My 3 Monsters: Day 6: The Ransom Box

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Day 6: The Ransom Box

Do you struggle with clutter in your home or is it just me?  More specifically, your children's clutter.  I believe in keeping things real so here are a few pictures I took just this morning:

Who lives like this, right?!  I know! I've been really trying to get a handle on the housework and it is going pretty well, but I refuse to constantly pick up after my three perfectly capable children.  As I'm doing my chores I usually throw all of the kids' stuff in a laundry basket.  When they get home from school I ask them to go through the basket and put away their stuff.  Then I nag for the next little while.  Usually the basket sits at the foot of the stairs for a few days before I resort to begging and it gets emptied, only to be refilled within a day.  When I saw this idea on Pinterest, I decided it's time for some tough love:
Becki at Madsen's Memories has a bunch of fun ideas for motivating kids.  I love that she approaches this kind of thing with a sense of humor.  I think the happiest families are the ones that can be silly together no matter what they're doing.  The idea behind the Ransom Box is that anything that hasn't been put away after one warning goes into the box and can only be retrieved by picking a "chore" out of the envelope and completing it.  I say "chore" because some of her ideas are quite funny.  You'll have to click over to read Becki's list, but here's mine:
 Pull weeds in front yard for 10 minutes
Wipe down kids’ bathroom toilet
Wipe down red bathroom toilet
Clean kids’ bathroom mirror while singing any song
 Scrub upstairs bathtub
Give mom and dad a hug and say, “I will never leave my stuff out again.”
Wipe down walls by front door
Empty all garbage cans
Take out recycling
Write a letter to someone who has done a service for you and tell them thank you
 Sweep front porch
Walk Cassie for 10 minutes
Clean out junk drawer
Dust living room
You are free but this is a WARNING!
Tell all of your siblings 3 things you love about them
Write 50 times “I will not leave my things out.”
 Run around the house for 1 minute and see how many things you can pick up and put away.
While hopping on one foot, wipe the kitchen counters off.
 Vacuum under dining table.
 Hand wash 3 dishes
Scrub your toilet while singing, ‘whistle while you work’
Pick up Cassie poo in the backyard for 10 minutes and beg your mother for forgiveness.
Sweep back patio
 Organize the shoe basket

I think it's great that they're not all punishments.  That adds to the fun -- you never know what, if anything, you might have to do.  But I know even the slightest chance of having to pick up Cassie poo will make my kids think twice about leaving their junk laying around.  Here's a peek at how I am implementing the system in our home:
This ransom note is stuck to the front of a manilla envelope containing slips of paper with all the tasks on them.  I'm hanging mine up on the inside of our front door and the kids' stuff will be held hostage in a super-secure location yet to be determined.  Hopefully this will work better than my previous attempt at clutter-busting.  Have a great day!  Tomorrow I'll be sharing a pretty rosette statement necklace for my "31 days" project. 


  1. What a great idea. Will have to wait a few years to use since my kids are too young, but I've pinned it! :-)

  2. I've heard of having a ransom box before, but I think it was just that the kids didn't get their stuff back for a week or something. I think the task envelope will be much more effective! Thanks for the laugh and the idea!

  3. As soon as I stop giggling I'm putting this together! What a fabulous idea!!

  4. Okay, awesome idea! Now you get added to Simply Cottage Love's Pinterest Board ! : ) But I will be clicking over to your inspiration blog to check that one out too! With four kids (three of which are over the age of seven and quite capable of picking up after themselves) this idea can be put to good use in our house!

  5. This is awesome! And I love the ransom note!

  6. Can we use this for husbands too? I love the tasks required to get things back. Fun and Effective! Can't wait to hear how things go~


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