I was a Kindergarten teacher and then a Pre-K teacher for a combined 9 years. Prior to that, I was a nanny for 12 years. So let's just say, I've done my time with kids. And at this point, I believe that I have them down pat as far as how to get them to clean up quickly and effectively, without throwing a fit!
So let's talk about space. Each scenario is going to be different based on the amount of room we have, how much 'stuff' the kids have, and how much we have in our budget for organization supplies.
I've had many different scenarios that I've had to come up with different solutions for. During these blogs, I will show different sized areas with different budgets, different numbers of children therefore different quantities of toys & different end goals.
Let's start with a medium area (a bedroom sized room, specifically being used as a playroom) with a decent sized budget:
The question is "how do I go from this...
I will add links to the items shown on my Shopaholics page. When I say "Shopaholics doing it right" this is what I mean! Buying useful items to help you live in an organized world!
So, first things first, we sweep. Yes, you heard me right. You take that broom, and sweep every single item on the floor into a huge pile in the middle of the room. This is essential. The reason being, is that you can't organize ANY room, until you have your first cleared space to start putting things. So first, we need to set up the OUTSIDE of the room. Walls are your friends people. Use them! Every horizontal inch in a kids playroom, for sure, and as much vertical space as they can reach. The less nooks and crannies between furniture, the less Barbie shoes and puzzle pieces they will be able to stuff in there. Now, a minimalist would not agree with this technique. However, I feel that 20 years experience gives me the edge on this, even though I also lean more toward a minimalist type of lifestyle. A child is a child. A child will do what you consistently teach them to do. If you do not teach them, then they do not automatically know how you want them to clean up. And as long as you are willing to put them time into teaching your child what you would like them to do, then there is no reason for your child to have to be a minimalist. It's not natural for them, nor is it a fair expectation of them in MY opinion.
So, we shelf. We shelf the crap out of the room. First, you need to take all of the larger items that will be staying in the room, and house them. Barbie houses, Hot Wheel tracks etc. Place those along one wall. Then we know how much wall we have left for shelving. As you'll see in a lot of my rooms, I use cube shelving. I do this for several reasons. The first reason is, that it is one of the most economical ways to house small items in playrooms. It also helps create the rule "Only take one box out at a time, and fill it back up and put it away before you get the next box out". The words "Clean up" can be translated in a child's mind into a multitude of different things! "If I put away this ONE item then I have indeed cleaned up" or "Put anything that's on the floor, somewhere on any shelf and that is cleaned up". You never know what that phrase will mean to a child. And so we teach. We do it calmly, and make it fun, and potentially reward earning in the beginning until they have established an acceptable (to you) technique o