The season for spring cleaning has arrived! Be it a kid’s bedroom or a playroom, keeping it clean can feel like a daily enterprise. If you’re looking to get rid of stuff, clean kids’ rooms, and keep them that way, read on for 15 inspiring ideas, including everything you should throw out right now!

photo: Morre Christophe

The Prep

1. Start Where You Are
It’s the secret motivational boost for what can feel like a daunting task. As Spoke Contributor Jennifer Landis recommends, any spring-cleaning project should start with one room, and look—you’ve got your kid’s room already picked out. Whether you tackle an all-purpose bedroom or have a designated playroom, grab your “to keep,” “to donate,” and “to toss” bags, and get going!

2. Move Out
If it’s been a while since you’ve vacuumed under that epic fort in the corner, it’s definitely time to move things around—or at least to the middle of the room, as organizing guru Marie Kondo recommends. It’s not only the best way to clean out nooks and crannies, but you’ll be more mindful of what you bring back in.

photo: Design Improvised

3. Clear the Last of the Baby Gear
Do you still have a nursing pillow in the closet? How about an activity gym or a Bumbo seat? If you’re done adding to your family, it may finally be time to pass these on to newer mamas or donate to those in need. And upcycle! Add flair to formula or diaper wipe containers for extra storage or paint those baby food containers for a color wheel crayon organizing system. Check out more clever ways to upcycle that old baby gear.

4. Toss, Toss, Toss
No matter what project you’ve undertaken, little feels better than being on a roll, so start with easy toss-ables, such as anything broken. That play purse that lost its handle? Those three missing parts that don’t quite add up to anything? Let it all go and enjoy the immediate breathing room.

photo: Swoop Bag

The Nitty Gritty

5. Tackle Tiny Toys
What about All. Those. Little. Parts!? They often migrate under the couch, appear underfoot and end up right on your last nerve. While these Shopkins and snap-ins may be tiny, they need a big home. Rather than spend time every day re-assigning them to individual containers, consider one big bin or this fun Swoop Bag, which also works wonders for LEGO, train sets, and play food. The best part? Clean up is literally a cinch, even for mini mess makers.

6. Dial Back Overflow
Does anyone else have a storage tote overflowing with stuffed animals the kids rarely play with? If your little hoarder is old enough to rise to the task without suddenly growing inseparable with each stuffie you attempt to discard, then this presents a wonderful opportunity to donate those in good condition. For a guide to purging the whole gamut of toys, check out this step-by-step plan from Moms Have More Fun. We especially love the idea of creating a toy “wardrobe” with mix-and-match potential.

7. Streamline Clothes and Shoes
Kids grow fast in the early years. Before we know it, pants are too short and shoes are tight. Take an honest stock of what your kid actually wears (oftentimes it’s a few favorite outfits), and purge what’s outgrown, stained or simply not your kid’s style. Minimalist mama Allie Casazza has a helpful recipe on just how much of each clothing category we actually need on hand.

8. Prune Paper Trails
Royal crowns from birthdays gone by? Notebooks long ago scribbled in? Coloring books of yesteryear? How about all those school Valentines or party favors? Take a quick flip through for anything indicative of early artistic genius, then recycle, recycle, recycle.

photo: Wallsauce.com

9. Update Wall Space
Have you changed your preschooler’s wall art since you set up the nursery? Every few years, it’s nice to switch things up. If you’re still planning to add to your family, put the sweet baby giraffe print in storage with the Rock ‘n’ Play, and update the walls. Etsy has thousands of affordable printables, or clear wall space altogether for an educational mural from Wallsauce. Here are more genius ways to hack an amazing kid’s room.

10. Purge Books
As little bodies outgrow clothes, big minds and imaginations outgrow books. If your bookworm’s shelves are bursting, it’s time to save a few sentimental titles, and donate the rest. You’ll finally have room for the next wave of tales young readers will want to explore.

photo: NEAT Method

The Maintenance

11. Keep It Up
Now that most of the hard work is over, save time in the future by going through this clean-up process regularly, especially after birthdays and holidays, as NEAT Method recommends. Read on for other great pro tips and secrets to organizing success from moms.

12. Don’t Go Overboard on Storage
It’s a little counterintuitive, but hear us out. We are all for stylish, sensible ways to organize—and storage solutions are certainly keys to a clean room—but any additional containers are bound to fill up. Work with what you have to minimize excess—the answer isn’t always to store it.

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13. Save the Sentimental
We parents are one of the biggest reasons it’s so hard to get rid of what our kids have outgrown, both physically and developmentally. It’s emotional! We remember when he walked off to his first day of kindergarten in that sweatshirt or that toy dinosaur she carried absolutely everywhere for a year. Select choice pieces for cool and surprising ways to repurpose the sentimental stuff.

14. Upcycle “New” Toys
With everything is streamlined, the last thing you or your budget want to do is rush to fill it up with new stuff. The next time the kids beg for the latest, get creative! Sand-filled juice boxes make for awesome stacking blocks and corks morph into stamps. There are loads of great reasons why you should be upcycling anyway.

15. Let (Some) Clutter Go
At the end of the day, it’s a kid’s room. It should look like a kid lives, plays and imagines there, which means extra stuff is sometimes just part of the fun, messy wonder of it all. So relax, and remember that the next time clutter accumulates.

What are your secrets to a clean kid’s room? Share with us in the comments.

— Jennifer Massoni Pardini

 

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