7 ways to get your kids to clean up

How do I make sure my child cleans up his things? It is a very logical question, especially when you just finished cleaning everything and your lovely offspring is already turning around the next toy bin. They do need it (especially those preschoolers) to browse through all those toys. You really do not have to walk behind them with a basket, every time toys are left lying around. Here are a few tips to keep it productive and cozy, for everyone :-):

TIP 1 – EVERYTHING HAS A FIXED PLACE

It all starts with a system. If have said it here before, but it is true! Everything has it’s own place and explain to your kids how that system works. Also ensure a clear storage system that is clear, easy to handle and accessible. Large baskets, trays or drawers are ideal for small children. You can also stick pictures or labels on the boxes or boxes that make clear what belongs in them. Teach the child that everything has a place: the coats belong at home on the coat rack, the shoes in the shoe rack, and also the toy has its fixed place.

TIP 2 – ENVOLVE THEM

Children who have learned from childhood that cleaning up is necessary, are more confident and happier as adults than children who grew up in a messy and disorderly home. Research shows that people who live in an ordered environment usually also have their lives and their heads in order. That is why it is important to involve children as quickly as possible in cleaning up their toys and in household tasks at their level.

TIP 3 – BE REALISTIC

Go step by step and let the child do chores that it likes. Small tasks that are clear and feasible for his / her age. The child will be satisfied and motivated to continue working with it. Be realistic in this and do not forget that it still needs to learn. Practice makes perfect.

TIP 4 – BE CLEAR

Give your child clear and simple guidelines. Describe exactly what is expected of him or her step by step. For example: ‘First put your lego blocks back in the box’. Once that task is finished, you give a new assignment such as ‘put your coloring books and pencils back in the drawer’. That works better than ‘clean up your toys’.
Until the age of about four years, a toddler usually needs help with cleaning up. Learn how to deal with it by telling you what you’re doing while you put everything together in order: ‘we put the dolls back in the basket, and now we put the blocks in the box’ … Do not assume that a small child knows how to clean up. It is a matter of learning step by step.

TIP 5 – MAKE CLEANING A FIXED MOMENT IN THE ROUTINE

Make sure you clean up together at fixed times of the day. That way everyone knows what he / she is up to and what needs to be done. For example, before the afternoon nap and before evening bedtime. Accept that it can be a bit messy, before those clean-up moments. This way they can play undisturbed and you have your ‘own’ living room back when they sleep. Let your child know in time that it is almost time to stop playing and start cleaning up. Do that five minutes in advance and in a clear message. For example: ‘It is almost bedtime. You can continue playing for five minutes, but then it’s time to clean up ‘. Once those five minutes are up, you tell your child that it’s time to start cleaning up. You can also start those clean-up moments with a clean-up song to make sure it’s working for the little ones. And they often use these kinds of songs at daycare to, so it’s extra clear to them what’s going on. Because at daycare, they most certainly help out, when needed:-).

TIP 6 – WE LOVE HELPING HANDS

Children under the age of 4 can help with household chores. Some can do it independently and sometimes you have to accompany them. But, often they find it super to help mom / dad with those big-people chores. Think of watering the plants, clearing the dishwasher, clearing the drying rack, removing the paper from the mat, vacuuming etc … Of course you can do it yourself, but it’s about getting involved with the household and being responsible.

From the age of four, the child can carry out small work independently, although of course this still happens in his / her way. In other words: adjusting and monitoring is still necessary until the child is about eight years old. The range of tasks can be extended with the table cover or clearing, just dusting, giving the pets food, harmless handling in the preparation of the food (stirring, mixing, rolling balls …) etc …

From 8 years it goes all the way and a child – if it is open to it – can really be a help at home. The possibilities are many: vacuum cleaning, cleaning up their room, throwing clothes in the laundry basket, filling and emptying the dishwasher, taking care of pets …. It is important to make firm agreements about what is expected. Put in humor if things do not go smoothly or if the child forgets something.

TIP 7 – FOLLOW BY EXAMPLE

The most important one I keep for the end and that is: give the good example! If you immediately put your coat on the coat rack and put your shoes on the shoe rack, they will automatically imitate you. But, if you always leave your jacket on the couch, you can not expect them to do it properly. In short; children look at their parents to see what they should do, in that case literally. Give the good example and they will follow!

Good luck and have fun doing so!

Ciao, Eva.

The big staying-organized secret!

One of the nicest things I do every day (besides organizing of course) is to talk to people about my profession. Whether it’s a conversation with the greengrocer on the market or with a mother of a befriended toddler-girlfriend … I tell everyone: I’m a professional organizer! Especially since it took a few years before I found out that the profession exists, I want to share it with everyone now. Because this work is sooooo nice!

THE ORGANIZING SECRET

And a frequently asked comment that I get is; “Oh, but then your house is always neat and tidy!”. Well, my house really is not always tidy. I also live here with three children under 7, a husband and an old cat. And everyone here needs space to do his own things. But … what I do have is an organized house. So, everything can be cleaned up in 10 minutes. And that is exactly the biggest secret of every professional organizer: behind everything is a system, a way of thinking, a reason why it is organized in this way.

EVERYONE CAN HAVE AN ORGANIZED HOUSE

And of course, I also sometimes step on a piece of lego (as in the picture) or sometimes get overwhelmed by the amount of laundry. But at three moments during the day, I (and my housemates) pull it up within 10 minutes: in the morning after breakfast, in the evening after dinner and one last time in the evening before I go to bed. And you can do that too, so it is possible for everyone to have an organized home. Go for it!

Good luck and have fun doing so!

Ciao, Eva.

What to do if you partner isn’t as tidy as you would like!

One of the themes that almost returned to everyone is THE PARTNER. Because, how do you deal with that dear partner who thinks totally differently about a tidy life than you do? Food for thought in any case! But, I would like to make an attempt here to help you get started. Here it goes:

STEP 1 – DO NOT TRY TO CHANGE HIM / HER

It is an illusion to think that you can change your partner. Whether it is to put his socks in the laundry basket more often or throw away their newspapers if they have been read. Everyone is his own person and please do not try, after reading this blog, to change him / her. So, that is actually the first step: accept that your partner can not change because you want to. But do it out of you own desire to clean up. And take into account that you do not do this for your partner, but for yourself.

STEP 2 – FOLLOW BY EXAMPLE

But, what can you do? For starters, you can set a good example yourself, which you would like to see with your partner. It is a very small step, but a very important one. With a little bit of luck you inspire him / her to follow your example and the need for change comes from his / herself. My experience is that it often happens here: at this moment you see that partners suddenly see and discover that they also want to be organized. Because, living a tidy life is contagious: it gives so much space and peace :-).

STEP 3 – STAY POSITIVE

Furthermore, it is of course important to make it negotiable. And I do not mean in the category; “Clean up your coffee cup!” But, try to do it in a way that is positive and based on the experience of your partner, where you keep thinking in solutions. Where you want to be respectful for his / her wishes and feelings. Think about how it can work for you partner. Maybe that cup of coffee is there for a reason.

STEP 4 – WORK TOGETHER

And so you come to the core and together you find a solution. Because, that is the secret behind a tidy household. You have to do it together. Perhaps it is possible, for example, to make a dedicated area in the house, only for him. There it does not have to be tidy. But, in the common areas, you agree that you want to keep it both organized. Or agree on a fixed moment every day, that you make a ten moment round together.

But, the most important thing is that you should not be frustrated by it. You want a tidy home (which I understand), but accept that your partner may not find it so important (yet) and do not count it on him / her. Make sure that your home really feels like a home, for both of you.

Good luck and have fun doing so! Ciao,

Eva.