1. Place hooks, shelves and other put things away spaces at eye level so your kids can easily reach them
2. Clean with your child a few times. This allows your child to learn from you what you expect “clean” to look like.
3. Make a chore chart with rewards that are meaningful to your child. And remember that stickers may be meaningful for younger kids but won’t cut the mustard with older kids. Be flexible as kids grow.
4. Limit the number of stuffed animals your child is allowed to have. Stuffed animals are a haven for dust and other allergens.
5. Establish a cleaning routine. In our house, the kids know their rooms need to be clean before bedtime.
6. Set aside days/times that you vacuum, clean windows, etc. This way your kids know that everything needs to be off the floor by then and if not follow through with an appropriate consequence.
7. Use ice cube trays, earring holders, tackle boxes or other storage containers with compartments for those itty bitty toys you are bound to step on in the middle of the night.
8. Use clear storage, especially when kids are too little to read labels or you can use pictures as labels.
9. Decorate and arrange your child’s room to fit their style and personality. If it is a room they enjoy being in, they may be inspired to keep it clean.
10. Resist the urge to clean up for them- they will learn more quickly when they are expected to do it themselves.
11. When kids are younger, make cleaning a game. Set an egg timer and have it be a mom versus kid challenge (mom folding clothes v kid putting their clothes away). Have a cleaning theme song that you play or sing when cleaning. Hide something for them to find while cleaning. Chores don’t have to be boring to be effective.
12. Impose a one thing out at a time rule.
13. Break cleaning (which is a BIG job) into smaller jobs. For example, dust your room or put your legos away. Saying “clean your room” is too general for most kids, especially if you haven’t followed step #2 yet.
14. Go through the kids toys periodically. Purge broken toys and donate toys your kids have outgrown or no longer play with.
15. Have a designated place in the house for kids items that are waiting to be put away. The rule in our home is if the toys are in the basket for more than 24 hours they go “bye-bye” for a week.
16. Set a good example.
17. Use an over the door shoe holder for Barbie dolls, action figures, etc. Be creative with storage.
18. Use double duty storage- benches, ottomans that open for storage can hold video games, books, etc. especially for older kids.
19. Take advantage of under the bed storage. This maximizes space and leaves less room for them to stuff things as well.
20. Limit collections (my son collects everything so he is allowed to keep his collections in a box, when the box gets full he has to choose something to take out before he can add anything else. This has worked well with my sentimental guy)
21. Increase responsibility as kids get older.
22. Keep toys elsewhere in the home, as much as possible and if space allows. This leaves less for your kids to put away for their room to be clean.
23. Praise their accomplishments. Kids don’t respond well to nagging- me either for that matter 
24. Hold them accountable. If their room is not up to standards then enforce some type of pre-agreed upon consequence.
25. And if all else fails take everything out but their bed and dresser (just kidding, hope no one has to get that desperate)

Happy Organizing!
Melissa,Multitasking Mama

This is a reprint of an article I wrote for Show Mom the Money.com. Some ladies in the organizing group have been asking for tips on organizing kids toys/rooms so I hope someone finds this helpful. Let me know if there are any additional questions I can answer.

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Tags: cleaning, kids, organizing, rooms, toys

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Comment by Stacey Crew on March 4, 2009 at 1:02pm
Melissa, Thanks for your great tips! You sure are the Multitasking Mama. Just a reminder that there is a difference between cleaning and organizing. Cleaning has to do with dust and dirt and organizing has to do with stuff. Generally, if a space is organized it takes 40% less time to clean. Therefore, I'd break up the tasks into those categories, declutter and get organized first, then focus on the cleaning. Also, rotating toys and books is a great way to declutter a space and provide a "surprise" later on when you take out the stuff that's been stored for a while.

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