Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Taming the Beast

The Naughty Bin

Like most homes, mine has a tendency to become overrun with "stuff."  Big stuff, little stuff, important stuff, trash stuff, more and more and more stuff.  My goal for the month of August is to find better solutions to dealing with the stuff that clutters my home and my life.

Every day I walk through the hallway and there are random toys or articles of clothing strewn around (usually discarded socks or dress-up clothes).  I walk into the living room and find toys, pillows, blankets, and other random objects strewn around.  I glance in the girls' bedroom and see stuff on the floor, usually lots and lots of stuff.  I find forgotten toys on my computer desk, on the kitchen table and counter, on a chair, on the floor, on my bed.  It. drives. me. nuts.  

I am working on a solution.  Over the weekend I was tired of seeing the clutter in my living room so I got a bin and threw all the toys in it and labeled it the Naughty Bin where all neglected toys will be placed.  To earn back the toys, the offender has to do a chore.  Every Saturday any toy that has not been redeemed will be thrown away or donated.  David cleaned my sliding glass doors right away to earn back his beyblades and legos.  The girls just let their stuff sit there for a few days.  

The craft and school supplies closet

I bought a bunch of shoe box size plastic containers.  I organized the girls' stuff into them , labeled them, and put them on a new shelf in their room.  I made the rule that they may only have one bin out at a time.  I did the same to the craft/school supplies closet.  I put everything into containers and labeled them so there is no confusion about what goes where.  

Green for Joy, Blue for Lizzy

I made up a chore chart where each room in the house gets addressed once a week.  Plus regular daily chores.  Hubby and I agreed on an allowance that the kids will earn if they complete all their chores each week.  I printed up ledgers so they could record their earnings into three categories--Give, Save, Spend.  I am using a cashless system because I will never remember to get the right amount out of the bank each week.  

I am tired of stumbling over toys all day long.  I am tired of looking at mess.  I am tired of cleaning a room only to come back half an hour later to find the room trashed all over again.  

If these steps don't solve the problem, I will resort to my Dad's method that he used when I was a kid.  When asked whose stuff was all over the den, all three of us kids said "Not mine."  So Dad opened up the sliding glass door and started chucking it all out into the front yard saying that if the stuff doesn't belong to anyone in our house, then out it goes.  Three screaming kids quickly ran outside and collected the stuff to put away.  

The Naughty Bin this morning--library books and a ball

So far it seems to be working.  Yesterday Lizzy asked me if she could clean the bathroom sink so she could get her toys out of the Naughty Bin.  Joy asked what she could do-I had her empty the bathroom trash cans.  And now all I have to do is threaten to put things in the Naughty Bin and suddenly the toys are all picked up and put away.  Ahhhhh.....toy free bliss.

Update:  Within an hour of posting this and taking the above picture of just two things in the bin, I collected ten random toys, a book, and six pairs of shoes that were on the mudroom floor instead of on the shelf where they belong.  When Lizzy went to go outside, she realized she had no shoes and went looking for them in the Naughty Bin.  A lot of things got dusted in my house this morning as all three kids had to earn back their shoes:)  The best part is that I didn't get annoyed by the things that I had to pick up.  In fact I felt nothing but glee over the fact that I was going to get three more chores done this morning once the kids realized where their toys and shoes went.  This was one of my more brilliant ideas.

1 comment:

  1. I like this! I read a similar idea in a parenting book. One idea there was to have kids buy back their stuff. You could make a fortune! (Of course, it would just be from the allowance money they gave back to you.)