Let’s face it; keeping your house clean with kids is a never-ending project, but the holidays add a certain extra mess into the mix. But there are a few things you can do to keep yourself from going crazy, and to prevent yourself from stepping on Legos, Barbie shoes and other painful objects at one in the morning. 

Everything has a place: You may have to be flexible with this because their toy situations will change as they get older and with each holiday and birthday. But make sure you have containers to hold all their goodies and places to store them. It’ll be much easier to clean up if you do. So a trip to buy storage containers might be in order. 

Make cleaning up before bedtime part of the routine: My son’s preschool taught them the song “Clean up, clean up, everybody clean up” and we found it extremely useful when we wanted to make clean up fun. Make up one of your own. Hopefully your child will enjoy tossing their stuffed animals in the right container if you help out. 

Hide old toys before you throw them out: Out with the old, in with the new. They’re never going to play with that puzzle missing pieces, that broken doll and those old baby toys, so don’t keep the old stuff in with all the new toys. Although it’s tempting to haul old things immediately to a charity, but what do you do if they do ask about them? Try hiding them in the closet or garage in a bag for a few months to see if they remember them before you give them the boot. It’ll save you both some tears and aggravation. 

And recycle! Give that tricycle to a smaller kid, and those clothes your child has outgrown to someone who needs them. Your house will be cleaner, the landfills will be emptier, and you’ll feel better.