How do you stay on top of picking up after your kids? Do you fight the good fight Every. Single. Day? When you walk into a room is there always kid stuff on the floor? You know the things I’m talking about. Socks and books and toys seem to just fall off of your kids where ever they are and you are so over asking your kids to pick up after themselves. Good storage fine and all, but what about the stuff that doesn’t end up in its cute little identified storage space?
You need a basket. Not the baskets we talked about last week that make storage fun or easy. You need one catch all basket that lives in a high traffic zone in your house into which you can put all of the lonely clothing and discarded books and marbles and plastic pieces and nerf guns that you stumble on as you wander from room to room in your house eating bonbons.
I wish I could take credit for this idea, but I can’t, nor can I remember where I saw it originally. I do know that the original idea involved a basket for each family member. That is just (1) too complicated for me and (2) takes up more space than I’m willing to give. What I am willing to give is one dedicated basket to family flotsam and jetsam. It’s possible that I’ve also improved on the basket rules through practice.
Here’s how the basket works: any item that is left out of its proper place (the floor, coffee table, dining table, etc.) is placed into the clutter basket. Once a week, the kids are responsible for emptying the basket and putting everything that belongs to them away properly. If, during the week, an item is placed in the basket that someone *really needs* (e.g., favorite blanket, the book for a book report, etc.), that person is responsible for clearing out the whole basket in order to rescue their treasured item. If no one is willing to claim an item in the basket, it is donated or thrown away at the end of the week. Simple, yes?
I think you’ll find that the amount of weekly clutter in the basket will slowly start to decline if you are consistent over time. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.