3 children. 2 bedrooms. 1 big mess. That is the situation in our house in a nutshell.
When we visit other families their children’s rooms are tidy. The beds are made. Things are in allocated spaces. Shelves and under bed drawers abound, providing clever storage solutions. Storage solutions that actually get used!
So what’s the secret?
I need to know because we can’t seem to make it work.
The floors of the boys’ bedrooms are littered with toys constantly. Socks and all manner of junk lie around the place. Books are scattered beside the beds and empty or (worse still) half-empty beakers can be found in the most unlikely places, ready to be kicked over. Playmobil figures are wedged between mattress and bedframe and you’d be forgiven for thinking they actually want their Lego to get hoovered up.
They are not yet at the stage where they can clean their room themselves. About once a month I help them but it takes several hours and we always end up with a bin bag of scraps of paper, broken bits of toys and lids of markers.
Afterwards the rooms look great and I think, without fail, “this time we’ll keep them clean”. I mean, we have the storage solutions. We know how to use them. But, without fail, within two to three days the rooms are like bomb sites again.
Yesterday we cleaned again. The older boys’ room was a huge job. But this time they noticed the difference. Tonight at bedtime they folded their clothes and put them away for the morning. The toys they used today got put away, voluntarily. The pencils and paper, though they had been used, were still on the desk. The books they read were put back on the shelf.
There was no picking my way through a minefield of Lego or emerging after bedtime hugs with an armload of socks and underpants for the wash basket.
I’m not getting my hopes up. It has only been a day. But if they can do it for one day, they can do it for two, right? And three and four. And maybe soon we’ll get a week out of cleaning the room.
3 children. 2 bedrooms. 1 small mess. I could live with that.