I’m a romantic comedy author and mum to one year old twin boys and recently I’ve been interviewing professional organisers for a new fiction series I’m working on and heeding their advice.

Professional organisers make a living by de-cluttering people’s homes and offices.

As a mum, all this de-cluttering business got me thinking about the daily mess my kids create and my need for Zen.

So I’ve put together my own tips for dealing with toddler-created disaster zones:

Tip 1:

Invest in one of those Ikea ‘Kallax’ (formerly ‘Expedit’) shelving units, which you whack fabric boxes in. Or whatever brand does something similar!

Once your kids go to bed, you can then collect all their toys strewn on the rug and throw them in the boxes in a jiffy. Visitors will be none the wiser.

Tip 2:

Also make sure to purchase a ginormous toy box. (And dot a few smaller ones around the home.) As above, it’s the simplest way to scoop up all your little one’s playthings at the end of a session and ensure the items remain hidden until it’s play-time again.

Tip 3:

Clean up regularly.

Rather than the mess overwhelming you – and your toddler – tidy up each time they nap or bid adieu for the night.

It’ll make light work of it all, rather than spending hours doing it when you’d rather be watching ‘Devious Maids’ on tape … where you can watch other people doing the housework. And having a tidy house will keep you in a better frame of mind.

Tip 4:

Store away toys your little ones have gotten bored with high-up in the cupboard.

Then – hey presto! – when you decide to bring the items out again, it’ll be like they have a whole new set of toys to play with. (Kind of like when you put away a summer dress during winter, then rediscover it when the weather warms, and fall in love all over again).

Make tidying up fun!

If you clean up while your kids are there and turn it into a bit of a game and they feel good about helping, it can only serve them well in the future.

What are your tidying up tips! Share in the comments below.

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  • I think a toy box is a wise investment.


  • My kids toys are tidy….sometimes. I have lots of shelves and boxes to shove everything on and out of the way


  • Rotate toys. If there is less to get out then there is less mess


  • We need a Spring clean and it’s only just gone Winter…..Thanks


  • Great tips there.. Though the toy box always gets emptied while he tries to find that one thing that is always at the bottom!


  • Have always been a fun of toy boxes to keep things tidy!


  • I’ve just sorted my kids toy room :)


  • If you use boxes with lids on make sure kids can’t jam their fingers in the lids. I strongly suggest you don’t use the ones with hinges on them. With kids they are an accident waiting to happen. At one stage we had open baskets which slid into a strong frame – small dolls in one, blocks in one,. books in one, teddies in one – there was a few of them, cabbage patch doll and her clothes in another. That way Missy could see what was in them and so could we. Later on when we had more room and Missy was older we got a set of Ikea shelves and fabric covered boxes like another Mum suggested. They are great. Nobody can see how messy they are if things are poked in them in a hurry without being sorted first.


  • It’s easier to clean up after a toddler but what about a 3 & 5 year old!! Constant asking and repeating yourself drives you crazy


  • I have a shelf as mentioned in the article in the playroom and I use those plastic tubs with handles around the house to keep the other rooms tidy. These are easy to transport when chasing up renegade toys and can be dumped in the playroom when non child company is expected.


  • I like the Kallax idea. My house is practically covered by toys. Need to tidy up!


  • So many great tips and I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who struggles with the daily/hourly clean-up!!


  • What we do – they have their own toy/play room. Our youngest has a few toys in the lounge room though, as she is still only a baby and her older brothers can be a little boisterous, but hers doesn’t take much to clean up and usually her brothers are happy to help clean up her toys, but with their play room its a different story. We are trying to get them to clean it up each night but meh – out of sight, out of mind for us. Its them that have to play in there ect…


  • Such great tips and it is great when they are getting older and understand more about helping to tidy


  • I feel like I’m forever cleaning up after my kids. These are great tips. We actually have one of those ikea bookcases which worked fabulously, until they received more toys as presents for Christmas. I really need to find time to cull their collection.


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