I Can’t Stand Cleaning Up After My Kid (or Myself)

I almost wrote “hate” but that seemed too strong a word. I don’t hate anything these days.  I’m just happy to be here. But … how is it that my kid can make such a large mess in so little time?  This weekend my daughter left a trail everywhere she went … and it’s like pulling teeth to get her to clean up after herself.

Last week I wrote a post about some drama that surrounded the idea of holding your kid’s stuff ransom if they left it out (Why I’ll Never Tell You How To Parent). This was a lesson for me that 1. people can find drama in anything … and … 2. I can find humor in anything. I thought the “ransom bin” was a great idea … but I guess some people didn’t. One of the arguments was that holding a child’s stuff for ransom was “stealing” from the child. I’m of the philosophy that everything in our house is mine, except for maybe some artwork my daughter created … tough luck kiddo … because I paid for it all. But every parent has their own opinion and I can see the other side of it. I’m good with that.

What I did realize though through all of it is that if I get overwhelmed with cleaning up after myself … and overwhelmed with getting everything back in the right place … my five-year-old daughter probably gets overwhelmed with it too.  I thought she needed some tools to help her clean up. Here’s what is working for us right now:

She has two bins that sit out (and are easily put away out of sight when needed): One bin is for all her trinkets and supplies. The other bin is for her papers, books and projects she’s currently into.

I picked these two up from Home Depot and they are the perfect size without becoming intrusive. I’ve found that if she has a laid out plan to collect all of her stuff she’s been playing with … it’s much easier on both of us. It’s also an easy way to manage expectations: Your mission: Put all the crap that’s laying around the living room … into these two bins.

So how do I get all of MY crap back into place? Pretty much the same way. I have a large basket that that I use to collect clothing, brushes, new purchases, trinkets etc … and then every few days I spend an hour returning everything to it’s place. I do the same with my daughters bins … once a week we sort through it together (and sometimes I secretly “purge” things) to return things to “their home” so that she has room for new stuff.

 (excerpt from 10 Ways I Keep Organized)


So, would you hold your kids toys for ransom?  What’s your best tip for helping your kids clean up (apart from donating it all)?



A big thanks to The Home Depot for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.




Read more of my writing at:

Ashley Hackshaw of



Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Don’t miss a DIY project! Follow me on Pinterest.

Check me out here as well:

The Cancer Chronicles via

Check out The New Home Ec for DIY project roundups!



Article Posted 4 years Ago

Videos You May Like