A cure for clutter: using a rug to define a workspace

Are you tired of tripping over your child’s toys or bugging the kids to pick them up off the living room floor?  Using a rug to define your child’s workspace is a great solution that works well for everyone!

You might even already have a rug that will work well.  You want a rag rug, bathmat, or other rug that is about three feet by four feet in size and is easy to roll up.  To keep it out of the way when it’s not being  used, you can store your rug in a clean trash can, large vase, or other container when it’s rolled up.  And when your child is ready to get out her dinosaurs, remind her to get her rug first. This trick was taught to me by my friend who is also a parent and works for Oriental Rug Cleaning in Jupiter, FL, she the idea while working one day! Just make sure you don’t choose a rug that will get dirty easily.

Children often enjoy taking care of their workspace and will take great pleasure in laying out their rug and then setting out their toys or other activities.  And, by keeping the space defined you will notice several benefits.

First, your child will feel his work and play are honored and important when you make it a point to walk around his rug and encourage other family members to respect his space.  Second, you’ll cut down of sibling conflict when each child has his own space and both practice respecting one another’s space.  In the Montessori classroom children are required to ask permission to touch anything on someone else’s rug.

Also, if you need to move your child’s activity, it’s fairly easy to pick up two ends of the rug and drag it over to another spot without disturbing what’s on the rug.  That means that even though she starts a puzzle on the living room floor, you can pull it over to the hallway, or even into her room, when the family needs the floor space again.

And, by keeping their work on a rug, it’s easy to see whether they’ve put away one thing before getting out something else.  “Oh, I see there’s still work on your rug.  Please clean that up first, and then we can bake some muffins.”

For older kids, especially those who like to play with leggos or other small pieces, I recommend you use a folded sheet BEFORE dumping the leggos out.  You can fold the sheet to a size that works for your child (about 5’x5’ works well).

Then, after she’s finished playing, she can set up her finished work on a desk or dresser for display and simply lift all four corners of the sheet to concentrate the small pieces in the center of the sheet.  Then she can either scoop them up into their bin or with your help, the two of you can pour the leggos into the bin!  It’s SO much easier than picking up individual pieces.  Trust me, this cuts leggo clean up time to a fraction of the time it used to take.

I’m curious, have you tried using a rug or sheet in this way?  Has it worked well for you?  I would love to hear about your experiences.  Please leave me a comment!  Warm hugs, Shelly


Anyone have a problem  with child refusing to keep toys on the rug while they play? 

Sherris Berner
Sherris Berner

The sheet for legos is a must now! We tried it last Thanksgiving and it is something that we do every time now. It is so much easier to keep track of all the little pieces and then when it is time to clean up it takes less than a minute to dump them back into the container. We used to use a small dust pan from the kids broom set to scoop them up. This was still more time consuming and we would always find one or two lingering around later. We have used play rugs before, but I like the idea of having seperate rugs for each child. I can't wait to try it out.


  1. […] while I’ve done pretty well at stopping the children from invading each other’s workspace, they will often choose to work together and then they need to share effectively. If one child […]