Keeping the house clean with three kids in tow-- is that even possible? I know it sounds strange. I know you probably think the house is never going to look tidy again. But even with all the clutter that is perpetually present, there are ways to tame the mess monster and keep your home neat and tidy.
What are these ways? Read on to find out.
Don’t Stop the Kids from Messing Around
This may sound counter-intuitive, but it works. Kids are going to be kids. Their little brains are not equipped to follow instructions that contain the phrase ‘don’t’. Warn them as many times as you want, “don’t mess up the room”, you will still be left with toys strewn all over the floor, the rug turned upside down, and a flood of Lego blocks tripping you up in the way. Besides, not letting the kids play for the sake of tidiness will restrict their creativity and playfulness.
Nobody wants a sad and bored child. What you can do instead is let them have their play time, and then include putting things back in order as part of their playtime. Split responsibility between your three kids regarding who will arrange the soft toys, who will put the doll back in place, who will put the cars in the cupboard and so on. Supervise your children as they are doing it the first few times. Soon, this will become a part of their playtime. They can have their mess and you can have your cleanliness.
Organization Can Be Fun
If teaching your kids organization and cleanliness is important, teaching them that it can be fun is even more important. Labels are one of the best ways to do so. If two of your toddlers share the same room, label their drawers separately. For example: Chris’ shirts and Teri’s pj’s. This tells them exactly where to put their stuff.
Similarly, assign separate drawers to socks and underwear. Invest in nicely done, compartmentalized wardrobes and dressers that give your children separate spaces to store their goods.
Explain to your kids which clothes need to be rolled, which need to be folded, and which ones ought to be hung on hangers. Appeal to them visually. You can paint their clothes and accessories drawers in separate colors or in stripes and shapes that fascinate them. Use cute children’s hangers from onlyhangers.com for their wardrobe. Keep the blue hangers for the spring dresses and the pink ones for the flouncy ball-gowns. This will to a great extent prevent messes and save time.
Let Them Have a Glimpse of the Adult World
I am sure this is not just the case with my three kids. Kids everywhere seem to love being grown-up and behaving like adults. The boys are obsessed with their father’s neckties and glasses and my daughter can’t have enough of my scarves and nail enamel.
So let them actually have a peek into the adult world and the responsibilities that come with it. Show them how you keep your clothes, your kitchen cabinets and your accessories completely organized. When you inspire them through your own actions rather than threats, they are more likely to retain it in their minds and follow it up with action.
However, being an adult comes with some perks too. When they do follow your footsteps and keep their rooms and the home in general neat, clean and organized, let them decide which movie they want to see in the evening, or which book they want you to read at bedtime.
Give up on the excesses
Kids tend to stress on quantity over quality. Explain to them how it is not important to possess every single thing their best friend possesses, but only the ones they really love and want. When you try to do this, show them how despite having so many toys they mostly only play with their favorite teddy bear or rail-racks and how the other toys just lie around.
Do the same with clothes. Buy them only what they really want. If these exceed three in a shopping bout, don’t indulge. Instead use your creativity to gift them a cherishable experience rather than a material commodity. Take them to a zoo or a park and let them interact with nature instead of stuffing their cupboards. Much less in the cupboard means much less to make a mess with and hence much less to clean up later on.
Periodically clean up your own wardrobe too. Purge or give away all that you don’t need anymore. Inculcate this habit in your kids. They will need to do this a lot more as kids grow out of clothes fast and get bored of toys sooner than later.
Make Orderliness A Habit
If you let the clutter accumulate for days together, it will become much more difficult to clear. Clean up every day and teach your kids to do the same. When they spend even fifteen minutes every day putting their examination papers exactly where they are supposed to be and putting back each of their crayons in the assigned drawer instead of leaving them on the floor, it will keep their desks, tables and rooms tidy. Similarly, if the damp towel is not left unattended on the bed, but hung where it should be, there simply won’t be a mess.
And the Final Trick
To really perfect the art of orderliness, you should always know that no drawer, cubby, or storageunit should be filled up to its brim. That will only lead to stuffing. Always keep some space empty. Not only does this help in better organization of your stuff, but also leaves you with extra storage space for when needed. So all you pampering parents out there cut back on gifts you buy for your kids every week. Chances are the presents they receive during birthdays and Christmas will be worth a good year’s supply. And when you really want to indulge, make it occasional.
Go ahead, try these simple tips and see order and organization come back into your home.
Author: Millie Rainer is the content strategist and writer specializing in home improvement, DIY, fashion and much more. She’s associated with Only Hangers, a clothing hanger company in Miami, dealing in wooden, metal and other hangers since 2005. You can look her up on Twitter @MillieRainer.
PR Friendly Mama!
I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud mama of two munchkins and a teen. You can read more about me HERE. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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