Our home is big enough that it should accommodate us and all of our stuff. Lately though, it doesn't. It seems like I am constantly stepping on or over something and I find bits and pieces of toys or games all over the house.
I sorted through the kids' toys a couple of months ago and bagged up two trash bags worth of stuff. A third bag was filled with stuffed animals. I don't keep broken toys, I've avoided garage sales most of the summer in an attempt to not collect more crap and I try to have the kids clean up their toys when they're finished playing.
But there are moments when the kids must entertain themselves because I'm doing dishes or laundry or sweeping or you get the idea. It is during these times that my children make the biggest mess. Our game closet, located in the same room we use for school, is a disaster. The games were dumped, pieces are everywhere and the mess is overwhelming even for me. The kids were also playing dump in the closet which involved gathering game pieces, blocks, trash, etc and dumping it into the very back of the closet.
My first instinct is to do what I do for other huge messes and start throwing things away until someone pitches in and helps. I've asked the kids several times to clean it up and have had no response. The office is so messy at this point that it is unusable for school. It's like this in their bedrooms and in the dining room that also functions as a play room. I know it is part of my job to clean up crap, but I am getting tired of having to pull teeth to get one of the kids put a toy away that they got out. Lots of whining, complaining and time wasting.
I have tried to make the toys very easy to put away. I labeled all of the containers on the bookshelves and have even labeled the baskets. Most everything is kid level. I know that Maeve's room needs more functional storage, but the boys' room should be able to be kept clean.
So how do I enforce and/or encourage them to pick up their junk? How do I prevent them from dumping everything constantly? I keep repeating "this too shall pass", but I would like to help it pass and teach the kids some responsibility. Thoughts?