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does your house get TRASHED at playdates?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

am i the only one?  we live in 500sq feet - kitchen, living room, and bedroom which is basically 2 beds on the floor behind a wall.  so its the whole space that gets trashed, the kids can't just go to the non-existent playroom.  It gets so bad you can't walk anywhere without nearly stepping on a "piece" from some game or puzzle . . . . .even if we play outside it only takes a minute for a kid or 2 to run in and start pulling stuff out.  my MAJOR pet peeve, and I see our boy-friends doing this mostly, is when they take a puzzle, dump it, move on to the next thing, dump it . . . . or when boxes get stepped on and then the corners break and it no longer can stay closed . . . .

 

i'm starting to put things with little pieces out of reach, but then i get requests for the item, and i oblige.  i feel like i am running around cringing lately when we have guests, and i do not want to be so uptight about it.  but the kids we have over are much rougher with our things then my dds are.

 

one issue, particularly on our friday playdate, is that my friend and i want to visit with each other as opposed to facilitate kids activities (which we pretty much do all week long, ya know?)  we want to chat in the kitchen, while the kids (2 2yo's and 2 4yo's) play in the next room.  we have a nice time, but the chaos and destruction - AGH!  it takes me a good hour to pick it up, and dh usually helps too.

 

i also usually tell my guests who offer to help that it is ok i will do it, after all, they are the ones who have to travel - walk or subway ride 20 minutes at least - to get to me.  besides, they don't know where everything goes :)

 

i feel like we should at least go through the motions of asking the older kids to help clean one thing before we part ways.

 

btw - the friends we visit most often have homes that are less organized than mine and there seems to be lots of stuff strewn everywhere as the norm.  trust me, mine is no palace, but all our things have a home and at the end of the day i more or less put everything in its spot.  but i feel that is necessary in such a small space, and on days we do not have friends over i can do it in 20 minutes while dh does bathtime.

 

 

post #2 of 25

Yeah, no matter how small/large our home is, having company almost always trashes the house. Even if I'm walking around tidying up a bit while they're here. I dread having company for this reason. Then I feel uptight. It's a vicious circle.

post #3 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by *clementine* View Post

Yeah, no matter how small/large our home is, having company almost always trashes the house. Even if I'm walking around tidying up a bit while they're here. I dread having company for this reason. Then I feel uptight. It's a vicious circle.



Me, too. I totally understand.

 

I had six 2.5-3 yr olds at my house for a preschool co-op a couple weeks ago and they did the "dump and move on" thing. It was so annoying.  I decided next time that I'm hiding my dd's doll house toys and putting the puzzles up. One thing I found that they loved and didn't make for much chaos were lots of pillows (to hide in, stomp on, etc.) and a collapsible play tent.  They also seemed to like the play kitchen. Those things are bigger and easier to clean up.  

post #4 of 25

Yes, it does, but it's totally worth it to me for some time with my girlfriends and my son having fun. We do always make the kids do some cleaning up - I have all of the toy baskets/spots on the shelves labelled with word and picture labels to show what toys go there (mostly for my DS, but it helps the other moms too). Stuff still gets put back in the wrong spot, but the other moms and I all feel its important to model cleaning up, even if it's not perfect.

post #5 of 25

Another thing- It's not just the smaller people who trash the house lol. I have 6 kids, and let's say my sister stops over with hers. That now means I have EIGHT kids running around. The teenagers try on each other clothing and do their hair and makeup upstairs. That creates pure hell for me to clean up after they've left. And yeah.......my teenagers should be doing that job, but generally, they take off for the mall and then go to my sister's house for the weekend and they've left before I even realize how bad the upstairs is. I can either clean it myself or live around it (not happening because I'm anal.)

 The smaller kids are playing, and often times I'm feeding everyone, the mess is gigantic.

I feel like all I do is get our house clean everyday and then turn around and pick up aftermath when people do stop over. Which is often.

I want to play too and be relaxed and fun, but all I can think about while company is here, is how many hours of work I'm going to end up investing in the aftermath cleanup.

