Because our boys have the freedom to relax and play throughout our entire home, there are days I could spend hours following behind them while picking up their slug-like clutter trails.  Fellow parents, raise your hands if you are with me!

Kids and their energy!  Boy do I wish it was something they could easily transfer to me.  Their minds race a thousand and three miles per minute and it is easy to forget to pick up before moving on to the next task.  Whether it be bowls left on the table after breakfast or socks around every corner, what seems simple isn't necessarily a priority to a kiddo.  And with my boys, I know most of the time it is not intentional, they are just truly forgetful busy bodies.

But forgetful things here and there times three boys and suddenly I feel like I am tripping over piles around every corner.

We implemented something last summer that worked really well and although some days I just pick up after my kids without thinking much about it, I believe that the boys should recognize what items they leave out and be responsible for putting those items away.

It is a habit of mine to pick up as I see things laying out, and sometimes it seems to enables their "forgetfulness".  That is where the handy pick-up helpers come in.  I purchased three small, handled bins (one for each boy), and now I toss their belongings into their personal bins throughout the day.  From there, it is their responsibility to empty the bins and put their items away.

I'm not gonna lie, some days I am tempted to fill the bins with their dishes, snack wrappers and shoes.... but for sanitary reasons I keep it to personal items, clothing, school supplies, books and toys.  Sometimes we even make a game out of it and I take advantage of their competitive spirits; the boy with the least amount of items in their basket throughout the day wins a special prize. 

This is definitely not rocket science, but something that is super helpful in our daily routine.  I initially tried some dollar store laundry baskets, but found they were really bulky and didn't tuck away in-between uses as well as these bins that I love now (not sponsored, just sharing trial and error).  Any basket/bin will do, but there were a few things I looked for to keep this process easy peasy for the whole family:

  • Collapsible:  There are times when I don't want the bins sitting out or taking up floor space.  These bins fold down and tuck away nice and neat.
  • Portable:  I selected bins that are extremely light weight to keep it easy for even our youngest boy to carry the bin around the house while putting away his belongings.
  • Durable:  Because the bins are used, filled and toted around daily, they get dirty.  I went with bins that are easy to clean and can withstand daily abuse.
  • Cute:  The bins are playful, colorful and match our decor.  I don't mind if they are sitting out throughout the day because they are not visually obtrusive (yet again, can still tuck away when cleaning up for company).
  • Roomie:  They offer enough storage to fit multiple items over the course of a day or two (or five).

Because the bins are each a different color, I didn't even need to create labels.  Each boy has a color and the process is painless for the entire family to maintain.  Sometimes, I think even they are surprised to see the impact their daily trails make.

Looking for more quick tips?  Check out the entire series here!