I hate to clean. Truly. Maybe hate is a strong word, but I definitely don’t like it. Cleaning takes away from more exciting things like playing, going on field trips, and creating projects. It takes me away from writing and reading and painting. And it’s definitely NOT fun.
I especially dislike cleaning up after other people. Let’s be honest, when you have kids, 80% of the mess is theirs anyway. Dishes, laundry, toys on the floor, it’s all theirs.
Because I hate it so much, I had to design the functions in my house to help contain it as easily as possible.
Aside from taking a garbage bag and leaving the kids with an empty room, there are other solutions.
So here’s my best secret, are you ready?
The bedroom is for sleeping only.
Did you catch that?
This means that almost all of the toys are contained in the toy room and the kids share a bedroom. Their clothes are in their bedroom, their bedding is in there, they have a bin for stuffed animals (all 15,000 of them), a couple of bins for dress-up clothes, a shelf for knickknacks and piggy banks, and their beds and bedding.
Do you know how this revolutionized my life? It used to be that we were cleaning toys from everywhere. And they switched rooms that they belonged in and it was a confusing mess.
Because if you’ve watched Toy Story, clearly the toys move on their own when no one is looking.
The truth is, this method has simplified everything. When they clean their room they can easily pick up the bedding and the stuffed animals. They can see the clothes and throw them in the laundry.
When they clean the toy room they can put the toys back in bins or on shelves, they can put books away near where they go, and the Legos mostly end up in the Lego bins. I don’t have perfectly labeled bins and while I would love to sort and do that, it made me a little nuts trying to manage it, so if it ends up back in A bin, ANY BIN, I’m cool. But for blocks and Legos they do have their own special bins, and those are easy to keep cleaned up.
What used to take even me almost 2 hours to clean up now takes maybe 30 minutes if I have to step in to help.
While I have visions of perfectly clean toy rooms, the truth is, I love that my children are blessed to have a place to play, imagine, create, and just be kids. They don’t need me obsessing every time they walk away from a toy to clean it up instantly. Unless it’s in the hallway. Or the living room.
My house isn’t perfectly clean, but my children are healthy and happy and that’s more important to me than a magazine-ready space.
So how do you manage the mess? How do you make it easier on yourself to help your kids pick up after themselves?