And you know what? My Mom stopped over yesterday and even that trashed my house. I'd just run to the grocery store to pick up some stuff for dinner. Instead of stopping in the kitchen and putting away the groceries and starting food, I dumped everything on the counter and went into the living room to talk to her. It interrupts my routine of walking around picking up each room  when I have to sit and talk to people. I can't exactly say, "hey, can you follow me from room to room for 30 min while I pick up the crap that got drug out while I was at the store? Then I'll be in the kitchen starting dinner,  we'll be confined there for 40 minutes - you won't have a place to sit unless you want to hop up on the deep freeze lol."

Sigh.

I love socializing, but really, it's also an interruption of the flow around here and sets me back. Secretly I worry all day long that someone will stop over and my house will go to hell all over again- but if they don't come to play, I'm lonely.
:(


Edited by *clementine* - 11/18/10 at 7:40am
post #6 of 25

P.S.

I have newborn twins. I might be more mellow if not for that? I dunno.

post #7 of 25

this is why we don't have playdates at our houses. granted our kids are all only babies, but we have thus far found it much more relaxing to convene on a local baby friendly cafe. we buy coffee and snacks, and in return we don't have a destroyed house to clean up when we go home. there are far fewer toys too, but no one seems to mind... the more stuff that is out, the more mess that is made. i think we will probably continue this tradition in one way or another once our kids get bigger. our house is too small and not child-proofed enough for me to want a bunch of toddlers cruising through it!

post #8 of 25

I run a home daycare so it is like perpetual play date over here.... and my house is always trashed.  I am going to be closing, and this is one of the major reasons.  It drives me insane that my house could be ready to be on the cover of Home and Garden at 7am, and completely trashed by 8. 

 

And it isn't just mess... it is the actual breaking of toys as well.  I no longer buy new toys for the daycare kids because they get destroyed so fast - only second hand and garage sale finds.  My furniture is showing a tonne of wear, I've had dining room chairs broken and I need a new screen door.  If I somehow forget and leave out a piece of paper or something, someone will be ripping it to shreads within minutes.  I have found puzzle pieces stuffed into our bunny's cage (which the bunny will then happily chew on.) 

 

So yeah... seems to be totally normal. 

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by just_lily View Post

 " It drives me insane that my house could be ready to be on the cover of Home and Garden at 7am, and completely trashed by 8. "

 

I hear you.hola.gif

post #10 of 25

Oh definitely. My house gets trashed! I've had some pretty big playgroups too. Toys strewn from one end of the house to the other. But I don't mind. I really don't. Let's say there are people and kids here for 4 hours. And the kids have an awesome time. And I have a great time. And everyone that comes has a great time. The hour or so it takes me to put things away, vacuum and clean up the kitchen is really worth it to me. But, I don't really mind cleaning up in general. We have a place for everything so I find that even if the house looks like a tornado went through it, it really isn't that hard to clean up. I could definitely do more to have all the kids help clean up but sometimes I'm just too lazy to expend the energy it would take to cajole them into doing it and I'd rather just do it myself. I always put away toys (usually art supplies) away that I don't want the kids to get into or break. But games and stuff like that I don't mind. But yes, there is a lot of dumping, moving on, dumping, moving on, etc.

 

I guess I have been lucky though with breakage and loss. Although things have definitely gotten broken, it hasn't been anything that I was upset about. I kind of try to go with the flow: if I open my house to a group of families, chances are something is going to get lost or broken or ruined. It's funny because my dh and I are really particular about our "stuff" and don't want it ruined but I haven't found any real lasting damage from even large playgroups. We all just have a good time and keep our expectations high about fun and low about mess.

 

(Oh and we usually serve mimosas or beer at our playgroups! Maybe that's why I can just "go with the flow.")

post #11 of 25

Ohhhh......beer. I bet if I added beer I'd have fun too.  I don't drink. Wish I did though. I'd be wayyyy more fun.Sheepish.gif

I saw this wine at the grocery store the other day called Cup Cake wine. It was calling me. Maybe I should just buy some and take sips off it when company comes.

I can just see my 16 year old niece saying to my daughter "Ari.....is your mom buzzed?"ROTFLMAO.gif

I'm getting some today. I do enjoy life more with a little wine while I'm cooking dinner.


