Pre-christmas cleanout

Messy Room sign available from AllPosters

Do you need one of these signs at your place? I know I do. Neither Noosh-daddy nor I are naturally tidy people. (Clean, definitely. Tidy? We struggle.) And the play room is just a tip at the moment. It would be easy to just allow you to assume my kids have run riot and left their stuff everywhere - but it was essentially my fault... I see that now.  

Here are OhDeeDoh's  top 5 tips on how to clean out and prepare for the all the christmas gifts coming your childrens' way.

1. Make piles. I make several piles: dump, donate/give to friends, keep, sell. Our biggest pile is always donate or give to friends. These piles consisted of things that I had doubles of as a result of gifts (including lots of books) or things that weren't age appropriate. Dump was reserved for broken items. Sell ended being an empty pile.
2. Be ruthless. The only way to truly clean is to be decisive and ruthless. Don't clean while the kids are around. I waited until the kids were asleep to make the assault on the toys. Having them around only means things will be plucked out of piles to save and general messiness.
3. Get rid of piles immediately. This is where I went wrong! Once you make the piles, you need to MUST deal with them immediately. The donation and dump piles should be taken to their respective destinations. Then reorganize what you've got left and put everything away before stopping.
4. Use a labelmaker (or handwrite labels). I love my labelmaker and used it constantly while tackling this project. Part of it may have been a bit procrastination but it was rewarding to have everything so well organized and labeled at the end.
5. Rearrange, but do not buy more storage. To keep things interesting for the kids, move things around. I moved our big train table and drawers upstairs along with all trains and train related accessories. A table and chairs set have taken center stage. Wooden blocks have been moved to a different basket. The play kitchen is now in the dining room. Move things around as much as you like but don't buy more storage pieces. This way you can assess how much room you have. Once those gifts come piling in, you'll know exactly how many can stay. Either store or donate the others.

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