Make it easy for them. I keep a box, basket, or bin in every room he routinely plays in.

They fit into the decor so it doesn't scream "TOYS" but when the living room needs cleaning, for example, he can just toss stuff in there. Right now he's particular about what toys go where so it's less necessary now but I still like having them for quick clean up.

I also took a que from his daycare.

Everything is labeled in the playroom so I just pull out one bin at a time for clean up. I'm not terribly strict about having only one bin out at a time for play because it's good for the imagination to mix things up but clean up is easy.

Lately it's been much better because I've found a few things that work. They love being timed and seeing if they can "beat the clock" by finishing cleaning before the timer goes off. They also love racing against each other.

You can use rewards sometimes like if you can clean up in 5 minutes, you get to watch a TV show. I hope some of these ideas help!

And finally, lead by example.

If your room is a mess with bed unmade, so will their's. If they don't see you keeping your stuff picked up in public areas, they won't understand why they have to clean up. I've known quite a few families who ride their kids' ass about cleaning up toys but books and magazines and gadgets and old junk mail clutter every surface.

Not saying this is you, but it's a common enough occurrence I felt it's worth mentioning.


Misplace a dying furby and you'll swear the house is haunted, there nothing 'fun' about some of the noises those things made when the batteries were going off. I had a Teddy Ruxpin when I was younger and I swear that thing talked to itself all night. I think we threw it in the attic because it really started freaking us out. I should go exploring for it if it wasn't sold in a garage sale at one point.


As you know there was a boy's section and a girl's section of toys. But it wasn't for gender equality.

The reason they do this, with all seriousness, is because the touchscreen registers has a button for boy and a button for girl. They can't/won't be bothered to go in every 6 weeks and change the word on the screen to some 6-8 letter abbreviation for My Little Pony or Hot Wheels that will likely confuse the workers ("What the hell is the "MyLitPny" button for!"). And since that's the options on buttons they can push, that's the words they use while asking.

For McDonald's, speed is king and anything that slows it down like additional words saying "Hot Wheels or My Little Pony" fifty times an hour and confusion from employees about buttons on their screen is unnecessary trouble.

I imagine that lots of McDonald's products are sold more to some demographics than others, but they wouldn't label regular Coke "man drink" and Diet Coke "woman drink." There are efficient ways to label things that don't involve enshrining gender stereotypes.

In a business judged by seconds, those moments add up over the course an hour, day, and week. Ultimately what will change it, at least at McD's, is enough complaints coupled with a software overhaul that allows for easily adding new items and having idiot-proof options as idiot-proof as boy/girl.

The way to combat it without going crazy is to answer the "boy or girl" question by looking at the sign to see the options and responding with "2 hot wheels and 1 Pony". This preserves the child's dignity and gets them the toy they want without an issue or discussion. The employee couldn't care less if your kids are boys, girls, purple, or imaginary.

I'm all for eliminating the gender titles generally speaking, but I know from experience this particular thing is simply for convenience.


I vaguely remember being asked to clean as a child, and I folded all my doll's clothes and sorted them next to my toy box.

I was so proud.

A few ideas:

  1. Fewer toys out at one time. Try a toy rotation with 5-8 options at any one time. Fewer toys to clean up makes it a much less daunting task.
  2. Toys that don't get cleaned up go "away for the day." My 3 year old was in a snit today and told me he didn't know how to clean up his play doh and whined on the floor for 10 minutes. I set a timer, offered to help, and told him that if he didn't clean it up by the time the timer went off, it would go away for the day. Welp, guess where his play doh is now residing. Top shelf of his closet, my friend. He needs to take care of his toys if he wants to play with them.
  3. Consistency is key. Knowing what to expect before dinner can help them get into a routine.
  4. I like the race idea. Nothing wrong with making it fun. Sometimes we'll be anteaters sucking up blocks, or pretend to be garbage trucks picking up trash. :)

At first, you need to be involved.

"Let's start with the legos. How many can each of you find? Bet I can find more!" Next time "You two pick up all the legos. Lets see how fast you both can do it! Starting now... 1, 2" Add in a little choice: "What should we all pick up first?"