Back to school means homework, studying and trying in general to be a little more self-directed and responsible.
I know I have recognized in myself a difficulty to focus in a messy room. I get distracted by all there is to do. And while kids may not get distracted from their homework because they are thinking about cleaning and changing sheets and doing laundry, having a room that’s chaotic and messy may make it hard to focus. That’s why I was fascinated by a blog post I ran across called “How to Calm Your Kids’ Room.” The idea is that, by de-cluttering, you can make your child’s room a better place for them to play, rest, and learn.
Whether or not your child is having trouble sleeping or concentrating, it’s certainly a great spring cleaning concept.
Here’s how she did it:
- Strip the room. The first thing she did was strip the entire room of everything but the furniture. That means everything out of the closet, dresser, and off the bed. Take it all out and clean everything. I love using laundry baskets for tasks like this, because I can get everything out of the way without feeling overwhelmed or making a mess elsewhere.
- Organize your bins for tossing, keeping and donating. Try to get rid of stuff that you don’t wear, use or play with. Encourage your child to make some hard decisions. Go through toys and clothes, and get rid of things that are broken, have pieces missing or aren’t functional. I tend to think I will fix everything but rarely get around to it. This is a great exercise to take on right before a birthday or Christmas if you need extra space. If your child is really reluctant to let go of items they don’t really use, something I do is put the items out of sight and then only retrieve what they ask for. After a week, give or throw the remainder away. I also encourage them to give things away as much as possible when there are disasters or toys drives to help get them to think about those who have less than they do. This is a great way to help build empathy.
- Make good use of your space. Many closets aren’t built with maximum use of storage space in mind, Use an over-the-door storage rack, these awesome Ikea spice racks, or a small bookshelf and baskets to make the best use or your space. Use bins in closet floors and on shelves to keep things neat.
- Try to keep surfaces in the room clean and reserved for special treasures. Encourage your child to keep nightstands, dressers and desks clear of clutter. That habit of setting stuff down wherever there is a spot is hard to break, but it doesn’t take long for that stuff to build up. Help them learn how to take the extra second or two to put things in their place.
- Make the organizational scheme easy for them. Don’t make cleaning up complicated. Figure out how and what would make cleaning up easy for your kids. Do they love sorting? Label everything! Are they fast but not organized? Have a giant bin out of sight for all the toys. Do they forget to take their clothes to the hamper? Buy a small hamper for their room only.
Once everything is back in the room, you’ll have a neater, cleaner space that has a little more room to breathe. This is a great end point, or a great jumping off point if you are planning to redecorate.
Two of my girls share a room and I know it takes about two seconds for their room to get messy again after we clean up. I am planning on using this method to do a little fall cleaning before the birthday and holiday seasons begin!