Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cleaning Up Kids - Day 8

 Here are some of my favourite kid storage ideas.
Hope you enjoy!

So great to make use of  the space under the bed, especially when wheels are involved!

Clear, easy categories.

I think you've caught on by now to my love of photo ledge book shelves,


as well as spice racks.

It works for stuffies too!

I love making use of the closet floor for storage, and I'm a huge fan of the square fabric bins.  The Martha Stewart line is my favourite because they have cute labels.  They're great if you fit them into your shelf exactly so that you can't see inside.  It makes everything look cleaner.

Labels make it easier for everyone!

For crafty areas, I love peg board!  And there are so many hanging bin options that make art supply storage neat and easy.

The Inspired Room

This is a another fun way to keep supplies sorted. 

How great is this??

Infarrantly Creative

Thanks for joining me this month for Cleaning Up Kids!  I hope you found some ideas that you can implement in your own spaces.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cleaning Up Kids - Day 7

Do you have a space that is a constant frustration?
Sometimes when something's broken, it's simply time to fix it.
If a system isn't working, try to figure out what the issue is so that you can adjust the space to fix the problem.

This unit in my 6 year old's room worked for a few years.  But the drawers were breaking and too small.  They'd fall out and were tricky for her to put back.

I found a second hand dresser to replace it with.
It's not so different...except the drawers are bigger so she doesn't have to struggle to fit things in and they are easy to open and close.
It was an easy and inexpensive solution.

My other daughter's closet is a space that's been broken for quite awhile.  She has never managed to keep it tidy despite me working with her and several organizing sessions.  It's tempting to blame the kids sometimes (Why won't she just hang thing properly!?) and of course sometimes that is the problem, but in this case, I've realized, it might be that second bar that is causing frustration here.

When kids are smaller 2 bars is handy for their short clothing but now, this 11 year old is always folding things over on the hanger so that they don't hit the lower bar.

My plan is to have my husband remove it, organize the space with my daughter, and then over time, see if that was the problem.

Sometimes you have to try a few things before you know if the issue is training, or the actual space.

Pop by tomorrow for the conclusion of Cleaning Up Kids.  I'll be sharing some favourite childrens' storage ideas.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Cleaning Up Kids - Day 6

So we were away last week but Pretty Organized here wrote ahead so that I could still give you 2 posts  and, yep, forgot to post the second one.  Here it is and I'll also do the last 2 this week to end off May's Cleaning Up Kids series.

Sometimes the trick to keeping a spot clean and pretty is really simple.
Tell your kids not to touch.

Yes, that sounds all mean and it's their house too.  

But would you like to re-roll these blankets every time a kid wants to cover up during a movie?
Would they??

So instead I keep loads of blankets loosely stuffed into the ottoman by our sectional which the kids are welcome to use any time they want.  The fancy rolled blankets are Mommy's which I use in several spots in the house for different seasons. 
(It's a decorator thing.)

I have don't touch rules with some toys as well.  That is, don't touch without asking.
Again, this isn't a rule I made up to be mean, it's a rule that protects my kids from unnecessary frustrations.  Puzzles, for example, are not super fun when pieces are missing.  So rather than let my kids whip out a puzzle whenever, amidst a whole mess of other toys, I keep them separate and if Cate, for example wants one, I get them down from her closet for her.  Then I know they're out and I can be mindful of helping her specifically clean them up after.

Cate has a box of Calico Critters on the top shelf of her closet as well.  
Have you seen the pieces?

But also TINY.
So rather than ending up vacuuming teeny, and expensive little bits of Critter, I require her to ask me to get them down so that I can give her a spot to play with them that is contained.  Say, on an area rug or at the counter or somewhere we can easily see the pieces at clean up time.

Having some rules can actually help kids to have more fun and can also help them keep their toys safe. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cleaning Up Kids - Day 5

The reality of life is that you cannot always have every space organized.  Sometimes we just don't have the time to stop everything and reorganize an area right now, today,  that has gotten out of control.

That's why there are doors.

So until I have a chance to get my little Eli working on his closet...the curtain keeps me sane.

And until I can get Cate to fix up her cupboard, the doors can stay closed.

Hooray for drawers,

that can close up on a mess.

Please hear me.
I'm not saying hide all your messes behind closed doors and never organize again.
But life happens to everyone and some weeks are crazier than others.

So awhile back when I found the inside of the girls' wardrobe looking like this,

I closed the doors.
(After snapping the photo for the blog of course!)

Later that week there was a day when Sofi did not have much homework so I had her spend about 20 minutes taking out all the winter clothes and tidying up the space.

Thank-you doors and curtains and drawers for buying us time until we can organize and tidy up those out of control areas.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Cleaning Up Kids - Day 4

If you want your kids to be responsible for their messes, then you have to get them involved in both the storage of their toys, as well as clean up.

Letting kids help with sorting and purging gives them ownership of the process.  They will understand the way their toys are sorted if they get to help do it.  They will also realize what a big job it can be and hopefully with time will begin to understand how much easier it is to put a couple toys away rather than leaving items to pile up.

Kids also need to be held accountable when they are lazy.
This is a hard one for moms because we all know it's a whole lot faster to just put something away ourselves, but it's only faster in the present.  In the long run, we would save ourselves so much time if we'd commit to training our children to pick up after themselves.

See that empty pop can?
See that grey recycling bin on the floor a few steps past it?
I called my boy down from his room to fix this situation.

Same thing here.  Remotes on the couch literally feet away from the remote bin.  Another call.
Now maybe this sounds a bit nutty, I mean really, who cares if the remotes are in the bin right?
But I have, on several occasions, had to take off every single couch cushion, look all over the floor, and spend many minutes searching for one lost remote before I could use the t.v. when all they had to do was put them back in the box.

