20 October 2011

Controlling the Clutter

When I had only one child, keeping the playroom tidy was no problem.  Fast forward to today and, often, I can't walk a straight line through our playroom, or man cave, as my sons prefer to call it.  I have to meander through the strewn toys, books, remotes, dvds, legos (ouch)...  well, you get the picture.  That is, until I decide I've enough and take control of the clutter.

Here's how I do it, and you can too...

1-  As I have mentioned on this blog before, every few days I call for a 10 minute tidy.

What is a 10 minute tidy?  It's how I get my boys to keep the playroom from getting overrun by the mass of clutter.  10 minutes is a manageable amount of time for the boys to clean up without getting overwhelmed.  By doing this every couple of days, it truly does control the mess.

2-  Location Location Location.  Every category of toys has it's place in the playroom.  Wii games belong in the cabinet, neatly stacked.  Legos belong in large bins and we have smaller plastic drawers for the special Lego items.  Books belong on the shelves, obviously.  Larger toys and games have places in the closets and in large buckets (purchased at Walmart) that line the walls.

3-  Assign responsibility.  Each of my four sons has his own area of responsibility.  Just like the Navy has numbered fleets that control different theaters of operation, each kid in our family takes control over a region of the playroom.  This is very effective because it often prevents mess in the first place.  If Dwight sees Zack leaving remotes and Wii games on the floor of his domicile, he will immediately complain and make Zack put them away so that it is not left for him to take care of in the 10 minute tidy.

These three steps can go a long way toward keeping your clutter under control.  They have saved my sanity, the boys know what I expect from them and how to make it happen.

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