November 2, 2009

Seasonal Cleaning: Kid Bedroom(s)

Here's where we part ways! If you "see a fork in the road, take it" kind of thing. I'm pretty sure what I do in kids bedrooms isn't what you will do or want to do in kid bedrooms, and you know what... that's okay! I'm not saying you have to do it my way. I'm just tossing out there what I do and if you can pick out an idea here and there that works for you, great!
My intentions aren't to get you to do things the way I do them. You should get your rooms organized and cleaned your way. If it truly doesn't bother you to have clutter or dust... carry on! BUT if you do want things neater or cleaner then do something about it! What I hear the most is that people do want to change; they do want a cleaner, more organized house... they just don't know where to start. Well, the first step to is to start doing things differently than you are now. That works with anything... saving money, getting healthy, or organizing your house!
Now, onto the kid's rooms... they are a bedroom so it's going to be very similar to the master bedroom except for the toys... ahh, the toys! So use the master bedroom checklist for the cleaning part, I'm not going to repost the whole thing again here. You should know the drill now anyway, clean the WHOLE room... top to bottom... every surface.
Fall Cleaning: Kid's Bedroom(s)

1. Window treatments 2. Bedding, flip mattress 3. Ceiling fan and light fixture 4. Ceilings and walls 5. Door and door frame 6. Blinds 7. Window and frame 8. Vacuum carpet including under furniture and along wall 9. Dust furniture front, back, and sides 10. Dust stuff on walls and shelves 11. Clean mirrors 12. Vents and light switches 13. Baseboards

14. Don't put back any items that aren't used or don't belong! Keep only a few items on top of dressers. This makes it much easy to clean on a regular basis. Group small items together in baskets or containers so you can pick them all up at once when it's time to dust. Empty each drawer and return only necessary items. Donate and toss appropriately.

16. Closet time: Take everything out of the closet. Wipe down shelves, dust the ceiling and walls. Vacuum. Have 3 boxes ready as you go through the closet: trash, give-away, and storage. Only keep the items that currently fit. Store clothes that are too big or too small somewhere else. At the very least get everything off the floor and vacuum, dust the closet corners, and look through the clothes to donate any unwanted items or remove items of the wrong size.

I like to hang all shirts. I find that folded clothes just don't stay tidy with little kids around. If we had a bit more closet space I would hang pants too but since I have four kids sharing one closet I don't have the space. We fold pants and keep them on shelves in the closet. Pajamas, underwear, and socks go in drawers. We have one five drawer dresser in the boys room and one three drawer plastic cart on wheels in their closet. Drawer 1 of the dresser is eldest son's underwear, drawer 2 is his jammies, drawer 3 is all older boys socks, drawer 4 is my twin's underwear, and drawer 5 is twin jammies. The three drawers in the closet are toddler undies and socks, jammies, and pants. All shoes are in a large laundry basket on the floor of the closet. I color code the clothes on hangers. Go ahead... call me crazy, but it's nice to know at a glance whose stuff is whose.
clothes on color coded hangers
(in the closet at our old house)

The baby's closet set up is a bit different. I don't really like it but it's what we've got. He's got two closets in his room. One with two rods and the other with just shelves. His clothes go on the bottom rod in the hanging closet (and in his drawers). I keep a few out of season shirts for each boy and spare hangers on the top rod. The shelves hold baby toys that are currently out of rotation, crib bedding, cloth diaper supplies, and a few odds 'n ends. The bottom of the closet holds a huge draw string bag that I made out of a sheet. This is where we keep all extra stuffed animals that aren't being cuddled with.
17. The easiest way to keeps kids rooms clean is to keep toys elsewhere. Don't store toys in the bedrooms at all. Bedrooms are for sleeping! I know this may sound radical to many of you, but toys are what usually create the messes in kid's rooms. If you must store toys in the kid's rooms, don't keep every toy they own in there, just keep a select few (we do have a small toy box in the baby's room with baby toys). Rotate them. Use containers to help keep things tidy. If you're overwhelmed reading this, think how your kids feel. Seriously, kids have too much stuff!

If you are honest with yourself, I am sure you will admit your child(ren) have way more than they use or play with on a regular basis. Christmas is coming and that means new toys are coming. The first step is to not get them so much in the first place. Unfortunately, we didn't learn that lesson until our oldest was almost grown but the younger boys are benefiting from our new ways.

This year consider cutting back on the "stuff" and putting the money you save in a savings account instead. Wouldn't it be wonderful to hand your child a bit of money when they buy their first car or set up their first apartment? They will appreciate that a lot more than another Barbie or Match Box car. For me, it's sad to see a child opening gift after gift on Christmas morning (or a birthday) as they just toss aside the new toy and move on to the next package. "No time to look at it kiddo, hurry up, there's more to open!" What are we teaching our children? Anyway, if you choose to get rid of some toys, consider donating them. This year, especially, it could really make a difference!

So, where are all the toys if they aren't in the kids rooms? I'll post more about my toy solutions in another post. Here's a quick peek:18. Nothing should be stored loose on the floor (books, videos, toys, clothes, etc.). Find a home for these items-use baskets, shelves, drawers, plastic storage containers, or even cardboard boxes.

19. Again, if you haven't vacuumed under the beds do that now and if you store stuff under the bed make sure it's stuff you really need and you have a way to get to it if you need it.

Want to keep it looking this great? Here's how in about 5 minutes per day:
  • Make the bed(s)*. EVERY day.
  • Put dirty clothes in the hamper, never leave them on the floor. Ever.
  • Put trash in the trash can.
  • Keep clean clothes hung or folded and put away.
  • Put stuff (especially toys) away. If it doesn't have a home... make one!
  • Dust and vacuum once a week.
  • Train your children in the above! It's their room, they can keep it clean!
*In the kids rooms we do bed making a little bit differently. We only use a bottom sheet and a blanket. The blanket gets folded and laid at the foot of the bed and the bed is made. Easy for little kids and less stress for mom.

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