As part of my constant effort to get our home in order, I have decided to implement an idea I first heard about when I began home schooling. At the time, I was attending a homeschooling conference where educator Inge Cannon was selling a tape set entitled “Finally Organized.” In it, she recommended a certain method for helping children (and parents!) remember to put away their things: the Redemption Box.
I’ve since misplaced that tape set (hmmm…. sensing part of the problem here), but I do remember the basic premise of the Redemption Box. If someone leaves their personal belongings out of place around the house , the items are placed in the box. Once a week, the child will have the opportunity to “redeem” the items by paying a certain amount for them. We’ve decided to empty the box on Saturdays and have our children pay 10 cents for each item they recover. If it’s an item they need before Saturday (such as a shoe, a school book, etc.), they’ll have to pay 50 cents to get it back early. If it’s an item they don’t really care about (such as a toy, not a school paper!), they can leave it in the box, and it will be given away the next week.
But what if Mom leaves something around? The kids came up with a good idea for that one. If they find something of mine out of place, they can put it in the box, and in return take one of their items out of the box. That way, they don’t have to pay to get it back on Saturday.
How’s it working? We’ve been using the Redemption Box this past week, and it’s been great! I don’t have to fuss at people to put their things away anymore — I just throw the items in the box. And as a result, the kids are working a lot harder at picking up their stuff. They’re also helping each other remember to put their things away.
I’m not sure yet what we’ll do with the money I collect, but so far it’s proven to be a good motivator — and the Redemption Box a great organization tool!