Our Toy Clean-up Routine

You know those time when your playroom looks like a tornado just passed through?  Don’t lie, I know you do.  Mine looks like that pretty much every. single. day.  This isn’t even the bad part…

Playroom 9

Some days I can control the mess, but most days I’m running around the house doing other stuff while they play independently (thank the Lord for siblings!) and things get a little bit out of hand.  I’ll admit, we do not clean up our playroom every day.  I don’t see the point if they are going to tear it apart again in the morning. However, if we have plans for the next day and I know they won’t be playing for more than an hour, we clean!

Playroom Clean-up Routine for Young Kids

I used to get so fed up with trying to get them to pick up their toys that I would just wait and do it after they were in bed or send them out while I cleaned up.  I still tackle it solo if the boys are playing nicely somewhere else and I don’t want to disturb them.  But, I really want them to get in the habit of cleaning up their own stuff since I have the entire rest of the house to keep tidy. 

I’ve tried a lot of ways to help them clean up on their own.  But, truthfully, it’s hard getting toddlers and young pre-schoolers to clean up independently!  I finally landed on something my 4 year old totally grasps and my 2 year old only needs a little guidance with.  Game-changer!

My playroom is already well organized to start with because I seriously do not like toy clutter.  I contemplate getting rid of everything almost daily.  The bins used to be labeled beautifully (a-la I Heart Organizing vinyl labels)  until my sneaky 2 year old was much too quiet one day and I found him peeling off every. single. label.  Yeah.  So now only some of my bins are labeled, but its not like my kids can read yet, so it was really just for me. 🙂 

Without further ado, here is what we do to clean up our disaster area of toys.

  1. Set up organizing bins in the middle of the roomPlayroom 8
  2. Place one of each type of toy in it’s respective box.  Since they can’t read and my labels don’t seem to last, a visual is very helpful for young kids 🙂 I also leave the big fabric bins on the shelf, slightly pulled out so they can see the contents.  My labels totally lasted on these which I was super surprised about!Playroom 7
  3. Give each kid a bucket/bin to fill up with the little toys/pieces scattered around the room.  They are definitely always this happy to be cleaning, too 😉Playroom 6
  4. Carry full bucket over to organizing bins to be sorted.  This is really just a great activity in general to work on  sorting like items as well as teaching organization.  Plus, they think it’s a game.  Win-win.  Alex (4 years) has this part down pat while Christian (2 years) still needs guidance in this part.  It takes him a looooong time to sort his toys.Playroom 4 Playroom 3Playroom 5
  5. Put on the lids and stack on the shelves.  This is their favorite part!  I have no idea why, but I’ll take any excitement over cleaning up!  Alex’s job is to carry the boxes over to the shelf and stack.  Christian has usually lost interest by now.playroom 10

We love the IKEA Expedit (now Kallax) system for storing toys.  I’m considering taking the larger one from the office and putting it in here though.  Basically half of the office one has kid’s stuff taking over anyways!  The clear bins are from Target and the black bins are from IKEA (DRONA).  You really can’t beat the prices on either of these!  The clear bins are 2 for $5 for the large and 5 for $5 for the smaller.  The Drona boxes are just $5 each!  My kids DESTROY every box because they double as “bulldozers” (nevermind the fact that they have actual toy bulldozers…) so I don’t really want to spend too much on anything!

Once you have your clean-up routine figured out, your playroom can look like this; for the overnight hours and at least 20 minutes in the morning!!  With one rogue toy…and a napping dog!  OH and how do you like our Fixer-Upper style letters??? My dad made those and I. AM. OBSESSED!  Can’t wait to get the rest of the playroom looking farmhouse fabulous!

Playroom 1 Playroom 2

Playroom 11

Ignore the black rug covered in white dog hair.  Who had that brilliant idea??  I cannot even vacuum it up anymore; it makes me crazy!  It will be getting replaced at some point!  #keepingitreal

Do you have a system for cleaning up and organizing your playroom??  I’m always looking for new, awesome ideas!

Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂

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