“Why is my hairbrush on the living room floor?”
“Why is there a salad spinner in front of the TV?”
“Who put my laptop in the dog crate?”
When you have a toddler in your house, your life is one never-ending tidying spree. It never ends. It never stops.
It also means you don’t have the usual garden-variety tidying up to do. When my son finds something that interests him, like a frying pan, I’ll probably find it later in the laundry room. Anything can end up anywhere, when you have a toddler in the house. So when I try to clean up, I end up criss-crossing every part of the house, as I keep finding new and unusual objects that have to be transported back to where it came from.
It’s a beating. 15 minutes later, my house still isn’t much cleaner than it was before. That’s when I started creating “way stations” when tidying up. The principle is simple:
Put items at the entrance of the room where they belong, and GO NO FURTHER.
Sippy cups, coffee mugs, and other stuff that needs to go back to the kitchen? It gets dropped off on the nearest counter to the kitchen’s entrance.
Found some clothes that my nudist son has inexplicably cast asunder? I drop those off to the hallway by his room. I even have a small basket there for that very purpose.
By creating these way stations, the common areas get tidied up and clean much faster than expected. Plus, by not entering areas like my bedroom, kitchen, and the kid’s room, I’m not getting distracted by the additional mess therein. Once the common areas are done, I can move on to other rooms.
Or I could just hide in my room and eat Goldfish crackers. That’s always an option too.
Got a tip for straightening up? Let me know in the comments!