In full disclosure, you need to know that my living room currently looks like this:
However, we've taken a few steps to keep things a little more organized.
1. Get rid of it. We've donated or given away (or packed away) all of the toys that my daughter does not play with on a daily basis. Cutting down the amount of stuff automatically cuts down on the clutter. We still have plenty of stuff left.
2. Put everything in a specific place. There is a spot for games and puzzles, a box for toy dishes, a basket for toy food, a box for baseball gloves and mitts, a bucket for barn animals, a basket for stuffed friends, etc. That way when we're putting stuff away I don't have to think twice about where to put something and my daughter is learning how to put things away herself. Since there are only so many places, this helps with item #1. If she gets something new it replaces something else.
3. Make cleaning a game. Generally my daughter is not excited about cleaning up. She wants to keep playing. However, she's always up for singing and dancing or playing a new game. Consequently, she can be pouting about putting the toys away but will perk up and pitch in if we sing the "Clean-up Song" and dance a little while we put stuff away. Or, if we make it a race to see who can put the most stuff away the fastest. Or, see who can toss the most stuffed animals in the basket.
If all else fails I wait until she's in bed to put things away. I have my moments when I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle and trying to clean up while a tornado follows me around undoing everything I do. Sometimes it's nice to take the easy way out and start the next day fresh...with no clutter.
What do you do to keep the clutter at bay when there are kids in the house? How do you teach your kids about organization?
Need to organize more than toys? Head on over to LIFE Well Lived and read what the expert has to say about getting organized with kids and share your own secrets for success. While you're there don't forget to enter the LIFE Well Lived Sweepstakes (it ends today, 5/16/12) for a chance to win an iPod Touch and a $50 iTunes gift certificate. This post is also part of Works for Me Wednesday, and Simple Lives Thursday, Seasonal Celebration Sunday, Natural Parenting Group, and Frugal Friday.