So. many. toys! Some days it feels like you spend an hour cleaning up, go put wet laundry in the dryer, then come back to finding toys strewn ALL OVER the floor.
It’s so frustrating! I’ve been there. But I’m living proof that it does not have to take an hour to clean a playroom IF you put the right systems in place.
In this post, I’ll walk you through my 6 best tips for cleaning your kids’ playroom in a jiffy.
1) Time it.
Do you actually know how long it takes you to clean up the playroom? Like, have you actually timed it?
I used to dread emptying the dishwasher and would put it off until there was literally only a few clean dishes left. Then one day, I timed the job.
And you know what I found out?
It takes me six minutes to empty the dishwasher, start to finish. SIX MINUTES! And this is a chore that I would procrastinate FOR DAYS.
Knowing exactly how long it takes you to do something can make it easy to do that thing, even if you really, really don’t feel like it.
2) Limit the toys that are taken out
Teach your kids to only take out a certain number of toys at one time, say two or three. Picking up a giant pile of Legos is easier to do than if you have to pick up Legos, plus sort them away from doll clothes, board game pieces and toy figurines.
This tip is much easier said than done and typically takes you reminding your kids only a bajillion times. But on days when the stars align and they manage to put away one set of toys before pulling out the next, it will be a breeze to clean up the playroom.
3) Pick up as you go
It’s easier to do a five-minute pick up three times throughout the day than it is to do one 15-minute pick up at the end of the day when you’re frazzled and exhausted.
Your brain exaggerates how long it takes to clean up, so you ignore it one day, then the next, then the next 47 days after that. What could be a simple pick up becomes an all out mess that demands an entire weekend of attention to clean up.
4) Make a game of picking up
Saying “I bet I can clean up this pile faster than you can clean up that pile” motivates and three year old to move mountains. Here are some quick pick up games:
- Compete to see who can win at picking up their pile the quickest.
- Count how many toys you each pick up and see who picks up the most.
- Blast a Raffi song and see how many toys you can collectively pick up before the song is over.
- Take turns picking up toys. “Okay, I put away the dump truck. Your turn! What would you like to put away?”
5) Declutter toys
Simply put, if you have less toys, it’ll take you less time to put them away.
6) Set up a good organization system
I’ve seen two effective ways for setting up a good toy organization system. First, you can use cubbies for sorting out toys. This is the system we use. Each type of toy has its own cubby and a basket that fits in the cubby.
I have friends that prefer to have one big toy box for throwing everything into. All toys quickly get chucked into the toy box together. This works best for larger toys that don’t have many pieces.
Finding sanity in the chaos
Don’t stress over the playroom being a mess. Just pick up what you can and give yourself (and your little humans) grace. Toys are meant to be played with and cherished, and unfortunately, some mess is inevitable.
By implementing some of these simple hacks — timing your clean up, limiting the number of toys taken out, picking up as you go, making a game out of it, decluttering and setting up an organization system — you’ll be able to drastically cut down on the amount of overwhelm you feel every time you walk by the playroom.