Keeping an Organized Home with a Toddler in Tow
Keeping the home organized, neat and clean is a tough job in itself. Add to that a toddler or two and you really have your hands full. Having said that, one must admit that a neat and clean home is a peaceful place to be in. In a clean and organized home, one can find things easily, enjoy hanging around with family and friends, relax after a tiring day and simply be at peace. Keeping the home in order however shouldn’t be something that leaves one feeling stressed and exhausted. Even with toddlers around, it can be possible to have a home that is clean, organized and yet have a warm, lived-in look.
Here are five fun and easy ways to stay organized with a toddler.
1. Make Cleanups Fun and Entertaining. Cleanups after play, craft time and mealtimes are essential to keeping the house neat and clean. Make cleanups a fun ritual. My daughter and I have our own cleanup song, that we sing as we put her toys “to bed”. Also, use your discretion. If a normally cooperative toddler is being difficult or cranky, don’t push cleanup time. Let putting away toys or craft supplies be a fun exercise, something that your toddler enjoys and not something that must be done always and all the time.
2. Have a Place for Everything. Giving everything that your toddler and other family members own a definite “home” will make it easier for a toddler to understand the concept of putting things where they belong. Items that specifically belong to toddlers should have “homes” that are easy to access and handle. Baskets, boxes with removable lids, toy chests and low-level shelving are all great for toddler hands.
3. Keep Things Simple. Accumulating a lot of stuff is easy. The difficult part is taking care of it. more often than not, looking after all the stuff falls on one person. So, save yourself some trouble and simplify your life. Take a good look at the amount of stuff each person in the family has, including your toddlers and then consider how much of that do they really need. I mean, does a toddler really need three toy trucks? Even if they’re all different colors? I’m guessing not. Simplify and reduce the amount of things that everyone has and see how much space you free up and how easy it becomes to take care of things.
Part of keeping things simple is also being realistic about having a clean and organized home, especially with toddlers. Obsessing about having an antiseptically clean home is unrealistic. Accept messes with grace. Laugh off that spill as you wipe it clean. And understand that putting some toys away each night is a part of life. It will make things simpler and easier to handle.
4. Declutter Periodically. Continuing from the Keep Things Simple point, in a home with toddlers, decluttering is essential. Kids receive many gifts, parents buy a lot on impulse and then, there are clothes and toys that are recycled by cousins and friends. So, every month, declutter your toddler’s closet and toy storage. Put everything that is a duplicate or triplicate, anything that he may have outgrown, as well as anything that he would not need for the next three years(!!) into boxes and give them to charity.
5. Reward Good Behavior. An important part of keeping an organized home with toddlers is reward and praise. My daughter positively preens each time I tell her she’s been so helpful with clearing the table or good about keeping her toys back. ***laughing*** Be specific with the praise. Let a toddler know what behavior is being praised. Chances are that he will repeat it.
Using these simple techniques has helped me keep a home organized with the help (yes, really) of my toddler. True, there are days when she’ll not be in the mood but that’s okay. For the most part, she knows that cleanups are a fun way of putting toys away, knows where things go and owns only the things that she truly needs and uses.
What are your favorite ways of keeping the house in order with kids, especially toddlers and preschoolers? Do share!
Photo Credit: lilivanili