Chaos Control

Everything you bring into your home YOU'VE gotta pick up!  Those $2.00  marbles (25 of them) - You've either gotta pick them up (200 times) or be the policeman (the NICE policeman) who makes it happen.
Stuff accumulates.  Think about Christmas and all those new toys - fun to buy, not so fun to pick up.  In my house, 9 children, each with at least 10 gifts from brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, Santa and me....That equals....90 !!! Scary.

Here are a few chaos control ideas:-

Your own toy library
A lockable cupboard, a container for each toy - the box it came in, a zip lock plastic bag, a plastic net bag (the kind oranges come in)
The child gets to "borrow" 3 or 4 toys each week from your own toy library and has to return it, in its bag with all its pieces, to borrow more the next week.  This also keeps the toys interesting  "Oh wow!  I forgot we had that!" and avoids that useless jumble of missing pieces.

Lego- play it on a sheet or blanket so tidy up just means picking up the corners and dumping it back in the box.

Have a basket in the family room where all kid mess can quickly be stashed.

A bottom drawer in the kitchen that is full of toys to keep babies happy and near you while you cook.

Make room in the house for the people!  Get rid of the junk!  Reduce the chaos!

Buy less!! Chuck more!!

Have in each room ONLY what is necessary for function and beauty.  Extras go in utility room or cupboards.

A mother with small children needs to organise her home differently, more efficiently.

A sleeping room.  A playing room.  A clothes room.

The sleeping room - I like to double up the bedrooms with 2 or 3 children in the room.   It is good for brotherly love and bonding.  Small children don't like to be alone.  In the room are beds (our little ones love to share a bed), a night light, a few books, and some worthies.  (A "worthy"  is a stuffed animal that is special enough to sleep with).  Cosy, tidy, and easy for a little one to learn to keep clean.

This leaves a room free for - the play room! For toys only.  Stuffed animal picnics, lego castles and puzzles can be left out till the game has ended, just shut the door on the creative mess. One place for toy mess instead of many.

It works to have all the children's clothes NOT in their closets i.e. the floor, but in the laundry or main bathroom.  Weird, but it works. One place in the house for clothes mess instead of many.  For example, a chest of drawers can be put in the bathroom where they bathe and dress.  So an item of clothing can be - 1. On them  2. In the washing basket in the same room  3. In the drawer.
   
Limit what each child owns. With clothes its better to have 1 dress outfit (OK, I will admit you cannot limit a little girl to one pretty dress, but you get the idea), 1 smart casual for shopping or grandma's, 3 rough play clothes, 1 PJ's.  This will cost far less than many cheap items.  Enough, not too much.  Well dressed, but still with the freedom of play clothes.  Less washing, less folding, less ironing.

Have a treasure box for each child where they keep their special things.  Little boys love a padlock on it.  When it overflows they have to chuck or store.  If it makes you go  "Oh that is so cool" (boys)  OR   "Awwwwwww.....I love that" (girls) keep it.  Otherwise chuck it.

Have a display book for the endless school notes etc.  

If you have things spilling out of drawers and closets the time you spend tidying is greatly increased.  You could be spending that time doing fun things.

We have a big old cupboard with lots of drawers in the kitchen.  We named it Ernestine. And numbered the drawers. 
"Where's the tape?"
" Ernestine 6!" 

What is it like beyond the chaos?  After an overseas visit from me and my 4 little boys, Granma left their fingerprints on her windows for months.  
Kinda sad...and very sweet. 

-Lisa

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