A little confession… I was secretly hoping my daughter would win our March Madness challenge because if she won I had to clean her room for a week. “What?” you may be thinking, “Why would you want to clean your daughter’s room for a week?” Here’s why…My daughter is the exact opposite of me when it comes to cleaning. When I think of a clean room, it doesn’t mean throw your clothes in a pile and shove them in your drawers, but to her, that’s exactly what it means.
My parenting philosophy is that my children are responsible to pick up their toys and clothes, not me. Although I am tempted every day to clean up after them, I don’t, because it teaches them that Mom will do everything for them, and “in the real world” that won’t happen. I do have them pick up their rooms and make their beds, but I choose not to follow behind them “correcting” what they do. I can’t expect my 4 year old to make his bed as neatly as I do.
However, this time, I have to clean my daughter’s room, and I can clean it to my standards. So, I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you some things I have found to be extremely helpful when tackling an area that’s basically a disaster zone. Here are some pictures of her room before I touched it.
Can you tell she came paint shopping with me and chose a
couple lot of samples for herself?
This is no set-up, this is her room in true form. So where do we start?
Helpful Hint #1- Work in a Circle & Section Things Off
Working in a circle gives you a starting point and a direction in which to work. When the space already feels overwhelming, you need direction. Once you know which way you’re going, section off the room and tackle one area at a time. It can be distracting when there is so much to do, so creating sections in a room helps keep you focused. In this room, I started with the little desk and cleaned that area, then did the bed, then the nightstand, followed by the dresser, and finally the closet.
Helpful Hint #2- Create Piles OUTSIDE The Room
Get stuff out of the room that doesn’t belong there. This helps you to know what you are really dealing with in the room. I always have a trash can handy for garbage, and I create a pile for anything that can be recycled. Then I create piles for items that go in other rooms around the house. As you can see from the picture below, my daughter had a lot of stuff in her room that belonged elsewhere. After getting the room totally cleaned up, get rid of the piles. I like starting with the garbage and recycle because it’s a super easy fix, and those piles always seem to be the biggest. Then just pick up one pile at a time and start putting things where they belong.
Helpful Hint #3- Go Through Everything
I know it’s easy to pass by the closed drawers & closets, but I always know there’s a bunch of stuff in there that I really should go through… just do it! Even though it looks overwhelming at first, it usually doesn’t take that long, and you’ll feel so much better knowing that the whole room is actually clean.
Helpful Hint #4- Get Rid of It
I know that often times cleaning a space reveals items you never knew you had, and they seem like amazing finds. I know, I know, sometimes they really are amazing, but often times, not so much. I would encourage you to think through the fact that the item has been sitting there, unknown to you, for a long time… ask yourself whether you are actually going to use it. If not, toss it or donate it. Here is a great article addressing the issue: 10 Excuses We Make To Keep Our Clutter. I know children have a really hard time letting go of their
junk treasures, so here’s what I do. I take all the things I don’t think they need (we’re talking all those hundreds of Happy Meal toys!) and I put them in a box or bucket. I put the bucket up on a shelf in my closet. If my child doesn’t ask about them in two week’s time, I toss them out, and seriously, there are more Happy Meal toys to come… unfortunately. Obviously, this needs to be done when your child is no where around, or there will be tears and tantrums to follow because they really do NEED that ear-piercing whistle.
Hint #5- Finishing Touches
Once the space is clean and your piles are taken care of, do those last minute things that will really make the room: vacuum, dust, wash the Christmas art off the windows, you know.
Here’s the room after I got hold of it.
So. Much. Better. I know this is no One Room Challenge transformation here, but this literally took me about 1 1/2 hours to do, and it makes a world of difference.
Hope some of these ideas encourage you to tackle a space you’ve been avoiding!
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