You can get kids to pick up toys and clothes
without nagging...Really!

I used to struggle to get my kids to pick up toys from their room or general areas –does that sound familiar? Instead of the nagging that used to take place, I found a way to motivate them:

We have a tidy up basket a big receptacle that is kept in a corner of our living room.

When it's time to pick up toys, clothes, or other things during our Family Fifteen kids can just toss things into the “tidy up basket” in their zone instead of putting them all away. I have found that this time saver lets kids work fast. On their chore chart, our kids are supposed to empty their belongings from the “tidy up basket.” Truthfully, that doesn't always happen, but it's okay, because:

Once a week, on a predetermined day that everyone knows about, I empty the tidy up basket with no reminder. If you really want to get kids to clean without nagging, that last part is super important. Believe me, even my six-year old now remembers when the “tidy-up basket” is emptied and will go through it removing most of his belongings.

So in theory it should be empty every week then, right? Ha ha ha ha ha! I wish. Actually I don't wish, because here's how it works out:

I empty the basket on Wednesday nights. I give out allowance on Fridays (woo hoo! Pay day!) Anything that is left in the basket gets confiscated into a big plastic bin that I keep on top of a book shelf in my bedroom.

Before I give out allowance, I bring down the stuff from “up high,” the confiscated stuff, and lay it all out on the couch in individual piles.

In my family, the youngest one is usually the biggest culprit, but he is learning slowly. Then once they see how much (or how little) they have to put away, I have them make me an offer to buy back their stuff (isn't that great?!) and then I subtract it from their allowance.That might sound harsh—but if I am treated like a maid, then I charge for my time.

I also make it clear that for any “repeat offenders” i.e. toys that are repeatedly not put away, that I have the right to put them in the Goodwill box.

I don't feel that bad about that, even when they complain and whine (well, they don't let it happen anymore, but in the beginning I had to be firm for the benefit of all of us!) because I refuse to care more about a material object than they do. And, since they know I follow through with that threat, they are more responsible.

Don't forget about the importance of consistency! Make sure you empty the “tidy up basket” each week on the same night. Now our kids know to pick up toys, clothes, etc. without reminders. We as a family keep the house tidy and have responsibility over our belongings, and you can too!

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