Getting the Kid’s to pack-up!!

Sick of asking the kids to clean their rooms, or pick up their mess? So are we!

We caught up with Robyn Amott, founder of Bless this Mess Professional Organising and De-cluttering services to get some tips on how to get our children to pack up!

I am constantly being asked by parents “How do I get the kids to keep their rooms tidy?” 

It’s a problem all parents face in their day to day life.  I mean who knew kids came with soo much stuff.

As the mother of two young children I’m only too familiar with the chaos that comes with kids and the impact it has on our environment and stress levels.  None of us want to spend our day nagging at our kids yet it seems like a never ending battle.

Ultimately, the key is to set the right environment for success.  One which encourages independence as well as providing a home for each category of item. Asking the kids to pack up when there is no real sense of order to their environment makes it hard for them to know where to find or put away their things.

So it’s up to us as parents to set the scene for them and to teach them the all-important tools of organising and the ability to let go.

When it comes to organising any space it’s not only about ‘the stuff.’ Giving every category of item a home creates calmness / order for both our mind and spaces. Systems and routines are a big part of the process too, providing an ease of use for everyone. 

  1. Allocate set zones, spaces for each category of item.  This is often determined by where you want your children to play.  It might be their individual bedrooms or a set playroom. Ultimately this sets the limit for the amount of space and content you are happy to house.
  2. Group and Sort – gather together like with like items from all areas of the home.  This allows you to see the true volume of content.
  3. Age & Stage Appropriate – Kids play is often non-constructive when toys are too babyish or challenging for them.  So keep items relevant to their age and interests and donate the rest.
  4. Rotate Items – Split up the content.  Keep half the items available to them and the rest up high.  By rotating out on a regular basis you reignite their interest and keep play constructive.
  5. Create Weekly Themes – especially great if you have toddlers.  This allows you to expand on their interests and various levels of development; imaginative, cognitive, fine/gross motor skills, construction, etc.
  6. Storage – Store items based on like with like categories in clear containers that are size relevant to the content, and be sure to label them.  This essentially creates one set home and limit for the content making it easier for children to know where things go at pack-up time. Avoid big / deep tubs of mixed toys as the content at the bottom gets lost and the kids are more inclined to tip the whole thing out to find what they are looking for.
  7. Change your Language – When it comes to packing up be specific about the action you are asking the kids to perform.  Instead of asking them to ‘pack-up their room’ break it down into more specific actions relevant to the homes you have created. Ie “Please put your Lego back in the Lego Tub”.
  8. What you allow in? – When it comes to gift giving time communicate ideal gift ideas to family/friends and consider experiences ahead of physical toys.  Some examples are: Zoo / Movie / Theatre passes or just an IOU for a day out with the Grandparents.  Before making purchases consider where this item will live, do we have space for it and how many of this item do we already have. Additionally, choose open ended toys that encourage your child’s imagination and creativity.
  9. One in One out – in order to maintain the balance, adopt the ‘one in one out rule’. For every item that enters the home an item of equal or similar content needs to be moved on.  This also helps to ensure that items remain age and stage appropriate.
  10. Get the Kids involved – One of the best ways for our kids to learn organisation skills is to get them involved in the process.  Ok, so initially they may only pass on one or two items, however with repetition they will soon get the hang of it.  Children are also more likely to maintain a space they helped create.

Mostly be consistent in your routines.  Have set times in the day in which the kids need to pack-up ie. before dinner.  Additionally, changing our expectation a little.  Kids are kids and there is a great level of creativity that comes through in their play, so let them explore and leave the packing up until the end of each day. 

Where to donate:  Local toy libraries, St Kilda Mum’s, Local Kindergartens/Primary School/Doctors Waiting Rooms

Where to Sell: Facebook have a number of Buy, Swap and Sell groups in your local area.  Best thing is it’s free


Robyn Amott is founder of Bless this Mess Professional Organising and De-cluttering services and spends her day helping others get organised.

For more great organising/storage solutions contact Robyn Amott on 0407 757 466 or at www.blessthismess.com.au, or follow her daily tips on Facebook www.facebook.com/BlessthisMessOrganising or Instagram www.instagram.com/blessthismessorganising