This ‘Toy Jail’ Cleaning Trick Is Genius If Your Kids Leave Their Toys Everywhere

Parents, are you tired of tripping over all your kids’ stuff? You’re not alone. There’s something about this time of year (post-holidays, cabin fever) that lowers my tolerance for my floors looking like a tornado blew through the house.

Other parents who share this frustration have come up with a brilliant idea to get kids on board with picking up after themselves. It starts with a little tough love for the kids by putting their toys in jail. Sure, the toys may be innocent victims in your kids’ clutter crimes, but trust me, putting them in jail helps everyone!

A toy jail is exactly what it sounds like: a place where casually-left or tossed toys get locked up away from the young repeat offenders.

The toy jail posted by Instagram user @daisyfirstaid_swlondon shows her family’s version of the idea.

The note breaks down the rules pretty clearly and even uses a rhyme: “You left it out. I picked it up. I have your stuff. You are out of luck. To get it back you must do a chore and again it is yours just like before.” In other words, the chore is the bail the child needs to “pay” to break their toy (or multiple toys) out of the slammer.

Parents have a variety of ways of implementing the family toy jail. The mom over at the Our Three Peas blog has a big tub with an envelope full of chores the offending child can choose from. And there are no exchanges if they don’t like the chore they grab! As I like to say in my house, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”

Our Three Peas

Other parents have really taken the jail concept to heart and maybe had a little too much fun creating the perfect jail to fit the incarcerated toy. Take @ksawyerdesign‘s wooden jail design featured on Instagram. Not even The Incredible Hulk is getting out of this pen!

Meanwhile, @motherofgains gets my vote for both prettiest and most sympathetic toy prisoner. Look at those big eyes! And, the note! Won’t someone help Baby Panda?

And perhaps proof that duck tape truly is good for anything and everything, this mom (@cee_dann on Instagram) transformed an ordinary storage bin into a serious-looking cell with some big-time bars.

So, if you’re ready to take your house back from the tsunami of toys, it could be time to become the warden and toss those things into jail! Your floors will thank you and your kids will learn some excellent new habits.