Saturday, June 28, 2008

Making Due with the Space We've Got

Orgjunkie does a monthly round-up, collecting posts from people about a specific room in their house that they're organized. This month it's playrooms.

This would be one area in our home that we struggle with a lot. We live in a modest size home, the rooms are not large and we do not have an extra room for a playroom. Couple that with two kids that have too many toys, and you've got a mess! Our t.v. room has become a playroom, because it's where the majority of toys are stored. Both kids have toys in their room and then several big sets of toys in the t.v. room.

The things we have done to up the storage are to have the Hubs' dad build some shelving with storage cupboards and a lego table I recently picked up at a garage sale (score!). It was a drive-by find, we were on our way to the grocery store.

This room gets horribly messy, especially when the kids have had a whole day in there, which has been a lot lately with all of the rain we've been getting. A new goal we've tried (try being the operative word) to maintain is having the kids pick up their messes a few times throughout the day, so that the toys don't go knee-deep! I've also weeded out toys a few times a year so that things they don't really play with or that they've outgrown get passed on to someone who would use them.

My biggest challenge recently has been to instill some good habits into my children. With a 4-year old and a 2-year old, it can be like having two tornadoes in the house 'round the clock. We are trying to teach them that they are responsible for their own messes. If anyone has tips or tricks on how to make this work, let me know!


Homesteader in Training said...

You've gotta love the secret storage solutions. I love it. Great Job!

Kristi said...

Wonderful job. When my girls were little we sang the old barney "clean up song" as we picked up toys. They had to pick them up before bed each night. Baskets are a fun way to clean up too. They can make a game of it by trying to toss toys into the baskets. As they got older we would set the timer for 5 minutes and they had 5 minutes to quickly put all of their toys away. With labeled places for toys it makes it easier to put them away. We made it a fun game and it worked.

Lynne said...

Great job organizing!
I know what you mean about keeping the daily playtime mess under control. I play a game w/ my son called "the clean up game" (really original-hehe) I set a timer (for about 5 -7 min) and we "race" to see who can clean up the most toys. The winner gets a sticker or a lollipop (to enjoy while I cook dinner). I make sure he always wins and does most of the cleaning! HEHE! Good luck!
Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Excellent table. Lego is my least favourite toy for cleaning and organizing.

I spent a small fortune on tubs with flip lids and toys go in there as sorted by theme. And the kids can have one or two tubs down at a time and then must clean them up before getting the next.

Mama said...

Love your table and storage.

I like the bin thing, too. If you can take a picture of what goes in them, print them and affix to the bin it makes it even easier. It does have to be specific- more like, cars or dishes or jewelry.

A friend (Don Askey's mom) told me all she could remember about when her kids were small was "Kids, kids, kids, mess, mess, mess" It just goes with the territory.

Here are some links to NPR (National Public Radio). It tells how picking up is part of executive thinking- I' d never thought about that. It' something to think about.



Hope you can get to these.

I'd also say. Some days are like that. If you get to rigid about picking up your kids may opt to not play. Balance, balance, balance, enjoy life!!!!

Mama said...

I can't believe I left out NOT. "IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE SPECIFIC". You don't need a bin for necklaces & earrings & tiaras- just jewelry.

Anonymous said...

We are big fans of "Beat the Clock" on days when the toys are everywhere, we set the clock for 10 minutes (or less) and see how much we can get picked up before the timer goes off. We usually don't use all the time and the kids love it when they are finished before the timer goes off.

Kate said...

That Lego table looks great.
My children are also 4 and 2 and we joined the House Fairy program ( a few weeks ago. Since then the children's rooms have been spotless and they love it.

Swistle said...

I struggle with this too: the clutter, and the trying to give good habits to kids when my habits are not so exemplary.

Two things I've found with the kids:

1) They pick up better and more happily if we're all working together---even if I'm doing MY chores (dusting, vacuuming, dishes) and not helping to pick up their toys.

2) They even LIKE it if I give orders. I'll sit in a chair nursing the baby or working on a journal, and I'll say, "Robert, please gather up those coloring sheets and put them in the recycling. William, please put the Legos into the bin." And then Rob comes racing back and I give him his next assignment. They actually seem to LIKE what I would consider over-management, and they tend to drift around aimlessly if I just say "Pick up, please."

Mimi said...

Here was something my mom did with us (and now does with the grandkids). Put one thing away before the next comes out: Barbie house? Sure you can, but first put the legos away. Circle time with all your stuffed animals? Of course, but first let's put away the Barbie house. Mind you, if you want to use the legos to build an addition on the barbie house, that's allowed, but you see how this strategy can help, huh?

Org Junkie said...

What a great garage sale find, I'm so jealous!

My favorite trick with the kids is that anything left out after they clean is mine and they have to earn it back. Works like a charm! Some of the time they totally forget about it and then I know it can go.

Thanks for sharing your space!