who could learn from the suggestions here!

  26. I have a question… what do you do with clothes they might have worn once and aren’t dirty (but I don’t want them to throw back in the drawers of clean clothes or dirty enough to go in the dirty clothes hamper)? This was always my biggest issue growing up and now they have the same issue. It turns into a big pile of clothes on top of their dressers that ends up falling onto the floor, etc.

    With the toys we have a lot of clear shoe boxes, so that (almost) everything has a “home” and we limit how many they can take out at a time. But sometimes we still have bits and bobs of random things that find themselves on the floor and it drives me nuts… so the box under the bed (just to clear the floor!) is a great idea. I’d need to find one with a lid though because we have a crawler and most of the older girls stuff are chokables. This can be the solution to “clean up fast”… and then we can go back through it slowly later as needed. I think most likely what will happen is the random items will end up in that box and be forgotten, at which point I can discuss getting rid of those items…. wishful thinking!

  27. I love this! We don’t store most toys in the bedrooms, but my little ones has stuffed animals (on the bed) and favorite playmobil people, matchbox cars and odd things like bouncey balls piled on the dresser and bedside. So I put a very small basket right next to the bed where those tiny toys can live at the end of the day. It really helps exctept more and more little treasures end up in there every day.

    When you mentioned Easter baskets, I wanted to say we have a useful bolga basket for each child to use at Easter every year. The rest of the year they store toys on a shef. They have been used for blocks, play food, etc. I really like this for not needing to store a basket or get a new one each year.

  28. I’ve been trying a method I read about – requiring my kids to clean their bedroom once a week OR pay me to clean it (and also forfeit their allowance). My kids are 10, 8, 5 and 2 (the 2 year old is off the hook), so it’s been hard to be strict about it. But after helping them several times and having them trash the room I finally put my foot down. “Clean your room or pay me $5 a piece.” The 8 and 5 year old didn’t even bat an eye. Though $5 cleaned them out they were happy to pay up instead of clean! So funny! I guess we have a lot more training to do. :)

  29. I’ve found that it was hard for the kids to figure out where to start when they needed to tidy their room. And I wanted them to take their own initiative in cleaning their room, not have mom direct them. I think it’s easier to get a job done when you break it into smaller chunks, so they have a look around at what needs to get done – then make a “six list” on a small dry erase board. They write down six things that need to get done, and mark them off as they go.

    After the six list is done, they get a break if there’s anything left to do, they make another list.

  30. I just had one of those “Why didn’t I think of that” moments readig this. I have a 6 year ols who is going though the same stage still. Not very many toys but hard things to keep and store. I really love this idea and i’ll be teaching her it straight away. Thanks

  31. We don’t go swimming or play any computer (we don’t have a TV) until the rooms are clean. This usually does it :)

    There is a Barbie bin, a dress up bin, a book bin, and a toy box for everything else. We go through the toys every few months and the kids decide what they want to get rid of. They know that I always have a giveaway pile in the house so if they find something cleaning up that they don’t want anymore they bring it to me and we have somewhere to put it. My kids are 5 and 8.

    Thanks for the post. I think kids get overwhelmed easy with messy rooms.

  32. Funny you mentioned this! I just cleaned my daughter’s room with her today. She is eight. I dread cleaning her room, but feel so good when it is done… and we just did the first phase – cleaning the tops of dressers and putting away clothes and random items on the floor! We have a similar system – a trash bag and a laundry basket. We trash the trash, put away items, and put items in the laundry basket that need to be put somewhere outside of her room or gotten rid of.
    Lisa´s last post…Farmer’s Breakfast

  33. That’s how my mom used to have our rooms and how I plan to do my daughter’s. We had a heavy duty wooden box that she wrapped with layers and layers of batting, then fabric and stapled it all down. It was big enough for my brother, two friends and I to all get in and pretend it was a boat…so it definitely held all our toys! Bonus was it was soft and safe to play in!
    Kait Palmer´s last post…Week 33

  34. we are struggling with this! my 4 year old has recently become attached to EVERYTHING (seriously, even things like junk mail- i kid you not). at the end of my pregnancy i didn’t have the energy/ability to clean and i gave them free reign of the upstairs. now with a fussy baby we’re still in the same predicament. i just want the floor clear to their beds right now…hopefully in a few months we can tackle the clutter.

  35. I like the idea of putting everything into a box. We put it all into a big pile but, like you said, if we have to quit early (and we usually do), things look and feel half-decent. We have a basement with a play area but my youngest is a bit of a hoarder and it seems like, slowly, slowly, everything ends up crammed into her bedroom;)
    Kika@embracingimperfection´s last post…Spring Planning: herb garden, eco-lawn, bug spray & nature journaling

  36. Sarah in GA says:

    we have a big, pretty basket. any “extra’s” get dumped in there to be dealt with in more detail at a later time. the challenge is remembering to actually go back and go through it at a later time. :-)

  37. I have a box for trains, a box for matchbox cars/vehicles, a box for tools, and a box for little people and then legos. That is pretty much all our toys. Even my two year old knows the boxes and can put things away. It is so good to teach them when they are young. But the key really is to having a simple system so they are not overwhelmed.
    Johanna´s last post…Grace and My People-Pleasing Self

  38. I think that facing a room that is in disarray can be overwhelming to anyone. I love the idea of putting it all in a box, and then choosing what to keep and where to put it.
    I am going to use this tactic on my closet soon. It is a MESS!
    Bernice @ The Stressed Mom´s last post…Using chore charts to reduce Mom stress

  39. Wonderful. Clear, concise. Easy for them to know if they’ve succeeded. If you were grading – or giving a kudo – easy to know if they hit all 3 points.
    ~
    Dana @Cooking at Cafe D´s last post…Spice Up Your Organization! It’s a Cinch!

