Clutter Busters for Kids

Do you find yourself constantly “tidying –up”?  Do you feel like all your hard work cleaning is undone as soon as the kids walk in the door?  Do you ever ask yourself if you live with a bunch of ‘whirl-winds’?

As a mom of 3 busy kids, I felt like I was constantly picking stuff up – toys, shoes, homework, empty cups…you name it – CLUTTER invades our home daily.

In an effort to keep the house picked up (and not lose my mind), I enlisted the help from my kids to pick up the clutter.  When I first told them I needed their help, all I received in return were groans.  Until I told them we could have fun with it.

Here are 5 Fun Clutter Busters that have worked for us:

1.    Vacation Time! Faced with an overabundance of toys that can sit on shelves for months neglected, our toys go on vacation!  Every 3 months (or so), we fill up a box with toys that have been played with and ‘deserve a break’.  The toys that have come out of the box are refreshed and ready to play with.  This allows fewer toys to pick up, more container & shelf space for toys that are out, and a fresh new batch of somewhat forgotten toys to play with every few months.  We just started this with my 3 year old and he loves it!

2.    How Much Time do I have?  Whenever I asked my kids to help me pick up, this is the question I would get.  Exasperated one day, I said “You have 2 minutes to pick up everything that is yours downstairs! Anything that is left behind is mine for a week.” My kids have never cleaned so fast.  The race became fun for them and when one lost their iTouch for a week, they never left anything behind again.  We also pull out the timer for other cleaning projects too (i.e. rooms, bathrooms, sweeping, etc.).

3.    Teach Them Early.  To help establish my 3 year old’s independence when it comes to cleaning his room, I have taken a few pictures of what his shelves and bookcase look like when they are clean.  We pull out these photos and replicate the tidiness together.  He earns a sense of accomplishment and I earn a clean room!

4.    Find the Dimes.  Another fun way to get my youngest involved is to make a game out of picking up.  My daughter hides dimes under all the clutter strewn across the house.  The object of the game is to find all the dimes, with a slight catch – anything they pick up, must be put away before you can find a new dime.  Once all the dimes are found, we celebrate with a treat (and a clean house)!

5.    Grab a Ball! This is a fun game to play to get help with all sorts of chores around the house.  Gather a bunch of balls (plastic or ping pong work well) and write various de-cluttering tasks on them.  Place them all in a container with the balls hidden from view.  Have each family member select a set amount of balls (we do 3 each) and give them a time to complete it by.  Or make it a competition to see who can complete the most “balls” in a given time.

Some ideas to write on the balls could include:

–       clean off kitchen counter

–       pick up toys in playroom

–       clean off homework area

–       sweep the patio

–       water the plants

We have found that by making clutter-busting fun, the kids don’t seem to mind it as much. Not to mention, we enjoy a cleaner house!

Do you have any great Clutter Busters that work in your family?

Check out these great Quirky Momma posts for more ideas for managing clutter and keeping your home organized:

4 days later teeth whitening

About Rebecca

Rebecca Darling, momma of 3 sassy Texas kiddos, writes a blog dedicated to family travel at R We There Yet Mom?. Although she swears she is not crafty, this momma never lacks in creativity and enthusiasm - her ultimate goal is making exceptional memories for her family. Follow her memory making at R We There Yet Mom?, on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.