A few weeks ago, my Husband got frustrated with the situation of the toys in our living room. Before bed, we’d all clean up the toys to encourage our son to do it himself. Then he started coming up with excuses.
“I’m too tired”
“I need help”
“I can’t do it”
This didn’t go over well, because around here, we value independence, and if he could play with all those toys, then he could clean them up. The problem was, there was just too many (even though much less in comparison to others) and it was overwhelming to him. Cowboy took away all of his toys, we left him with a book, a toy bear and a puppet. We told him that when he could put all these away on his own, he could have more. This went on for a few weeks with little improvement. I then decided that if we had small bins, it would make things simpler.
So I went to the hardware store, bought 4 small tubs, for $30, and my life has been decluttered further. It’s fantastic.
We have a train track tub, the hot wheels/cars and stacking cups tub, animals and horse trailer, and truck/trailer tub. Each of them has a few books, and these are his most played with toys. I got rid of any one with small pieces. We also have a little garage that come out with the cars.
Now, in the morning, I’ll ask Mac if he wants some toys, and he’ll tell me which one he wants. If he has the animals, and says he’s done and wants the cars, I tell him to clean up the animals and then I’ll get the cars (they’re high up in the coat closet). Currently, 6/10 times he does it without any assistance, the other 4/10 I give a bit of help. At bedtime, we clean them all up, he puts the lid on and I put it away. He’s usually pretty tired by bedtime and needs a bit more help to avoid meltdowns.
The best part about these is that Mac loves them, and every time we put a tub away, we check under the couches for any missing pieces so they’re all together.
If you live somewhere with a big box store, then you’ll pay less than $30 for these tubs, but I also bought really good quality Rubbermaid ones that aren’t going to break easily, and I’ll be able to use then for another purpose down the road.
I can’t recommend doing this enough. It’s made my son’s independence grow, which is pretty fantastic if you ask me. I still don’t expect him to do it all on his own every time, but it certainly has made him able to do it better himself!