At this moment, I am not a mom. Well, I am but it’s to two cats. Sometimes when I go to friends’ homes and, not going to lie, the sheer amount of kids things overwhelms me. Until I get a glass of wine, all I see is kid clutter.

Disclaimer: I’m not being judgmental; my OCP (Obsessive Compulsive Personality) is something I struggle with on a regular basis.

Here are a few ways to combat kid clutter:

Just For Now…

Place bins or baskets on the floor of each common room and toss stray items into them each night. Consider if the corralling of kid clutter. This is not the item’s permanent home, it is the “keep mom sane” home. Many families have dedicated playrooms for their children but some items, toys and books inevitably make their way into the common living area. These bins are ideal to wrangle those items at the end of each day. But if you find yourself being caught up with truckload of things you can’t all fit in your house, maybe it’s time to consider having a self storage.

Hide Kid ClutterStorage Bench to hold Kid Clutter

Utilize storage benches and ottomans to hold toys and provide seating. A bench works in the mudroom and can become quick storage for the myriad of outwear accessories. Sure, it may look like a mess inside but at least it’s not on the floor!

Team Work Makes the Dream Work

Have children participate in a quick cleanup each night to place clutter in bins or shelves at the end of the day. At the end of the week, ask children to evaluate if the item needs to remain in the shared living space or if it should be moved back to their bedroom or playroom. A few times a year, perform a real purge, asking children to each choose a number (10 is a good start) of items they are no longer using to pass along, give to a friend or donate.

Personal Responsibility

When children have friends over, insist they pick everything up after guests leave. If the child has to spend two hours cleaning up after their friends leave, they will become more aware of the consequences of mess.  Often, children will begin to suggest their guests help before they leave.

Shared Room Solutions

If children are sharing a bedroom, use a color-coded storage system to keep items in order. This doesn’t have to be complicated. It could be as simple as black and white (both readily available in hangers, bins, etc). Toys can also be designated by using a dab of White Out or Sharpie. As the kids get older, they can take responsibility for putting away their own toys and clothes (you can mark the tags with a colored dot, also).

In conclusion, just because you have children and your children have a gazillion toys, books, and stuffed animals you don’t have to always live in the aftermath of a “toynado.”