Louisiana children have several days off of school this week thanks to the Mardi Gras Holidays and Texas children will be out of school celebrating spring break over the next few weeks. When my children were of school age, we would use these holidays to kick start our spring cleaning saving the warmer summer months for beach trips because who wants to be at the beach in 40-degree weather? Well actually I might…LOL. At any rate, today we are talking about cleaning and organizing the rooms your children use.
Between Christmas, birthdays, and the ever-doting grandparent, it doesn’t take long for toys to take over a home becoming the main décor element. Ask any new parent about their home life and the first thing they will tell you is that their home is overrun with toys.
For years I kick started my spring cleaning over Mardi Gras or Spring Break holidays by decluttering and rethinking our toy situation. Most years it was simply too cold and wet to plan outdoor activities so getting my kids onboard with the interior spring cleaning was relatively easy. Enough time had passed for their Christmas toys to settle in and for the older toys to embrace their new status as either a classic favorite or destiny with the donation pile. By encouraging my children to participate in the process of sorting and purging I taught them the valuable lessons of decluttering, organizing and donating.
Some years we even used this time to redecorate their bedrooms or play spaces which was a fun bonus! This is a huge motivator to adolescent girls ages 9 – 15 whose tastes flip from pink and green to orange and turquoise like a young gymnast learning how to do a back handspring. It’s also a huge motivator for a junior high boy eager to get rid of Thomas the Train décor!
If toys are your home’s main decor theme, stick around to see how our CHAOS Method can help you take control allowing you to take back at least part of your home.
C – Clear, Categorize, Clean
The first step in spring cleaning your children’s play spaces is to gather all the toys into one room. Then sort them into categories. Toys oftentimes fall into these categories:
Puzzles and games
Blocks and Legos
Cars, trains and trucks
If you don’t wish to see the huge pile of toys, which I must mention is quite beneficial in getting your child to understand just how many toys they own, then pick a category like dolls for instance and make a game of gathering every doll in the house. Set a timer to keep your child on track.
H – Helpful or Hurtful
Now that you have gathered and categorized the toys it is time to decide whether the item is helpful or hurtful. We do this through questions like:
“Do you still play with this toy?”
“Do you have all of the pieces to play this game?”
“Is this toy broken?”
“Have you outgrown this toy?”
I’m sure you can add to this line of questioning.
A - Action
If it’s broken or missing pieces it is ready for the trash pile. If the toy is in good condition but your child has outgrown its usefulness, put it into the donation pile. Discuss how helpful your children are being for freeing up space in your home for new treasurers and how excited some kid will be with this new toy.
We have a saying in our home…”It’s not new but its new to me!” This encouraged our children to embrace the idea of recycling and upcycling.
O - Organize
Evaluate whether your existing storage solutions are working. If not, why? Colorful bins and fun containers can be a motivating source to get your child to put their toys away properly. Scroll down for some examples of how we incorporated storage bins.
S – Simplify
Create age appropriate labels that your child can interpret. Notice I said interpret not read. The goal is to teach your child from an early age that putting their stuff where it belongs is part of playtime. Pictures work well for young children.
The process of decluttering and organizing the playroom can be very overwhelming. It’s important to teach your children the lessons of living an organized life as this will impact them in their schooling and throughout their adult lives.
Please don’t hesitate to call us for help. We have many strategies to get your kids on board with this process. Taking care of your home is a family responsibility and should not weigh heavily on the shoulders of one or two people.