Organizing Kid Toys - Taming the Beast

If my kids toys are all over their rooms in piles, all they can see are random arms and legs, blocks, and car wheels.  This also somehow attracts yesterdays pj's, a stray sock or shoe, and a roll of toilet paper (I don't know either!)  So, if you are anything like me, you send the child(ren) into their rooms every so often to clean up the mess.

This is what we want, and are generally hopeful enough to picture....
We hope the children disappear into their rooms and actually start putting things away.  Instead, at my house anyway, you hear shrieks of laughter and the children having more fun in their room than would have outside in a mud puddle.  So, we going to find that the children are not channeling Martha Stewart, they are, indeed, playing. Playing with all the things they found boring and uninteresting just an hour before telling them to clean thier room.  This is where you, my reader, and I part ways.  I turn into this:
Then after giving further instruction and threatening them them with all manner of horrible punishments encouraging them to do better, I walk out of the room.  I hear nothing.  Being a mother now for several years, hearing nothing is never good.  I go in and find the children like this:
You start with the mess dear children! Sweep it all into a pile, throw it away, no nevermind those toys cost MONEY, so put them away into the boxes that I have graciously provided you. 
Just clean up the messes you have made my little dahlings... 
Mommy will be ok in a few minutes, she just needs a drink air.
My children have never been able to guilt trip me very easily, and therefore have learned to not be guilted into things by me or very many other people, for that matter.  So, my tears will mean nothing to them. In fact, the one time I told my three year old that I would cry if she did not give me kissies, she looked at me and grinned and said, "Ok, Cry!" She was thrilled at the prospect....

There has to be a better way to help them keep their stuff picked up.  When their stuff is picked up and all organized, they actually play with it. So, you can see why this would be important to me.  So I bought a toy organizer that has bins in it.  The bins are open so the kids can easily see their toys.  They already have a book shelf in their room, so I also bought 4 of those fabric bins to use on the shelf.

IT WORKED!  My 3 year old played with the barbies last night. Then, she put them back! WOOT!  My son played with his cars, and he put them back! WOOT!  It is a magical thing!!!  I suppose the newness of the toy organizer will wear off, or they will eventually use the bins for making mud pies outside (gotta figure out a way to strap those babies down) but, for now there is peace with the toys.

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