Sorting, Organizing, & Cleaning
Sorting is a step by step process
Taking one area or section at a time, sort through the closet, the dresser, the toybox, and the shelves, one by one. Donate where possible, keep the meaningful and useful items, and toss old, worn, or broken ones. By tacking one area at a time, kids can participate without losing interest (working with age-appropriate attention spans) Finishing each area gives a sense of accomplishment and will keep the momentum going, so you don’t feel so overwhelmed. A small reward (read: bribe) doesn’t hurt either. An extra half hour for their favorite cartoon, a special dessert, or a promise of a park day or a trip to the mall is great motivation. And no, a reward isn’t wrong. Even as adults we’re willing to do more with the promise of a paycheck or a bonus. Incentivising works wonders!
Organize like a pro
Once you’ve sorted and decided what’s staying, organize the room in a functional way. Keep the books or toys that the kids use most often in an easy-to-reach area. Lower shelves for favorites, upper shelves for lesser-used items. I’m a big fan of tubs to throw toys in at the end of the day. It’s an easy clean-up process for the kids and keeps all the clutter off the floor. Implementing a “toy rotation” system is a great idea for younger kids. They get to choose which of their favorites can stay out, and every week they can change out their toybox or shelves for “new” toys. This is also a great way to see which ones they don’t use after several months and can be donated.
Cleaning doesn't have to be a chore
If you want your kids to keep their rooms clean, you can’t make it a punishment. It’s just part of living together in one household. Everyone pitches in to help, and cleaning is a part of keeping a nice home. Make sure you’re making a fair ask by considering age-appropriate tasks. Let’s say you designate Saturday between 11 and noon to be cleaning time. Get everyone involved, so the kids feel like they’re simply doing their part to keep a nice home. They learn by example, so be the example of the result you’re looking for. They’re more likely to keep a tidy room if the rest of the house is kept up. And once the tasks are done, it’s time to play!
Make the process of cleaning and organizing fun for your kids. Let them pick the music they want to listen to and play it LOUD! Make it a cleaning party! Have a mid-cleaning break ready with their favorite snack. Reward their good actions. There is a reason why teachers give out gold stars. It’s something to strive for and be proud of. Set a timeframe, so they know when cleaning time is over. No different than most jobs adults have. We know we’re off at 5 and have that to look forward to. Make sure the kids know when cleaning time is going to be finished.
Clean for an hour (or whatever age-appropriate time makes sense), help where you should, and at the end, celebrate! Even if not much was done, positive reinforcement will bring better results for the next time. Celebrate every victory no matter how small. You’re in this for the long haul and building good habits happen consistently and over time.
Organizing is a breeze when you approach things with the “a place for everything and everything in its place” attitude. It’s so much easier for kids to put their toys away if they have an easy spot to put them. And things that work double duty, not only make organizing easier, they’re typically space savers, as well. A shelving unit that holds both toys and books, like this one, is ideal for small children. Open storage compartments makes clean up a breeze without having to open a lid or a closet door. Just throw the toys in and you’re done!
Space-saving furniture is always a win. Kids’ bedrooms are typically small, so finding ways for the room to work double duty is your best approach. A loft bed, raised off the floor can provide extra space for a desk or dresser. A trundle bed, with a rollout mattress underneath, is a great idea for all the sleepovers with your kid’s best friends. A bed with built-in drawers or a shelving unit headboard will also pass the working double duty test and help to keep their rooms clean.
Get help organizing things with tools that are meant to make your life easier. Inexpensive over-the-door hanging compartments will hold smaller items while utilizing space that you aren’t doing much with. Under the bed storage is another great way to keep things off the floor. Look for closet organizers, plastic storage boxes, utility tubs, and even laundry baskets to hold all the stuff your kids collect and receive as gifts over the years. Most organizing products will last well into their teens and beyond, so it’s a great investment in your housekeeping sanity!
A stuffed animal hammock, like this one, can hold the gazillion stuffed animals every kid owns. It’s not only going to keep their fuzzy friends in one place, but it’s also easy for small hands to get to, and an easy way to clean up after the Teddy Bear Tea Party is over. Win-Win!
This Week’s Schedule
Getting ready for the new school year? Spend 5-6 days, with the kids, chipping away, a little at a time, to get their room is spit-spot shape. In less than a week, it’ll feel like a brand new room!
Go through the dresser. Any clothing that doesn’t fit can be donated or passed down to younger kids.
Tackle the closet Spring Cleaning style! Take it ALL out and reorganize, donate, or toss.
Organize toys, shelving, & bookcases. Store away a “keepsake box” for anything they’ve outgrown, but is still special to them.
Wash bedding, blankets, sheets, pillowcases. Don’t forget to clean under the bed, too!
Dust (even the light fixtures), clean windows & mirrors, and vacuum.
Now that the room is clean, it’s a perfect time to decorate. this is where your kid (at any age) gets to personalize their space.
Sit back and enjoy all the hard work! You won’t have to do this week again for a whole year!
When your kids are old enough to choose how their room looks, let them decide how to decorate it. (or at the very least make them part of the process) Teens especially need to feel like it’s their private and personal space. They’re more likely to keep it (somewhat) clean if they chose the furniture and decor. No promises, but if they really like their space, they’ll at least think about how it looks when their friends come over. And if keeping their room clean has always been part of their responsibility, it’s a habit that they’ll keep for life.
DIY BLOGS TO EXPLORE
Upcycling a worn out piece of furniture can be so satisfying. Bringing new life into an old forgotten bookcase
With a few dollars in your pocket, create stunning mood lighting and set the vibe for your outdoor evenings with DIY solar mason jars from the dollar store
Show off your family photos and trips with friends in an organized and visually impressive wall collage
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