  40. i think my kids’ rooms hare the hardest part of the house. i try to teach them how to clean them and give them some sort of organization once or twice a year, but i am always stumped as to how to make them really work well. we go through things and downsize all the time, but having 4 boys, and one more on the way, somehow we just end up with too much stuff and the same problem of not everything having a logical place. my husband just reorganized their books with them and hopefully that helps that area stay decent (until their 19 month old brother dumps them off the shelves again! haha!) i always appreciate ideas on how to deal with kids’ rooms and toys because it really is the hardest part of the house.
    charis´s last post…peace. be still.

  41. Great ideas everyone. My tip is to do a little every day as children’s rooms get out of control so quickly! I try to remember to ask my children to tidy everything away at the end of each day, and I also like to declutter and organize one item or area in each of my children’s rooms every day. I recently wrote a post on dealing with clutter hotspots, and children’s rooms are definitely one of these: http://www.extraorganized.com/2012/01/clutter-hotspots-for-advanced-organizers.html#tp
    Kim @ Extra Organized´s last post…Extra Organized challenge: Improve tomorrow

  42. We just did this the other day. I was inspired by reading your old post about letting your three-year-old decide what toys to get rid of, so I thought I’d give my almost four-year-old a try with it. Of course, my heart dropped a little when I asked about her pink guitar and she said ” Throw it away. It’s broken!” But you know, I probably would’ve hung onto it, with it never being played with. For now, I actually just put it in storage, since it’s just missing a string. Maybe another kid will want to play it?

    Anyway, now to this post. I had to chuckle because we were going through the same things – microphone, vday cards, rings, wand. I finally sorted through all the ‘baby’ toys and books and got those out. For all my daughter’s little treasures, she has a pink bucket (from $1 store) that’s just for her stuff like that. She also has a couple little purses/special boxes she keeps trinkets in, but at the end of the day even those either go in the bucket or on her nightstand. My son’s cars and blocks have a spot, and then all the little “people” type toys go in a spot together too. I’ve been trying to be more conscious about them putting things away before getting out the next project, and so far so good. Feels good to have even that room organized!

    I always enjoy your posts. Just like your methods, so simple and straightforward, not overwhelming. In fact, yours is one of the few blogs I actually check in with regularly anymore just because I know it will be worth my time, and I’ll be motivated to do something to beautify/simplify our home when I’m done! So… Thank you Rachel!

  43. this is brilliant. I want to teach my children how to clean up more than just saying “go clean up!” Thank you for such a useful post.
    Margo, Thrift at Home´s last post…The Powder-Blue Shirtdress (my first!)

  44. No kids but an empty box comes in handy to keep me organized, too.

    In fact, I use TWO boxes. One for the stuff that ended up on the 2nd level that belongs on the 1st level. And one for craft items that need to be put back in their places.

    This method works great to clean up my work place in a hurry. And the next trip downstairs, I take the To-Downstairs Box.
    Donna´s last post…Pattern To My Hexagon Crocheted Hot Pad Is Finished

  45. My kiddo is only two years old but we’re already starting chores by having him put away his little knick knacks in their proper buckets and containers. He actually enjoys doing this and thinks it’s a great game so we’re going to continue making it fun and something he could be proud of.
    Sleeping Mom´s last post…Weekend links: Planting carrots edition

  46. I used to ‘pay’ the kids one small toy (about $5) for each kitchen trash bag full of ‘stuff’ that they took out of their room. My thought was if I trade a garbage bag of ‘stuff’ for a small something….they’ve de cluttered, learned what things they really wanted, and what was just junk. As they got older, they asked if they could save the $5 towards something bigger. As a result, my 5 kids (now ages 17-30 with 2 married) are great at keeping clutter to a minimum.
    TJ´s last post…Celery and Tomatoes Are Up!

  47. Three containers to put stuff in. Brilliant. And makes this process much easier for youngsters.

  48. JenLarson says:

    Thanks for this post! It helped motivate me to tackle my kids’ rooms this weekend…I even got my husband to help out, so he helped our son, and I helped our daughter. The kids were so excited to find toys they had forgotten about, and were good about giving some of the less played-with ones away!

  49. Would love to know how to help a child make the most of limited space and how to encourage your child to let go of things when there isn’t room to keep them “all.” Thanks!

  50. I do this! Keeping my house organized is not something I excel at (to put it mildly) so I’m kinda thrilled that I already do something you suggest :) Only, I admit, I bring in two boxes, kids stuff goes in one and stuff that belongs in other parts of the house goes in the other (I’m always finding my measuring cups, tape dispensers, game pieces, etc that don’t belong in my kids’ room). Then I can take that one box out and quickly go around the house putting just those things away.
    - Barbara