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with Heather Gilmore, MSW, LLMSW, BCBA

5 Tips for Managing Your Kids’ Toys and Belongings (in the Play Room or Bedroom)

messy room

Kids can be extremely disorganized and messy. You might know that rare kid who likes to organize and is actually very naturally neat and tidy, but most of the kids I’ve known, tend to be less than orderly.

As a mom, you can probably relate to the struggle of the disheveled toy piles, the Legos on the floor, the random items dispersed throughout the house, and all the mess that comes with our kids’ stuff.

I have found that there are a few things that can help you to manage these problems of parenting. I will list some of the best tips that I have. Try them out and see how they work for you.

  1. Declutter! This is a word that’s been thrown around a lot in the past few years, but it is extremely important to having an organized and peaceful home. I could get into a lot more detail (maybe in another post), but basically, in the realm of kid stuff, I suggest sorting through EVERYTHING (yes, everything) and getting rid of broken toys, unwanted items, and downsizing on the number of items in a category (such as going from 50 stuffed animals to just 10 stuffed animals). Yes, this tip will take a long time and that’s totally fine, just work at it a little bit at a time (maybe 15 minutes a day or so and maybe a big splurge for a few hours when you get the chance).
  2. Places, places, places! Everything should have a place and everything should be in its place. You don’t have to buy expensive storage products (although having matching bins can be helpful for the look and organization of things). Be sure to only have one category of toys or items in each bin. You can label the bins if you want to, as well.
  3. “The Mom Check”. My kids have a habit of putting things where they don’t belong just to get done cleaning more quickly. I had to start checking through all of the storage bins and shelves in our play area to make sure things are where they are supposed to be. If you do this, be sure to follow through and make your kids put things where they belong.
  4. Make it fun. Even though you might not feel like you should have to reward your kids for every thing that they should do, it can be helpful to make a game or a reward system involved in the cleaning and upkeep process. For example, if there’s stuff on the floor, have your kid pick up 20 items and put them in their correct locations in exchange for a quarter or a piece of candy or 10 minutes of electronic time or whatever you think is reasonable for your kid.
  5. Be Consistent! Set rules for the upkeep and cleaning of your toy area. If you want your kids to keep things off the floor, set aside time daily to have them pick up the floor in that area. Be reasonable with your expectations but be consistent. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Kids are much more compliant if their parents stay consistent with their expectations and the consequences (good and bad consequences) that are provided for the child’s behavior.

Feel free to add in the comments if you have any other helpful suggestions that might give other moms some good tools to use for managing their kids’ toys and belongings.

Thanks for reading.

5 Tips for Managing Your Kids’ Toys and Belongings (in the Play Room or Bedroom)

Heather Gilmore

My name is Heather Gilmore. I am so happy to be able to have a space to share helpful insights and resources to other moms out there. Being a parent is hard work and I hope to be able to give you tips and strategies to make it at least a little bit easier and more enjoyable. We love our kids but any mom knows that they can also be exhausting and overwhelming at times, as well. I have a master's degree in social work. I work as a children's therapist. I am also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and work with children with autism spectrum disorder. Additionally, I am a freelance writer specializing in topics related to children and families. I have my own company called Hope Family Resources which provides resources in person and online to help families find greater hope, health, and happiness. See my site and learn more about me at: or email me at I have also published books on Amazon. Search for "Discpline and Parenting Strategies for Kids with ADHD," "Have Peace: How to Have Peace in Your Busy, Chaotic Life," and "Sibling Rivalry: How to Deal with Sibling Rivalry so You Won't Have to Anymore,"

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APA Reference
Gilmore, H. (2016). 5 Tips for Managing Your Kids’ Toys and Belongings (in the Play Room or Bedroom). Psych Central. Retrieved on December 13, 2019, from


Last updated: 20 Jun 2016
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