My girls discovered this truth once again this afternoon. Their room had been somewhat tidied at least every Friday, per our routine, but had not had a good deep clean in well over a month. Today they sorted through bins and organized drawers and culled the old ratty clothes from their closet. They even pulled out the vacuum edge attachment and cleaned behind the dresser and in the far reaches behind their bunk bed. They made room for any presents that Santa may see fit to grant them a few days hence.
Bedroom cleaning is a difficult chore for kids to do. They get easily overwhelmed and have a hard time figuring out what to do first. When my boys were little I came up with a bedroom cleaning routine that has helped them a great deal. With the routine they knew where to start and what to do next. They also knew they weren't finished until they got to the end of the routine. My girls used this routine today. This is what they did:
- Blankets & Pillows-I don't know what it is about kids blankets and pillows but they all seem to be magnetically drawn to the floor. Is it like that at your place too? The comforters and quilts take up so much space on the floor and always make the room look twice as bad as it really is. I am always amazed at how much cleaner the kids rooms look when they simply pick up the blankets and pillows (and bed animals) and spread them neatly across the bed. This is step number one because I see progress, they see progress and we all feel like this room is not a lost cause after all.
- Clothes & Shoes-Though each room has a strategically placed hamper and shoe bin the kids rarely make proper use of them--a mystery I will never understand--therefore step number two is picking up the clothes and shoes and putting them where they belong. This includes those clean clothes that inexplicably end up on the floor of the closet; they get picked up and returned to their proper place on the hanger and rod. If the hamper is full the children are also expected to take it to the laundry room and sort it into my baskets--I am very stubborn and refuse to do this for them.
- Toys-Cleaning up the toys is, hands-down, the hardest part of cleaning a room. There are so many different toys and groupings and sets and this all makes it very confusing and frustrating for the kids and thus the adults too. At this point we like to play a little game called bulldozer. To play bulldozer you put your hands out in front of you and push them along the floor like a bulldozer, you push the contents of the entire floor into one pile right in the middle of the room. The kids like to make bulldozer sounds while they do this. This does two things for the kids first it contains the mess into a smaller area making them feel like it is a smaller mess and second it clears space for toy sorting piles. Make a pile of doll clothes in this corner and a pile of cars in that corner and a pile of beads over there and all the craft supplies in that spot there, etc. Once the pile is sorted the kids simply take the pile and put it in their doll/car/bead/craft/etc bins. The kids will likely have a pile of "other" left in the middle.
- Trash & Misc- All the "other" stuff left in the middle of the floor after putting away the sorted toys is most likely trash or miscellaneous items that belong in other rooms. Do the same thing you did with the toys sorting this pile into a trash pile, a kitchen pile, a brother's room pile, hair ribbon pile, bookshelf pile, etc as needed. When everything is sorted put them all away in their appropriate spots through out the house and throw away the trash.
The girls' room looks great and they are so excited to have filled 3 bags with toys and clothes for donation and made way for the Christmas presents they are hoping for. Time for the boys to finish their room. It seems like teen rooms are perhaps a little more complicated. . . .