has a great conversation started today all about how to de-clutter your children's toys.  It is one of the long waged battles us moms face.  We want our homes to be neat, but with children that usually is not possible.  So, how to you keep it looking organized without stomping on their creative side:

1)  I put this one at the top because it can sometimes be one of the hardest ones for us parents- DO NOT BUY YOUR CHILDREN A TON OF TOYS :)  We always want our child to have what we did not.  And truthfully there are some really fun toys out there these days, but your child will be just as happy with 10 toys as he would be with 50!  Trust me

2)  Teach your child at an early age that toys are to be put away when they are done playing with them.  This can be done in the form of a game.  A race game perhaps with a timer as an incentive or even a song.  When the song is over the toys should be put away.

3)  Bins - I love them!  If you can pick up some fun, colorful bins at a discount store then putting the toys away is not so difficult.  All they have to do is toss them in.  

4)  Take a before picture - This shows the child what the room looked like when it everything was put away - When they say they are done cleaning show them the picture and ask them to tell you what looks different.

5)  For younger children pictures on bins are a great idea.  They may not remember that the red bin is for cars, but if there is a picture of one of their cars on the outside of the bin, what a difference that will make.

6)  Allow a place for "in process" playing.  I know when I was young I loved to set up my Barbie home.  It took more work to put together than actually playing,  So, if your child has a Barbie home, used car lot, etc. allow them to set it up some place out of the way where it can stay up indefinitely.  This will definitely help!

7)  When you purchase a new toy for your child, or they receive it as a present set up a one in two out rule.  That will help control the amount of toys your child has.  Perhaps set up a donate box or bag in your garage - when it is full have your child go with you to donate it.  

8)  Here is a do not item - DO NOT BUY A TOY BOX - It ends up being a catch all for all their stuff and when they want to find one toy everything ends up coming out so they can find it - I know from experience :)

9)  Keep it fun - I know, you walk into the room, it looks like Hurricane Katrina just came through, and you flip - whenever possible try to keep calm, turn on that fun music and get them to start cleaning!

10)  Last resort - you help with the cleaning - Do not feel like you have failed if your child loves to play but not clean.  Even as adults we feel this way.  Just make sure that if you find yourself on the floor cleaning that your child is there to help! 

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