I’ll take it in small, unmarked chores..

So, what happens when a mom gets to the end of her limit with her kids fighting, not listening and leaving their toys all over the place?

Back in the day this may have led the mom to drink copious amounts of wine, but really we do that anyway. No, in this day and age we jump on the ‘ol internets, log in to Pinterest and start surfing for some inspiration.

I gotta warn you. I am not the craftiest person ever. I mean, yes when the mood strikes me I can knock out a mean scrapbook page, but, as evident by the lack of craft posts on this site, don’t really have that bone in my brain that let’s me think up creative stuff on the fly.

That said, this is the idea that I found on Pinterest and then made.

moms ransom box

What is it?

Why, it’s Mom’s Ransom Box!

The original idea came from Becki Madsen of Organic Families blog.

Simply explained, anytime the kids are fighting, not listening, or leave their toys laying around after being told repeatedly to pick them up, a toy goes in the box.

ransom box choresIn order for the kids to get the toy out of the box they must select and complete a chore from the envelope. I’ve chosen about 10 chores that I know both my 5 and 7 year old and do. They range from sweeping the kitchen floor to cleaning the toilet in their bathroom. That last one might give some people pause, but I chose it because it’s a chore that doesn’t take a huge chunk of time to complete and I want them to take some pride over their area. By cleaning it they will be less likely to make it messy; hopefully.

We have already used the box once. Actually, about 5 minutes after I made it, it got it’s maiden voyage. The chores chosen?

Girl: Clean bathroom counter
Boy: Clean bathroom toilet

Yep, the toilet right out of the gate!

I have to admit, they did a really great job. When they were finished and were able to get their toys back they were happy and immediately took them up to their rooms. Then they were quick to tell their dad about the chores they did and showed him when it was time to take showers before bedtime. 🙂

Now, the kicker is, if a toy stays in the box for 5 days without a chore being completed the toy goes bye-bye. I’m still thinking about this, my husband and I are leaning towards having the kids take the toy to our local Domestic Abuse shelter to donate so that another child can enjoy it. But I don’t know if they will be able to focus on the fact that they are giving to someone else or if they will begin to resent the shelter because it’s taking their toys away.

I’d love to hear what you think, please leave your comment below!


  1. LOVE this idea! I can’t wait to put it into practice with something other than toys for my older kids! Thanks so much for sharing. 🙂
    Glenda´s last blog post ..Mini Quinoa Veggie Bites AND What is Quinoa, Anyway?

  2. Vicki Bonagofski says:

    Love this idea! I’m going to give it a try!

  3. Love this idea! I think I might just have to make one of those right now. Off to find a box…
    Jessica @FoundtheMarbles´s last blog post ..Five Steps for Jumping Over Life’s Hurdles

  4. This is awesomely brilliant! I’m to the point already this morning of needing such a tool…

  5. Great idea! Especially love the chore slips. Stopping by from Mom Spark Media!
    MusingsfromMe/Jill´s last blog post ..BlogHer Party Update #momsparkmedia

  6. Molly says:

    I know it’s been a while since you posted this, but what if you save all the toys that get permanently taken away (say 5 toys or so) and then box them up and take them to a shelter/church or wherever. Perhaps then you wouldn’t have to worry about the resentment part of it.
    Good luck.

  7. Alia Polad says:

    This is a fabulous idea, am going to try this with my lot.As your kids are rather little why not make the 5 days into 10, maybe give them a reminder that there are toys that need redeeming 🙂

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