If you find yourself walking by your child’s room for the umpteenth time and shaking your head, it’s probably because you can’t stand the thought of such a mess.
Dirty clothes on the floor and bed, toys scattered everywhere, empty bags of chips and discarded juice boxes—the list goes on and on. How could anyone live like that?! Once you realize it’s you who can’t stand to live like that and not your child, it’s time to get to work.
But where do you start? Instead of jumping in and throwing half the room’s contents in the trash or seriously considering grabbing a hose, take a deep breath and strategize. You could just clean your child’s room and do it all again next week, or you could involve your child and work together to create a more organized space that’s easier to keep clean. Less clutter and more organization makes keeping their room clean easier for them and for you.
Declutter Your Child’s Room Together
The first step for cleaning and organizing your child’s room is to get your child involved. Together, you want to get rid of as many unnecessary clothes, toys, gear and other stuff as you can. Start in the closets. If they are overflowing, it may be best to empty the contents out on the floor for sorting and purging.
If it’s spring or fall, pull the seasonal clothing first and store it somewhere else. Move on to clothes, shoes and jackets your child has outgrown and put them in a donation bag. As you and your child work on the decluttering, explain why you’re doing it, how it will create a nicer space for them and other positives that align with your family values.
Move on to toys, sports gear and other clutter. For personal items like these, take the approach of being a sort of cleaning coach. The more you can get children to take the lead (going in the direction you want, of course!), the less resentment they’ll feel as you slowly whittle down their inventory of stuff. Depending on your child’s age, you could make decluttering a game. For older children, you can appeal to their desire to be autonomous by giving them a say.
Once you and your child have purged all that clutter, it’s time to clean, right? Not so fast. If you want all the hard work you’re putting in to make a real difference, you have to set your child up for success. With all the clutter out of the way, it’s time to get organized.
More Storage and Better Organization = Easy Cleanup
Put yourself in your child’s shoes and take a good look at how their room is set up. Get down to their eye level and really look around. Can they easily get to storage areas like top drawers, the closet rod and shelves? Are their toys crammed into drawers and under the bed because they don’t have any other place to keep them? What other issues do you see that would contribute to the unorganized mess you have before you? Don’t forget to get your child’s input on this—the more involved they are, the more likely they will be to help maintain the place clean(er) in the long run.
Armed with your new “kid’s view” information, it’s time to sort and store. For younger children, move the clothes rod in the closet down to a more accessible height. Consider removing the closet door altogether for easier access. Get rid of that toy box that has become a catch-all and opt for bins and other containers so that you can sort and organize better. Create storage under their bed with low-profile containers, add shelving where possible and make any other changes that will help your child stay organized.
Now that you and your child have decluttered and renovated the storage options, it’s time to tackle the dirty work with some great cleaning tips. You’ve already done a lot, so we get it if you want to turn the next stage of the process over to a maid service. Either way, you’ve taken a big step towards making your child’s room more kid-friendly and less cluttered. If you’re moving ahead on your own, follow the next hands-on steps.
How to Clean Your Child’s Room
If you make cleaning up more fun, you may be able to keep your child’s interest for the big cleanup ahead. Older kids may need some different incentives to get them in the cleaning mood, so be patient.
Remove everything from the tops of dressers and nightstands and from any shelving. Dust each piece of furniture and shelving from top to bottom, including feet and supports. Move on to chairs, stools and any other furniture. Clean off stuck-on grime with water and a microfiber cloth, let it dry and finish up with furniture polish on wood surfaces. For furniture with drawers, empty them and vacuum the insides with a crevice tool.
Mirrors and Windows
Get those windows sparkling clean and mirrors streak-free by using a lint-free cloth and glass cleaner. Dust off window and mirror frames and give everything a shiny finish with a dry microfiber cloth. For sticker residue or other build-up on mirrors, you can carefully remove these with a safety razor.
Lay a drop cloth or sheet below a ceiling fan to catch dirt and wipe off the dust with a long-handled duster. These dusters are handy for other hard-to-reach places like ceiling lights too. If you have buildup on your fan blades, grab a ladder and a pillowcase. Place the pillowcase over each blade and wipe off the dust and dirt right into the pillowcase. Clean off buildup with a damp microfiber cloth and wipe down the ceiling fan housing too.
Give the corners of the bedroom and the ceiling a quick brush with a broom to capture dust and spiderwebs. Remove crayon marks and scuffs by scrubbing lightly with a Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser. For larger areas or lots of dirt, mix one cup of baking soda and one cup white vinegar with a gallon of warm water. Dampen a microfiber cloth with your solution and wipe down the walls and wooden trim.
Bedding and Mattress
Change your child’s bedding, including mattress toppers, weekly and get them to help with the chore. Strip the bed and vacuum under the bed and along the rails. If it’s been a while since you cleaned your child’s mattress, now is the perfect time. You’ll want to clean their mattress at least quarterly to get rid of bacteria and germs and to take care of any stains.
Get hardwood floors shiny again. A good sweeping and mopping will get rid of dust and most buildup. For floors sealed with polyurethane, damp mopping is best. Floors with shellac or varnish will need an appropriate cleaner or polish applied with a wax mop. A weekly sweep and dry mop should keep them looking great. Vacuum carpets and take smaller rugs outside for a good shake. Some smaller rugs are machine washable, so check the label.
Desk and Study Areas
Will your child happily begin studying harder and jumping into school projects now that their room is so clean and tidy? Maybe not. But giving them an uncluttered desk or study area sure doesn’t hurt. Work together with your child and set up some bins or canisters for school supplies, shelves for notebooks and textbooks and other storage solutions. Make sure they have adequate lighting from a desk or floor lamp.
Now that you and your child have decluttered, organized and cleaned their room, what’s next? Are you destined to repeat this routine over and over or will your child’s room stay cleaner and more picked up than before? When you help children stay focused on some easy maintenance with an age-appropriate cleaning chart, they’ll create habits for cleaning and organizing. If all else fails, just find The Maids nearest your neighborhood and give them a shot!