Edited by *clementine* - 11/18/10 at 8:39am
post #12 of 25

My house is a badly laid out 1,000 sq. feet.  It used to get horrifically trashed. Now it only gets a little trashed...I took all of our toys and made "fun boxes" out of them.  We have about 8 big totes with lids.  Each tote has some dolls and/or stuffed animals, a play set, random little toys, a puzzle or two, a game, a handful of books, maybe dress-up items, and an art thing of some kind. Basically each one contains a full day of play.

 

I labeled the totes with numbers, and we have a sheet with an index listing of the big things in each tote in case we want to get out something specific one day.  All of the totes are stacked in our water heater closet outside, and we only get out one at a time.  It has been the best thing I've ever done.  We own way too many toys, but this way they are all appreciated and enjoyed because it's so exciting to get them out.  And we find all of the game pieces or puzzle pieces before we put the tote away to get out another one, so nothing gets lost.

 

We still keep out big things at all times, like the kitchen and wooden food for example.  DD has an art drawer she can get into whenever she wants, and we have the huge doll house and wooden castle sitting out also.  The pieces to the doll house and castle are in smaller boxes with lids so we can put those away on the closet shelf.  We also have a tote thingy with learning toys and homeschooling stuff in the closet inside for easy access.

 

As for things getting broken with lots of kids playing, yeah that still happens...lol.

post #13 of 25

I think boys especially have a tendency to take out everything.  They do an "inventorying" thing...  Our place only seemed to have things strewn everywhere with some kids.  Most playdates result in a pretty tidy place but everyone is older than 2 and 4.  I have been known to pack away a ton of things, especially small part toys, before playdates with young kids.  I do have an attic and will tell the kids I cleaned up and put away things we don't use often.  I will tell them I can't get them out now because they are all the way in the attic if really don't think they'll use it and don't want to deal with it.  If they don't see the toys, they don't usually ask me to get them out, with the exception of a few memorable favorite things.  If there was someplace to stash things (preferably without your own dc noticing, either) so they were out of sight instead of just up high, maybe that would help.  I know my own ds would have escorted his guests to where I stashed the toys if he noticed me putting them in a new spot!

post #14 of 25

My house is about the same as yours, OP.  When we have playdates, the place gets pretty messy; however, we do not have more toys than it takes 10 minutes to pick up, and everyone in our group tries to help pick up a little before we leave.  So that really helps.  I still have  cleaning to do when people go.  What I do is try to limit the number of kids that are over, and also, I will shut the bedroom off if it seems necessary. 

 

Mimosas sound like an AWESOME playgroup idea, lol....

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanSimplicity View Post
i'm starting to put things with little pieces out of reach, but then i get requests for the item, and i oblige.  i feel like i am running around cringing lately when we have guests, and i do not want to be so uptight about it.  but the kids we have over are much rougher with our things then my dds are.

 

one issue, particularly on our friday playdate, is that my friend and i want to visit with each other as opposed to facilitate kids activities (which we pretty much do all week long, ya know?)  we want to chat in the kitchen, while the kids (2 2yo's and 2 4yo's) play in the next room.  we have a nice time, but the chaos and destruction - AGH!  it takes me a good hour to pick it up, and dh usually helps too.

 

i also usually tell my guests who offer to help that it is ok i will do it, after all, they are the ones who have to travel - walk or subway ride 20 minutes at least - to get to me.  besides, they don't know where everything goes :)

 

 

I think you are on the right track with putting little piece stuff out of the way.  Then just hold your ground... the stuff is put away today, what about x, y, or z?

 

My DD is under 2, so not as messy as a 2 year old, but this week I had my two friends and their two kids, a 2 yo and a 3-almost 4-yo, and we gave the three of them a box of duplos, and let them build a couch fort and roam around while we sat in the kitchen and ate.  So it was not too difficult to clean up since it all goes into the one box, and the blankets just get folded.  I think limiting the amount of stuff that is out, and just throwing them at the mercy of their own creative juices is a good thing to do.

