The Work Room: aka the No Mess Play Room

The library corner. This bookshelf isn't an ideal height but will do for now. Will add more books as I recover them from around the house, and for Christmas they're also getting a bunch I got at op shops. The rolled up mats are for working on.

The library corner. This bookshelf isn’t an ideal height but will do for now. Will add more books as I recover them from around the house, and for Christmas they’re also getting a bunch I got at op shops. The rolled up mats are for working on.

Being rather sick of months of coaxing the boys to tidy up the playroom, having parts of toys scattered over the house, and not really knowing what toys we had or the boys were interested in, I hit upon a cunning plan.

After a few weeks of Montessori, Lord B had settled in well (read about that when I get around to it), and had a good grasp of concepts like “one at a time”, “put things away when you’re done with them”, and working on a mat that you take out and put back. Since transporting the teachers and classroom to my home to do my job for me – and I’ll be honest, they’ve already done so much – I decided to reorganise their toys in a way that hopefully wouldn’t allow huge mess or bouts of chucking everything out the window. We’d had quite a bit of that lately.

At first I was just going to put everything tidily in the sewing/music room, which adjoins the playroom by a baby gate. Which Lord B can open but Sir A cannot. Then I’d cycle things into the playroom, and change them when they appeared boring. But once I’d arranged everything, I decided I couldn’t be bothered.

This was for two reasons. One, I couldn’t be bothered, and two, I didn’t actually know what to choose and figured they did. I can just move things from higher to lower shelves if they’re being ignored.

I also removed toys that weren’t being played with, ever, and will get rid of the ones I’m not attached to. Like my old dolls. Actually they were played with sometimes, so I might put one or two back, but the teddies were ignored. Poor Honey.

Mostly child height. The things that make more mess are a bit higher so will take more effort to get, or require help. Cunning.

Mostly child height. The things that make more mess are a bit higher so will take more effort to get, or require help. Cunning.

The set-up isn’t perfect yet, but it’s working pretty well so far. Lord B is sometimes compliant, and sometimes not, and I do have to stay in there with them the whole time to make sure the rules are followed. Which is kinda annoying since the wi-fi doesn’t reach that far… but I might get more sewing done and I’ve been playing the piano a bit 😀 Sir A has surprised me with how quickly he’s grasped the “put it back when you’re finished” rule – frequently does it without being asked – and is very quick to help tidy up if he forgets. The biggest problem is convincing him that other people’s mats are out of bounds, and the wooden mat thing (for blocks and puzzles) is not for standing on. In boots.

My goal is to get them used to doing things in a more structured way, just like Lord B does at school and Sir A will in a year or so, so that I can leave them to work or play in a nice orderly way for short periods, and then longer periods, by which time they’ll both be at school in the mornings and Lord B maybe in the afternoons anyway, but that’s ok. And whenever their future siblings arrive they can teach them the wonderful ways of order without any effort on my part? I can but live in hope.

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