Picking up Toys

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Picking up Toys

From: Kay C

Cleaning tip – The most helpful thing I was told was when my kids were little and toys would get everywhere – Just use a grass rake to gather them all to one spot to be put away. It will bring in the smallest lego from under the TV cabinet and is easy to store with your brooms – hours saved each week!!


I did this very thing with the broom the other day and it worked great! With a toddler running around destroying everything and since I’m sick, I just can’t keep up. One thing we do is divide rooms. Each evening I say, “BJ, you pick up the living room AND PUT EVERYTHING WHERE IT BELONGS. Elly, pick up the Dining Room and Hallway, David, pick up the kitchen”. Then we rotate each day. This way, everyone can help and I don’t break my back cleaning up their mess. 

The trick is to say “put everything where it belongs.” Otherwise, they will just dump everything in one spot in the room. 

Another idea is to say, “Everyone pick up 20 things and put them where they belong” or “Everyone will pick up for 5 minutes.” The last one never worked for us because they would just stand around saying “I’m done” when it hadn’t been picked up (just waiting for the time to pass) so we moved to the “each one doing a room” routine, which seems to work much better. 


One thing that always helped me was staying on top of the picking up. Each morning, the kids had to leave their rooms picked up before they left for school. Each evening, the different rooms were picked up before bed and if things seemed to be getting out of control during the day we would have a pick up time. At other times, like if we were going someplace, things had to be picked up before we left.

Make it easy for the kids to put their toys away and have a good place to store them. As an adult, I get frustrated trying to smash something into a closet or shelf if it is full and messy. Can you imagine what a child feels like?

Also like Tawra said when dealing with children you have to be very specific in everything whether picking up things, eating and everything in between. If you tell a child “Eat your beans” trust me they will eat one and then say they did what you told them to do where what you really meant was for them to eat all of their beans. The little stinkers. Don’t we love them anyway. :) 


photo by: beeep


  1. says

    another trick which works after a few times is when you give your child a time out in their room.
    I never liked that idea because where are all the fun toys and computer games but in the room. Where is the deterrent to stop the behaviour.
    Anyway if you send them in their room or a corner or whatever they are always saying “is time up” to stop the question tell them time is up when the toys are picked up or the clothes are put away properly.
    This puts the onus on them and the time is cut short when they work hard.
    It also makes them keep the toys picked up so the time out is shorter next time.
    It worked on my boys for years. It saved my having to supervise the pick up and it saved battles I did not want to fight.
    My father would say “You are grounded” my mother would say “who are you punishing, them or me?” She was so right when you get right down to it.

    • says

      Yes grandma. A wise pastor once told me as a young mom to be very careful what you did for punishment and whether or not it was going to be equal punishment for me (like the grounding) and whether I would have the time and patience to follow through. (Will I be home to carry it through, need to go some place in the middle of the punishment etc.)

      As my kids got older I would often tell them I would think about their punishment and let them know. This would give me time to cool down and think. They always told me it was almost as bad waiting for me to decide as the punishment was itself.

      By the time my kids were in high school I would have them choose a punishment. This worked really good because they couldn’t get angry at me because the punishment was their idea so I was never considered the big heavy. I was very surprised when I first started doing this because I thought they would make up a very easy punishment but instead I found they often would make the punishment too hard and I would have to tone it down a little. This works best with kids who have been raised with a good sense of right and wrong from the time they were young. If a child is raised in the right environment you would be amazed at what a strong sense of justice they have even for themselves when they do something wrong.

  2. says

    As I have said before I usually had a bunch of teens at the house so they would sometimes get some of the chores. One was going shopping with me to carry stuff.
    One day one of them said what if we don’t behave what will you do? I grabbed him by his two ears pulled his face down to my level and said I would do the same in public and give him a big kiss on both cheeks. He said you wouldn’t. I smiled and said ask ray and dan. They said don’t try her.
    Just finished a book about immigration to Canada in the 20’s one teacher was having a problem one day with the older boys in the one room school house. She picked up the strap from the drawer and walked over to the stove and tossed it into the fire. The class just looked and she smiled and said “if you misbehave you will wish I had kept the strap.” this left the punishment to their imagination. Which is so much better than the knowing for sure.
    I kind of like that lady.

  3. donnab says

    A couple of things worked for me as the kids got older (around 12 and 9). When I came home from work if there were things all over the living room, at 6:00 p.m. I would take a trash bag and pick up everything and it went in the trunk of my car, and you lost it for one week. I didn’t have to do it more than 2-3 times ever. those kids could really move at 5:55!

    another that worked was the kids were responsible for not leaving a mess in the kitchen. When I came home I would not cook dinner until they picked up. a couple of times of my reading quietly til they cleaned up worked well also.

    • says

      Both great ideas. Not getting to eat until things are done is a great motivater. My kids didn’t get breakfast in the morning until their beds were made, clothes on and rooms picked up. They moved pretty fast. If I waited until after breakfast the would piddle all morning.

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