 

Also, I would take someone up on the offer to help pick up; and then if I went to their house I would try to help out too.  It's nice, people like to help each other.

post #16 of 25

It does get messy but I definitely agree with some of the points of previous posters.  We don't have many toys, put away special toys or ones with a million parts, only allow access to one part of the house (sounds like you don't have that option), and everyone helps clean before we leave.  About 15minutes before the end I'll start cleaning up and putting stuff away.  The other parents will usually join in.  If it's a drop-off playdate I give the girls a 10 minute warning, and then a "ok it's time to clean up."  By the time their parents get there they're usually pretty well done (this is the 8 year olds).  Though I'm not above saying "they started a little late on their clean-up, do you mind if we work on that for five more minutes?"  Usually the parent is glad that their kid is helping, and on the rare occasion that they don't have time to wait I help my dd clean up. 

 

I've also said, mostly to the 4 year olds "ok kids, I think there are enough toys out now.  Let's clean some up before we move on to the next thing."  Or if they want to play outside I say "ok, let's first put these toys away and then we'll head outside."  We also clean up before having a snack or meal.  They don't always do it, and I can't make them, but I just model it and most of the time they join in.  

 

If we've managed to get the place mostly cleaned up due to such a transition or something, I pull out a toy that's less mess but captures their attention: play-dough, legos/duplo, the car set, or blankets, pillows, and books for a fort. 

 

Not to sound like we have it all together, at all.  On the days that these strategies don't work I try to look at it as a pp suggested: we all had a great time so it's worth the time spent cleaning up. 

post #17 of 25
Quote:

I love socializing, but really, it's also an interruption of the flow around here and sets me back. Secretly I worry all day long that someone will stop over and my house will go to hell all over again- but if they don't come to play, I'm lonely.
:(


This is me exactly. As I type this my two kids and their two friends are audibly trashing the living room. I hate nagging, because I do have a bit of mess-induced ocd (i guess everyone does to some degree). But my kids love to host playdates and they do get invited to others' houses in return. I love having friends over as well, and it does "set me back" as well. LOL. Saturdays are usually "tidy up the kids' rooms days anyway". Deep breath... aaahhh.

post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanSimplicity View Post
the kids we have over are much rougher with our things then my dds are.

 


 

 



This is what I have experienced also. I am not sure why, but my kids have always been gentle on their toys. Even DS who plays typical boy games, does not break his things. When he has had friends over after school, we have invariably had something broken.  I even found one boy opening some new toys that my son still hadn't opened from his birthday.....my son would not do that at someone's house, so I was very taken aback. And the last time he had a friend over, the boy threw a small tantrum about wanting to take one of my son's toys home...and this kid is 8 years old, a bit too old for that behaviour!

 

It has really put me off having kids over. I am not going to stop him having friends over, but next time I am going to designate an area they can play in and restrict which toys are there.

post #19 of 25
My place always gets trashed, but I enjoy every second if playtime the kids get, so I don't mind picking up. I can usually untrash the apartment in under an hour.

I love the sound of kids playing and don't like stopping that rush to have them pick up.... And I never let people help clean up, i feel it's just part of hosting...
But I'm like that with every kind of get together, I don't like my guests to clean. It actually bothers me... I'm OCD... So I do everything really methodically. But I don't mind an enjoy cleaning others' houses.

I'm weird.
post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:

This is what I have experienced also. I am not sure why, but my kids have always been gentle on their toys. Even DS who plays typical boy games, does not break his things. When he has had friends over after school, we have invariably had something broken.  I even found one boy opening some new toys that my son still hadn't opened from his birthday.....my son would not do that at someone's house, so I was very taken aback. And the last time he had a friend over, the boy threw a small tantrum about wanting to take one of my son's toys home...and this kid is 8 years old, a bit too old for that behaviour!


thanks for the thoughtful replies.  i meant to add in my op - particularly in regards to the toys getting broken (of course accidents happen, but i mean as a result of unnecessary roughness) I wonder about teaching our dc to have respect for things, especially things belonging to other people. 
then again, i am dealing with 2 and 4 year olds, and while i know its never too early, and we do talk about this i know its still too young for them to empathize.

 

as far as requesting help cleaning up ( and the constant modeling), i seem to get a lot of laughter and running away, anyone have any advice for that? :)

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