My kids used to be pretty good at cleaning up. We used to have a “one toy at a time rule” that they mostly followed. These days though, not so much! Now the games are more complex and involve many more toys. Now they create experiences and haunted houses which dominate entire rooms. The creativity is great, but the mess isn’t. I’ve been trying to figure out how to handle cleanup for awhile now. Once they create a big “thing” they don’t want to take it down immediately, but over the course of a few days it gets forgotten and ends up just a mess.
However, it wasn’t until they recently started dropping toys on the floor and walking away that I took action. I couldn’t believe the day I saw Lex just drop a toy in the middle of the floor and walk away to do something else. No effort made to even put it on a table or something. After seeing that a few times, I built the Toy Jail. (thanks to Pinterest or the blogosphere or somewhere for the idea!)
The first morning it was there they whined and complained about it. The next few mornings, when there were toys in it, they got worried and paid the fine immediately. The past few days it has taken them a few days before paying up. The toys you see here were put in last night. This morning Eve said, “Oh no!” Lex said, “Why are those toys in there?” Eve said, “We didn’t clean them up last night.” Then they went on a played with something else. They get 30 days to pay the fine, toys not “bailed out” get moved to the donation box and there’s not escape from there!