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November 20, 2010



It is super frustrating! And I know my advice on the matter is not always popular because it doesn't involve any neat little tricks or any kind of magic results.

I think of the daily "nagging" more as a training in habits. I am in the habit of always looking around to see what they need to "finish" before I give them something they want (tv, lunch, activity, etc.)
I am able (at this point/age) to insist that they only use small items (legos, puzzles, etc.) at the table and clean-up is MUCH easier then and MUST be done before we can eat. Kind of a natural incentive.

I hate bins. Children dump those. I rarely ever use them preferring shelves or closed containers for small collections (that then come to the table for use). I think that makes a big difference with avoiding too much clutter on the floor. AND it is simply necessary with my knee and foot problems because if I step on one of those little toys the pain is horrible.

And I also limit the amount of toys that are available to them at one time and rotate them in and out of the play areas. This helps keep them from being overwhelmed when they do have to pick up a whole room. For me, at ages 3 & 6, if they can't do it with minimal supervision in 5 minutes then there are too many toys there.

Now I will admit that if you look at their playroom right now you will see a mess. However, if they want to go swimming with daddy at Kroc today, it will be picked up before they go.

So, yes. Drives me insane and takes up my time but I consider it my job to teach them these habits and show them ways to stay organized by purging and cleaning regularly. It is just a part of life. And lately they like to do it to music (like mommy). Changing my mindset from thinking of it as a nuisance to thinking of it as "training them up in the way they should go" really helps.

And, I also say this with only 2 children and not 4 and I'm sure that is double the challenge. Good luck figuring out what will work for you family.


Have you tried the confiscation rule? My parents did this for a while. If we left something out, then it was confiscated and kept for x days (i can't remember how many days). I recall it being pretty effective for all 5 of the Schnarr kids :o)


I have sooo been there...I have found that eliminating stuff seems to work the best.If you look at that and feel overwhelmed,just think how they must feel.If you put sets in labeled containers and rotate them on a simi-regular basis it's a win win situation.Their toys become new again but they can manage them,2 sets of toys per room/child(legos,polly pockets ect)and suddenly pick up is quick and easy.Same concept for clothing.As a culture we think more is better,but it can so easily turn our lives to chaos.


I have 4 kids and for most of this year had 8 kids living in our home. I donate anything left out - period. If it's not put away in their bedroom, or it's left out anywhere in the house, it's gone. There are times I have to really enforce this and times where I can relax - but consistency is key. When it starts becoming a problem again, I enforce.

As far as chores, not doing them (or not doing them correctly or fully) is a consequence just like if they had misbehaved. They lose privileges. We've enforced ZERO movies on any school nights (we don't have live TV) because they just can't get their chores done or done well when they know they get to watch a TV. Oh well - it's the consequence of them not doing what needs to be done first to reap the privilege.

It takes a couple of weeks to enaforce (and means more time and energy from you at first) but it's SO worth it!!! We have a mostly organized home (yes we have phases we go thru and spaces that aren't organized but for the most part we are very functional) and it's so relaxing to not constantly see things that have to be done.


FYI - I work in our business outside of the home full time - so it's not like I'm around during the day to enforce rules and clean up.

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