You already know how this story goes: you clean the playroom, taking care to organize toys as well as possible, only to find your hard work ruined within a few hours. Kids come in like a tornado and scatter toys all over the place. The result can feel overwhelming and frustrating.
Practically every parent experiences this, so don’t blame yourself for a messy room. Instead, take the following steps to help ensure that your playroom stays as clean and organized as possible.
Turn Organizing Into a Game
At the end of each play session, tell your kids that you have one more game for them to enjoy: the organizing game! If you make it sound fun, they might actually have a good time cleaning up after themselves while learning good life skills in the process.
The organizing game has simple rules:
- Put like with like (i.e., Legos go with Legos, stuffed animals go with stuffed animals).
- Put the toys and other items where they belong before closing the playroom door for the day.
- Earn a point when you add an item to the correct pile.
- Count your piles and celebrate!
How well this works often depends on the age of your children. Start as young as possible. By the time they reach their preteen years, they will have an ingrained need to organize their rooms.
Get Rid of Old Toys (Spoiler Alert: Expect Tears)
“Samuel” the stuffed dog has been sitting in the same corner for weeks. The Star Wars figures that the kids absolutely needed for survival haven’t been touched in months. The books that you used to teach them the ABCs stay on the shelf because no one wants to read them anymore. All of these represent opportunities to declutter the playroom.
Getting rid of old toys, books, and clothing doesn’t take much effort. Some of your options include:
- Giving the toys to parents with younger children.
- Connecting with other parents in your area to swap items.
- Donating toys, clothes, and books to a non-profit.
Even though your kids haven’t played with these toys in weeks or months, you can expect them to cry over the loss. Remind them that they’re doing a nice thing by helping someone else. You might even explain that the toy will be happier living with children who will play with it.
Choose Furniture That Helps You Stay Organized
The playroom’s furniture can help or hinder your organizing plan. Typically, you should avoid furniture that’s really heavy or takes up a lot of space. You want to add flexibility to the room so you can adjust as your kids get older.
Furniture with built-in storage space works well. Look for chairs, stools, and other pieces with hidden drawers and cubbies.
Modular furniture can also make the playroom easier to keep organized over the years. The best modular sofas have components that you can arrange in ways that make sense for your playroom and how your kids use it.
If you’re worried about spending too much money on modular furniture that your kids will jump on, check out the Tysse Modular Sectional by Scandinavian Designs. Some versions of the sectional cost less than $800.
Label Bins, Drawers, and Other Containers
At the end of a long day, you and your kids might feel tempted to stuff toys anywhere they will fit. You might think, “Hey, at least we put the stuff away.” That’s true, and on some days you deserve a serious congratulations for making the effort. In the long-run, though, this will lead to chaos.
Label all of your bins, drawers, and other containers so everyone knows precisely where every item goes. Once you label your containers, you can make putting the right item in the right place part of your organizing game.
Give the Playroom a Deep Clean
A little light cleaning each day will do wonders for your playroom. It only takes a few minutes to sweep or vacuum the floor. In those few minutes, you can collect a mound of dirt, dust, and pet hair.
Every few weeks, the playroom also deserves a deep clean that will benefit every surface. Taking the time for a deep clean will also help your kids stay healthy. Research shows that exposure to dust and other airborne pollutants increase the risk of asthma in children. You might use that knowledge as motivation the next time you don’t have much energy for cleaning.
Ideally, you should use non-toxic cleaning products in the playroom and throughout your house. The right non-toxic cleaning products work just as well as those that contain chemicals like ammonia. It absolutely makes sense to pick these cleaning supplies. Think about how many times you catch your children sticking random objects into their mouths.
Parents fight a never-ending battle with messy homes. The playroom often gets neglected because it has so much clutter in it. These tips will hopefully make it easier for you to win the war.