Teaching kids to clean up their toys. {5 Tips}

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I love the quote “Excuse the mess…the kids are making memories” except when I stamp on that lone LEGO piece that lies on my carpet!

It’s crazy how quickly “I’m just bringing one toy into the living room” ends up resulting in practically half the toy room strewn across the living room floor. And yes, the mess just happens to be there when the doorbell rings and it’s a sweet friend springing a surprise visit to our family.

It. Never. Fails.

Each time the toys are strewn all over the carpet, the doorbell rings!!

Teaching kids to clean up their toys. {5 Tips}

Teaching kids to clean up their toys. {5 Tips}

Teaching a child to clean up after himself/herself should be taught from the time a child’s a toddler. Good habits are cultivated early and yes, it may take a while to kick into gear but once this becomes habitual you won’t regret the time spent encouraging the same.

Keep these C.L.E.A.N. tips in mind while teaching your child:

1. Create spaces and places for everything. 

Make sure these are easy to reach spots and it’s the same spot/place for that specific toy or game each time.

2. Leave a toy storage box in an area the kids play in frequently, besides the toy room.

Our kids love bringing their toys and games into the living room and this makes it easy to keep an eye on them especially when I’m cooking. We have an elegant Magical Harmony Microfiber Deluxe Toy Box from Overstock.com that complements the rest of our furniture and stores their toys and games.

Magical Harmony Kids Sage Microfiber Deluxe Toy Box from Overstock- Mommy Snippets (2)

I love that this becomes a place for guests to sit on when closed and is easy to clean when the kids spill water or drop crumbs on the same. Best of all, storage space is generous, allowing us to stack close to an equivalent of 12 average sized board game boxes in the same.

Magical Harmony Kids Sage Microfiber Deluxe Toy Box from Overstock- Mommy Snippets

One great thing about this box is the slow closing safety hinge that ensures the lid won’t slam shut on little fingers.

And yes, it’s a durable storage solution that works well for all ages.

Magical Harmony Kids Sage Microfiber Deluxe Toy Box from Overstock- Mommy Snippets

3. Encourage the clean up process.

For younger kids, begin by assisting them during the clean up process. As they grow into the preschool age, encourage the process with the clean-up song or a game. (Lets see how many toys you can pick up before I count to 100 or Who can pick up the most toys before the alarm on my phone goes off? ) For older kids, asking them to race against the clock or each other, generally works!

4. Always praise a clean up activity done well.

Kids thrive on encouragement and praise. Don’t forget to appreciate their clean up efforts. Even if the clean up effort was not up to your standard, make it a point to praise your child and gently show them how they can organize their toys better the next time round.

Clean UpTip

5. Never be afraid to pull out the “donate” card.

My older kids know the drill. If toys/games have been left out for too long and I’ve asked for the same to be cleaned up more than two times, there won’t be a third request. The toy(s)/game(s) will be picked up by me, put in a bag/box and donated to a missionary who collects the same for underprivileged kids or to the Salvation Army box. For younger kids you may need to keep away a favorite toy/game for two-three days because the toys/games were left out.


Armed with these 5 tips, you should have the toy clutter under control, not just this summer, but all year round!


* For more affordable toy storage and toy organization solutions, check out the great selection on Overstock.com