5 steps to a
self-cleaning playroom

Only ovens self-clean, but what if you weren’t the one that always picked up after the kids are done playing?

By Rosalie Levi

My theory is if it’s fun, kids will be more enticed to do it.

Step 1

Find a space that is not in your face. The area should be well lit, inviting and enticing, so the kids will eagerly spend time in that location. You don’t want them to feel like they’re in a cave, but you also don’t want the toys to be the first thing you see when you walk in the house.

Step 2

Kid friendly storage system. A wall of bins is the easiest way to manage most toys. Use metal or plastic shelves from the hardware store or storage shelving like the IKEA Kallax (ideal for smaller bins and baskets). Select appropriately, not too high but wide enough so that bins fit with wiggle room, so kids don’t have to struggle to get at them. And of course, secure the shelving unit to the wall for safety. Colour match stickers on bins and shelves. Make it fun and easy with a super hero or animal sticker representing the type of toy that goes in that bin. Involve the kids in the decision-making, and they will experience a sense of pride and will more likely maintain the system.

Step 3

‘Under construction’ space. Create a surface, off the floor, for ongoing projects like a Lego city, or some artistic creation, so it can stay till the next time. However, everything else they were using needs to be stored in its properly marked place.

Step 4

Less is more. This is challenging but if a space is crowded, children will feel overwhelmed (just like us, right?) and when its time to clean up they won’t know where to start. Most likely, they will freak out or just not do it. Using a Noah’s Arc system, reduce what stays in the playroom (ex. 3-4 stuffed animals vs. 20-30). Give away what’s no longer relevant or age appropriate, and store and rotate the rest every few months. The children will appreciate the toys more when they return to the playroom. For the giveaways, explain to your child it will go to children with no toys and bring your child with you to the donation centre to help with closure.

Step 5

Make it fun! Some of the best daycares and nurseries manage to keep a tidy room with 10-20 kids playing in them by using songs and establishing rules to help keep things orderly, while still being a fun and creative environment. Consistency is critical for the reprogramming stage. Walk the walk. Here are a few simple and fun songs:

Dave Moran’s Tidy Up Song
LittleBabyBum’s Tidy Up Song

Kids thrive and flourish in an orderly, consistent, environment, allowing for creativity without all the stress and chaos. These 5 steps are a great beginning to help them truly appreciate and respect what they have, and teaches them to care for their belongings. So, while it’s not a button you can push to clean the playroom, you more than likely will not be the one tidying it up every day.

Image: Scott & Elaine van der Chijs via StockPholio.com

rosalie levi

Rosalie Levi – Interior Designer – SpaceShifter™

As an accomplished interior designer, Rosalie has over 15 years of experience helping people transform their space fearlessly and in the process, transform themselves. With her signature SpaceShifting™ process, Rosalie helps her clients go from feeling frustrated and not knowing where to start, to being in control and feeling a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Rosalie’s extensive knowledge and experience in renovation and project management helps her clients through the transition of renovating, more informed and less stressed.

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