Picking up can be a hassle.
I know of no young children, who when given the task of picking up their toys, will not try to get out of it. The sad truth is that without some sort of strategy to corral toys, they would quickly take over all living space. Some parents cope with this by limiting the mess to a room where the door can be closed; others ignore the problem completely; some pick it up themselves; others nag.
I have to admit, I was in the last category. My daughter has designated play spaces, but when the toys make it into rooms where they are tripped over, I insist that they be picked up. My daughter, however, will do anything in her power not to pick things up.
One evening after my daughter had gone to bed I had grabbed a spare laundry basket and I was putting stray toys in it. The idea was that I would use it to transport them all upstairs. But another thought hit, and the Saturday Basket was born.
What Is The Saturday Basket?
The Saturday Basket is simply a laundry basket. Any toy that I find in the non-toy areas (kitchen, office, music room, living room) after bedtime gets put into the basket. The basket is stored on a high shelf in the closet, and on Saturdays the basket is taken down, and my daughter has to put everything away in its proper place. If a toy ends up in the basket repeatedly, it will be quietly removed and given away, at my discretion.
No More Nagging
It took me a few weeks to break the nagging habit, but the system is working fine. We all know the ground rules, and we abide by them. We have not had to give away any toys, and I have a more peaceful and less cluttered living space.
I have used the Saturday basket for several years with great success. I still have to remind myself not to nag, and there have been times when I have found the entire contents of the basket stuffed into her closet or under the bed. However, it has now gotten to the point where there are weeks without anything in the Saturday basket. This is progress in my eyes.
This post was originally posted at LauraEarnest.com and has been migrated here before I shut the LauraEarnest blog down.
Photo by Bird Eye