June 30, 2009

Toys are Everywhere! Help!

My header reads, "Raising Two Very Noisy Boys in a Very Tiny House?" Well, every word of it is true. My boys are noisy. My house is tiny. 900-square-feet tiny. That might not be so bad if it didn't also have a poor layout and serve as shelter for me, two energetic boys, a 5' 11" Hubby, a 70 lb mutt and a large Maine Coon. I can depend on bumping elbows or butts with someone at any given moment.

The biggest challenge of such a small house is keeping everything organized. My husband is a (dare I say) pack rat. I, however, should be on a first name basis with the guy outside our Goodwill Donation Station. Between Hubby's ski gear from 1990, the boys' love of large stuffed animals and tiny toy cars and a very limited amount of storage, I spend a lot of time thinking (stressing) about organization.

See that? That's the play area in our basement TV room. That little pine box against the wall...that's the toy organizer. Do you see something wrong with this picture? I bought this ingenious Ikea creation hoping that, not only would my boys have a place for their toys, but that they would actually put them away too. This is only a small portion of their toys...and they don't play in this room that often. But somehow it usually looks like this.

I want it to look like this!

Ahhhh...better, right?

I've tried different organizers. I've tried labels. I've tried giant baskets. I've tried to make clean up time fun with songs, games and rewards. I have even tried threats, "Help Mommy clean up or no bedtime story tonight!" But the only thing that seems to work is Mommy doing it all herself.

I want to teach my children responsibility and how to respect their belongings. I want them to realize that when you stand on Mr. Potato Head's glasses and break them, I'm not going to buy you another pair. Is it too early to expect them to participate in cleaning up (they are 3.5 years and 19 months)? How do you get your kids to help keep things picked up?


  1. To cut down on clutter, I cut down on toys. Less toys, less pick up.

  2. That could of been my house, we have ALOT of the same toys haha.

    Right now I have the system of bins like you and photos on the bins for general toys like trains plans and cars in one and then like the fae food for the kitchen in another. When they pull one out and IF I stay on top of them to put it back i the bin before moving on to another set that seams to work....butttttttt its alot of work and 50% of the time (ok more than that) they mov eon to another bin without me noticing to have them clean up the first one. Its a never ending battle. :/

    Nash just looks at me like I am talking another language and Wyatts new thing is "You do it!?" which is a quick trip to doing it himself and time out if he thrws a little attitued with it haha.