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8 Ingenious Ways to Manage Toddler Mess

By Savoir_style @Savoir_Style
We have all been there. We all have days where we have been messy, not in the mood to clean or plain old lazy because the work week has been hectic. So you may find a pile of clothes in one corner and your bed is not made because you are enjoying a lazy Sunday. Then, this tiny little human being comes into your life and you realize that one of their superpowers is making all that mess multiplied a 100 times by the hour. I don't blame you for being caught off guard. 

Seriously, nothing can prepare you for the onslaught especially if you are obsessed with cleaning. (One of the first things my daughter picked up from me was taking a wipe and try to clean everything in the house - Can't say if I am proud of it but there's that.)

I can't promise that today's post will make the mess any less but it will surely help you manage it better. The underlying principle here being - "Change the things you can and accept the things you can't". Babies will be babies and they are messy for a reason. So, here goes 8 ways to manage toddler mess:

1. Plan activities ahead of time 

 Children like to do things spontaneously so it will help you to manage that spontaneity and channel it into activities they love to do. With toddlers, it is never as simple as "OK, go paint". There is a time and there is a place because otherwise once they are done painting, you may have to get to doing some painting yourself especially if you live in an apartment rental like us.

I usually do it over the weekend so if I am heading out, I will pick up any materials I need for the activity or just make a quick list of what she enjoys and what new she will enjoy so I can have both types of activities. Just having that list helps a lot because then I have to refer it in the coming week.

2. Use the Top Shelves in the Children's room strategically 

I am generally a little cautious in giving my daughter paints or markers and rarely leave them around the house. I keep a lot of colored pencils so she can scribble whenever she wants but give her a marker and she inadvertently heads for the wall. I started using the top shelf in her room to keep such things away from her reach. I also like to store Play Dough, Toy parts that can get mixed with others, Paints, Markers and Puzzles that she needs my assistance for. You can also use the top shelf to store clothes that are a size big for the kid (I tend to do that because sometimes I like something a lot in a bigger size and can't wait for her to have it). 

3. Pick One activity per day/week. 

 Once you have the list of activities for the week, it is easier to pick one every day. When I say pick a activity for a week - you could pick something like sensory play for that week and let them try different materials or take play dough and try something new with it every day. It not only gives some structure to play time it also helps you be prepared for a week in advance to manage the mess. We sometimes end up combining two activities - Train Tracks and Play Dough, Water Play and Alphabets, Shapes or Numbers, Sidewalk Chalk and Everyday things etc. This also gives you freedom to go with what the child wants to do.

4. Sort Toys based on activity

Since I have been talking about planning activities all throughout the post, it helps to have the toys sorted on activity play. My daughter generally plays with train tracks, building blocks, cars and car tracks and her play kitchen. I use the Sesame street toy bin organizer to sort her toys based on it this. I will have the cooking and tea set in the top bins for a week and then keep rotating the toys based on what she is showing interest in that week. It helps me clean the clutter after she is done playing and I can also make sure the house doesn't look like it was hit by a tornado. 
8 Ingenious ways to manage Toddler Mess

5. Use LOTS of Bins and Boxes around the house

  We have Bins and Boxes in every room of our house. My daughter takes her toys everywhere so we keep them everywhere and it always takes us less than 15 mins to clear the house of all sorts of clutter in case of an emergency. These have also helped her understand what to do to clean the mess. She doesn't do much of that yet but she understand that toys go into boxes at the end of the day and waste goes into the dustbin. 

6. Make peace with the fact that there will be Mess

 I cannot stress this enough but kids will be kids and they are messy for a reason - they have to touch and feel and use all their senses to comprehend things and who are we to stop them from doing that. In the course of that, there will be mess and there will be clutter but there will also be plenty of giggles and laughs because nothing makes them happier than making a mess. Take a deep breath and know that it's OK to let it go once in a while.

7. Blank Space(s) are good

Yes and I don;t mean the Taylor Swift song (That's good too). However, don't get fixated with filling your house with all types of organizers and forget that some space is good. A quiet corner for them to read in, a place for them to pretend play - not every inch has to be covered and that also means you can cram in some extra items as they grow up.

8. Purge, every once in a while

 Whether it is clothes or toys, most children outgrow them in a few months, There is no point collecting the clutter which is why you should purge these before their next birthday or before you buy more during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. It also helps the kids learn that you need to get rid of extra baggage, both physically and emotionally. Purging is good. 
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