Update at the bottom.

Tuesday, May 10th was Clean Your Room Day (I remember it as the day that my post went missing!).  Moms everywhere were probably jumping up and down and waving banners in celebration.  But me?  Um, not so much.  This is an area where I am failing as a mom.  And something has to change!

I have not taught my children to put away a toy before getting out a new one.  I have not trained them to clean up after themselves without being reminded.  I simply haven’t followed through and my house feels like a disaster zone.  Sure, I have gone hard core at times, but not with the consistency that makes the lasting difference.  And really it comes down to my own lack of discipline.

It is “work” to keep on my kids to clean up.  But I can either stay the course and invest the time now in training them to clean up after themselves or I can spend the next 14-16 years harping, harassing and reminding . . . only to, in exhaustion, find it easier to just “do it myself.”  Hmmm, I think I’ll chose the first option.    

A couple weeks ago, my mom and I went through all the toys in the house.  (Boy, was it helpful to have someone to do it with!)  We sorted the toys into these categories:  keep out for play, pack up, throw out, save for garage sale and rotate.  For rotational toys, I am creating several bins (with contents listed) that I will rotate in and out every couple weeks.  I am willing to bet these toys will have better play value since they are not out all the time.  After we were done, I immediately noticed a difference in the amount of toy clutter.  And it felt great!

So now I’m looking to you!  What are your tips, tools and techniques for teaching your kids to clean up?  Leave a comment and share, please!

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Here is one to start:  As I mentioned here, I recently had a 31 Gifts party for a friend.  The consultant shared this tip with the guests:  She has three (very cute) bins that sit on her stairs.  They are embroidered with the first initial of each of her children’s names.  Throughout the day, she will instruct her kids to put toy cars or other little toys away in their bins on the stairs.  At the end of the night, her children take the bins up to their rooms, put away the toys and return them to the stairs when completed.  This would be a great improvement for my house!

Update:  We have been doing so much better over the last several weeks!  I started a sticker chart for each kid and before bed, if the family room, the upstairs hallway and their bedrooms are clean, they earn a sticker.  The motivation is especially amazing for my son.  And I am amazed at the improvement in my overall well-being to not have so much clutter everywhere all the time.  Thanks for all your great ideas and feedback!  

Linked with:  Raising Homemakers