Everyone knows that having a toddler running through the house makes it difficult to stay organized throughout the day. There’s nothing more frustrating than continuously playing catch up and clean up, but you don’t have to do it alone. Luckily, organizing doesn’t have an age limit, and I’ve been working with my own daughter to develop habits of cleaning up after herself. She knows that before going to bed, leaving the house, or starting a new activity, the toys have to be cleaned up. The Barbies have to be put away before the paints can come out, one game has to be cleaned up before another can be opened. It’s not impossible, it just takes time, and there are a few things you can do to help your little ones along the way.
1. Create designated spots for all her toys. I store the Barbies near the doll house, and the arts and crafts close to the kitchen, because we do our crafts on the kitchen table.
2. Use bins that have handles, and are small enough to carry. This makes it easy move categories out of your living spaces when guest arrive.
3. Labels! I label everything. It truly does make it easier for family members, babysitters, and even cleaners to be in the know of where things belong. I bought my label maker on Amazon for $30, and it’s now lasted over five years.
4. Come up with a fun way to put toys away. Sing a song, race to see who can clean up the fastest, bribe with treats. Whatever works.
5. Create categories that work for your family. Specifics can be daunting for a three year old, so I have broad categories in my home. Dolls and Barbies go together, blocks and building toys share the same bin, all stuffed animals are together, etc. As kids get older, it will become easier to stay organized with more detailed categories.
Forming these habits take time, but like potty training or weaning off a pacifier, helping your child to understand the ‘why’ behind cleaning up after themselves is key. Begin by having your child watch you clean, then start having them help you clean up, then turn it into your child cleaning up while you simply helping a little. In the end, they will eventually learn how to do it themselves.
Professional Organizer & Motherhood Magician