I've begun a Spring Cleaning Simplicity program I'm going to be writing about for the next week or so. It's just something I've made up to help my household run smoother. I feel like we've gotten bogged down in clutter, junk and stuff! I've been reading some different books on simplicity and I guess it's inspired me to really focus on what's truly important and to try and better simplify my family's life. I was so greatly inspired by an article from The Old Schoolhouse magazine called "Taming the Toys" that I decided to try and apply the ideas in it to our own lives.
The first item on my agenda for Spring Cleaning Simplicity was the children's rooms. My kiddos have been very blessed by loving family members in the area of toys - but they've become so numerous that the kids can no longer keep track of them and they end up all over the floor and in every room. Both of my children have specific things that they collect and I hate to see them spread out all over, broken from being left on the floor or even lost somewhere within the house. I've tried lots of different things - getting storage containers, storing things in different ways, making chore lists for them, threatening to throw things away if they didn't keep it picked up...nothing really seemed to work! The kids were just overwhelmed and didn't know where to start and I hated having to get on them about it so I'd usually end up helping them or doing it for them...but then just a few days later, the floor of their rooms would be covered with toys.
So I thought it over and decided to try what the author in the magazine article did. I asked the kids to pick out a few of their favorite toys to keep in their rooms. I told them the rest we would box up in storage boxes and store in one of the closets. If they want to exchange a toy for a different one sometime later, they're more than welcome - they just need to take one from their room and put it into the storage box.
Zeke has a little collection of Batman toys - a Batcave, figurines of good guys and bad guys, a Batmobile, etc. I didn't tell him, "Okay, you can only keep one of those!" I just counted all the Batman toys together as one thing. He has the Batmobile on top of a table and all the figurines are in a plastic storage container. So Zeke ended up choosing his Batman stuff, his Star Wars stuff and his Legos. All his other toys were bagged/boxed up and will be going in the closet tomorrow. Ellie chose her ponies/horses, babies and kitchen set.
I've also implemented a quick pick-up before bed each evening - granted I only started it today, but I'm feeling good about it. Doing a little bit of cleaning each night helps to stomp out the giant mess it could become. I don't expect them to just magically keep their rooms spotless every day - they are my children after all! - but since everything has a specific place and they aren't completely overwhelmed with piles of toys, I think they're more likely to pick up & keep things neat.
So what am I tackling next? Later on this week and next I'll be writing about going through my guest bedroom (A.K.A. the junk room!), spring cleaning tactics & tricks and easy ways to sort through junk! :)