Thursday, March 17, 2011


How much did we hate this line from our parents ? Sometimes I did tidy up to please them and sometimes I created new (old) concepts of tidying up (hiding all in a cupboard, behind the door etc...). Very rarely I came up with the idea of tidying up my room all by myself. But no matter if I did it voluntarily or not - a clean and orderly room still gave me a thrill of satisfaction, motivation and inner peace.

When I first entered the parent infant class I was shocked by the amount of toys small and large and wondered what this room would look like after a few minutes. But before it could turn into a complete mess our teacher would put things back where they belonged just in the area she was just sitting. I thought to myself "What is that all about? She will have to do that all over again in no time. Not just once."
So later I spoke with a friend who went to another parent infant class and experienced the same. But instead of wondering she asked the teacher about this and she said that the children need their order, they will get uneasy and restless when their environment becomes too messy. And suddenly it all made sense.
I remembered the pictures from Montessori children's houses or homes. How I always imagined that they had purposely cleaned it all before the picture taking and why they made an effort of putting the materials all so neatly on the shelves.
I also remembered how much more fun it was to cook in a clean kitchen or how much more motivated I was after I had decluttered my desk (well, at least most of the times).
So that afternoon I gave our living room a nice clean up and arranged our son's toys like I have seen it in class. The balls together in one basket, the wooden toys together in another basket, the stacking cups in order, spoon in the bowl etc... Suddenly the room looked so clean and big as it actually is.

Of course it only takes Leander a few minutes (if at all) to spread his toys on the floor. But every now and then when he is busy in another corner I put a few things back in place and when he is having his nap I tidy the whole room again. Right now this is kind of a meditative task, takes me two minutes and I'm happy. When he comes back in the room he now knows exactly where to find what which I think is a good start for when he gets older and deliberately chooses something to play with and knows where to get it.
I am aware that he will have more and more toys but I figured that this way of keeping a strict order will help to prevent us from "too much". When I can't find space anymore we need to declutter. I already started with those toys he is far too young for anyway (but grandparents keep buying...). I put them in a box which he already found but is not capable of opening by himself. It became boring to him but I'm sure one day he'll figure it out and then he will find toys he can actually use in it. By then I will have taken a few other things away.
Well at least that's the plan...

Another reason I hope this strict order will help us with is the tidying up process in general when Leander gets older. Apparently children up to the age of 10 or 12 are not seriously capable of cleaning up a whole mess but can follow requests such as "Can you put your Lego in the red box?" or "Can you please put those books to the others in the shelf?". If they now where to find the red box they can do so. If the bookshelf is cluttered with toys they might not. Again - these are all hopeful predictions. So far I seriously enjoy to arrange balls and stacking cups (I love them too!) and most importantly I enjoy to have my living room back after living in a children's room all day!

And while I have quite a few peeks in the future in my post without knowing too much about it I would love to hear your experiences with the mess and the order of children.