I dreaded the end of summer this year. Once summer ended, I had to deal with my daughter’s messy room. My son’s room wasn’t in much better shape.
How on earth could such a small human end up with such a messy room? I honestly wonder how it’s even possible. Apparently, my kids didn’t get the message when I read them The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room. Over the summer, I tried doing a bit of quick cleaning every day, but my kids are much faster at making messes than I am at cleaning them. After a while, I just gave up. I set aside the first couple days of school to devote to cleaning. Here is what kept me sane:
Clean a messy room when your child isn’t home.
It’s amazing how much more work I can get done without constant interruptions from my children. They also have a habit of playing with all the newly unearthed toys in the middle of the area I’m cleaning. My children are also delusional. They always claim that they play with “that toy” even though I know for a fact it has sat dusty and unused for over a year. If I’m not sure if they still want an item, I set it aside until they come home and ask them.
Play your favorite music while you clean.
A messy room is overwhelming. Music makes it feel less daunting. I played all my favorite songs and sang along quite loudly. This is another good reason to clean while your children are not home. Playing music is a treat for me. If you get overwhelmed while in the process of cleaning, go take a break! Reading a chapter of a book and eating a snack definitely helps to reenergize me!
Provide proper storage solutions.
While cleaning my son’s messy room, I realized that he had multiple containers of Legos scattered all over the place. Most of these containers were cardboard boxes, which eventually rip and spill Legos all over the floor. And we all know how horrible it feels to step on them. To solve this problem, I bought a three-drawer storage unit just for the Legos. It keeps them all in one place. As an added bonus, the drawers don’t come out of the unit so my son will be more likely to keep the Legos in his own room and stop scattering them all over the rest of the house.
Ask your children if they have outgrown an item.
This is the best trick I have found. Both of my kids want to be grown and mature, so if they think a toy or book is for a baby or toddler, they are quick to let it go. I use this trick when I weed out toys, clothes, and books at Christmas time. The kids are happy to be grown up and I am happy to get rid of stuff. It’s a win-win situation.
When in doubt, throw it out.
Honestly, my kids’ rooms were so messy that I don’t think they would notice if I threw something away unless it was their beds. While I cleaned this year, I had four bags set up. One bag was for trash, one bag was for recycling, one bag was for donating, and the last bag was for items that belonged in a different room in the house. While cleaning my daughter’s messy room, I found magnets that she filched from the refrigerator. I also found a toy lunch box full of random items all covered with mold. Instead of cleaning everything, I just threw it out. If my children won’t keep something clean, then they don’t really care about it. Also, the less my children own, the less time and effort it takes to keep them organized and tidy.
Explain the organization system to your children.
For example, I went through my daughter’s dresser and showed her where I put each set of clothes. All the shirts go in the top drawer and all the dresses in the bottom drawer. When you take off clothes, immediately put them in the laundry basket, not on the floor. I also showed my son his new drawers of Legos. I explained that all the Legos go in the drawers and nothing but blocks go in there. Once I explained everything, my kids were very excited to play in their rooms because they could finally find everything again.
Provide proper motivation to keep the room clean.
I told my children that if they can keep their rooms clean all school year, we can paint their walls next summer. If their rooms are messy at the end of the school year, that time will be spent cleaning instead of painting. I’m going to help them keep their rooms tidy by reminding them to pick up a little bit every day instead of waiting until things are too overwhelming. It’s a hard plan to stick with, but it’s definitely worth it!