Does your home currently look like a disaster zone with toys all over the place? Does it seem like all you ever get accomplished in the evenings and on your days off is cleaning up after your kids? If so, I’m here to help you with 5 simple steps to organize your home, and I can promise you that both you and your kids will greatly benefit from it.
First and foremost, I do want to emphasize that the key element in the success of creating a more organized home is making your kids part of the process. By nature, I think we as moms tend to want to take on everything ourselves since it seems to be “easier” that way, but really we’re just making it that much harder on ourselves.
As a neat freak, I will go ahead and admit to you that when my kids were younger, I used to make the mistake of cleaning up all of their messes and I literally drove myself batty and to the point of tears some days. I would spend hours cleaning our home spotless only to have it wrecked 5 minutes later as my kiddos whizzed through the house leaving trails of toys, books, and stuffed animals everywhere.
Fortunately, I quickly realized that I needed to stop trying to do everything myself and I needed to develop a system that would work for our family. Not only did I want my sanity back, but I also wanted to instill responsibility in my children and teach them to respect both their home and belongings. So if you’ve found yourself in a similar situation and are looking for a solution, I hope I can help offer a little bit of advice and give you techniques that will help you create a more organized space.
5 Steps to Organize Your Home With Kids
Step 1. Create a Designated Space for Your Children’s Toys
One of my number one rules when it comes to cleaning and organization is everything must have a place/purpose. Creating a designated area in your home for your kids and their belongings is crucial in becoming more organized.
If you are fortunate enough to have a playroom, great! If not, that’s okay too. It could be that you have a small corner in your living room, an area in your child’s bedroom, or maybe an area in a family room or basement. Regardless, this is one of the most critical elements in creating a more organized home. The intention behind this is to teach your children to be responsible of his/her belongings and to be mindful that items need to remain in its designated area.
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard other parents complain about their children’s toys being scattered all over the house and I completely understand the amount of heartburn it can cause. If you want to save your sanity, and prevent yourself from stepping on a Lego in the middle of the night (not like I’ve ever did this or anything…), then designate a kids zone in your house. Trust me, your kids will be super excited to have their own play area and they will also gain responsibility in the process.
Step 2. Use Baskets, Cubes, Crates, and Storage Units to Give Items a Home
You’ve figured out a play area for your kids, but now you need to figure out a way to keep all of your kids cars, blocks, and baby dolls at bay. My suggestion is to purchase some type of toy storage unit or chest. I purchased this cube storage system from Amazon along with these bins from target. I even let my boys pick out the bins, which made them even more excited for their play area.
I also invested in this bookcase to house all of their books and some of their bigger toys. If you don’t have a lot of room for a large storage system, I would suggest purchasing a toy chest or a smaller toy organizer that sits up against the wall like this. There are tons of toy storage solutions out there, so shop around and find something that will work best for your space and budget.
Step 3. Develop a Cleaning Routine with Your Children
After designating an area for play and getting an organization system in place, it is now time to develop a cleaning routine. Children thrive on schedules and routine, and unless you want to continually live in a disaster zone, it makes sense to make cleaning/picking up part of everyone’s daily schedule.
Just as you have evening routines with your children in eating dinner, doing homework, bathing, and brushing teeth, it is important to make cleaning part of the evening routine as well. Our personal routine is picking up toys/cleaning right before bath time, but please adjust to your own family’s needs and what works best for your schedule.
Step 4. Make Cleaning Fun
Yes, I realize that cleaning and fun do not typically find themselves in the same sentence, but trust me, you want to make cleaning as fun as possible in order to gain your children’s interest. My favorite cleaning method is setting a 10 minute timer to challenge my kids to clean as much as they can in the allotted time. I actually acquired this idea from my mom, as she used it on me and my brothers when we were younger.
My kids love this as they think of it less as a chore and more as a game, and growing up I can remember it becoming a friendly competition with my brothers to see who could finish first.You will quickly be amazed at what you can accomplish in just 10 minutes, and by making cleaning part of your daily routine, both you and your kids will have more free time in the evenings and on weekends.
Step 5. Practice What You Preach
The last tip really is more common sense, but if you want your kids to stay organized, it is imperative to set a good example for them. Children learn habits (both good and bad) from their parents, and it will be very difficult to get 100% buy in from your children on cleaning, if you yourself do not maintain an organized environment.
Learning to clean up messes as they occur will help prevent you as a parent from becoming overwhelmed. Do not, I repeat do not, wait until the dishes are piled high, or until you have no clean clothes to wear to work before tackling cleaning/chores. It will be much easier in the long run if you tackle a little bit every day, rather than just waiting to spend your entire weekend cleaning up, only to have it rear its ugly head on Monday again.
If your child watches Mom or Dad always take their dirty dishes to the kitchen sink/dishwasher after eating, then they will follow suit. If they understand that dirty clothes belong in the clothes hamper basket, then you won’t end up with piles of laundry on the floor. “Your Child Will Follow Your Example, Not Your Advice.”
So there you have it, my 5 steps to creating a more organized home with children. I hope that these ideas will help you in your own home and if you have any ideas/advice that you would like to share with others, please leave it in the comment section below!
Thanks so much for stopping by! – Cara