The thing about training is that it never ends.  There's no graduation date when suddenly kids are fully responsible for cleaning up their own stuff.  But if we're diligent in expecting them to do so, they will become more consistent.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Cleaning Up Kids - Day 3

Last week we talked about picking up toys often, and about making sure everything has a spot.

Today let's look at how to categorize your toys so that it's easier for kids to clean them up.

Part of making categories involves planning ahead. 
As kids grow, they often end up really loving certain toys.  My boys played with cars for the longest time.  Then lego.  The girls love their babies.  So when grandparents ask for ideas and your kids love playmobile, give them some names of different sets you don't have yet.  Now obviously I'm not saying that you can't ever get random gifts for kids, but as I work with clients sorting their children's toys, I often find that it's those one or two items that don't fit into any of the groups we've sorted that are actually the toys that the kids don't ever play with anyway.   

When you're sorting toys, let the categories be as wide as you can.  Being too picky makes it harder to clean up.
In this drawer where Cate keeps stuffies, we also have her pet carrier, pet leash, etc..
(Barbies are on the right in a separate box.)

In these 3 bins labelled "Barbie", the dolls, furniture and clothes are all mixed up.  Clean up time needs to be quick and easy without a lot of frustrating sorting.

This tray holds colouring books, papers and notepads.  
It doesn't matter how they get stacked into it.

Books on this shelf go wherever, as long as they can find a spot to stand.

Of course there are always things that won't fit into a category so a miscellaneous or treasure storage spot is a must!

Make sure your kids understand the rules you have about clean up time.
We keep our game remotes in 2 baskets.   Now I don't actually care if they fold them up all neatly like you see them in there now, but I do care if they leave them out on the floor attached the the game box when they're not using them.

Our dvd's are in alphabetized boxes.  Would I like it if every movie was in alphabetical order?
But I know that's me being picky, so I just ask that they get the movie somewhere into the right box so we can find it again easily.  

Kids will have much greater success at clean up time if the items they are picking up are sorted in loose, easy categories that are clearly marked and easy to access.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Cleaning Up Kids - Day 2

If we're going to require our kids to pick up, they need to have a spot to put stuff.

Everything in it's place, makes a pretty space.

Sounds familiar huh?  
Goodness, she really does harp on that, you might be thinking.  
And yes, I do.  Cause it too, is key.  
If you have a spot to put every single item your kids own, then putting those items away should not be a huge deal.  If your kids have stuff they don't know what to do with, piles start forming and that's when we get into trouble.

There are endless possibilities for storing stuff for kids.  Make sure you keep things age appropriate so that little ones aren't frustrated trying to put their toys away.

It's helpful to label storage spots so everyone can be involved with the clean up.

Lids are handy to keep things looking tidy. 

Dress Up Box

Or how about a drawer? 

Purses, ponies and lego storage.

There are loads ideas for art areas.
This one uses cups to store markers and pencils.

This one uses boxes.

And of course there's more than just toys to keep tidy!

Don't forget to designate spots for homework,

sports stuff,

and of course, the remote(s).

It's frustrating when you want to use something and you can't find it!  For your kids, and for you.  As you train them to pick up regularly, show your children the appropriate spots for their things, and encourage them to always put stuff away properly.  
If you've ever had to search the house for a t.v. remote, you know what I mean!
(Cate once took our Wii remotes up to her room in her purse and then promptly forgot she'd done it.  GRRRR. ;)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cleaning Up Kids - Day 1

I'm dedicating the month of May to a series on how to maintain a tidy space when kids live in your home.  A friend asked me awhile ago to address the issue, so hopefully I can offer some ideas, tips and advice that you might find useful in your child-filled houses!

Day 1 is, unfortunately, bad news day.  Bad news in that if you don't want to follow this advice, then you should not bother reading the rest of the month's posts.  
Today's tip is the entire key to maintaining a tidy kid space.



I know, sounds silly, simple, like, duh you want your money back.  But it is KEY if you want to win the battle of keeping kids' areas clean.  They need to pick up their toys.  Daily.  More than daily.

Here's our basement where my kids hang out most often.

It doesn't look like they play there.  But they do.  They build forts, they cover the island with colouring, they Rainbow Loom, they bring down dolls, they play Wii, they crochet.  

But every time we leave the house or if it's bedtime, we make them pick up.  
Every. Time.
Every. Thing.

Now I know you think I'm sounding all anal and over stricty about it but I promise you if you let it go once, the next time it's easier to let it go and then before you know it you've got a mess that's bigger than anyone wants to try to touch.  
I promise you.

And yes I know the old argument, "But MOM, I'm gonna play with that when we get back!"  I've fallen for it many a time but guess what?  They don't play with it when they get back and 4 days later they're still not playing with it and they sure don't want to clean it up any more than they did before.

There are two things we need to be clear on.
1.  You need to train your kids to clean.  You cannot just yell down to clean up and expect it to be done.  Be there.  Help out.  Point to where things go.  Show them the expectations until they are old enough that you can let them to take it on by themselves.
2.  You have to give them time.  If you're leaving the house at 4:30 and you call down for them to clean at 4:25, you will likely find that they are frustrated, you are frustrated, and the cleaning cannot get finished.  Give ample time for the clean up process to happen.

This is the hardest lesson I'm going to offer this month and I know you are thinking, she can't mean like  every time.

But I do.  
I mean it. 
And I believe it to be the most important and most key principle to maintaining a tidy space.