Monday, August 2, 2010

Cleaning the Boys' Bedrooms

If your kids are like mine, they collect all kinds of stuff, some of it unintentional. In addition to their usable toys and books, they've got broken toys, clothes that don't fit, pieces of paper with various stages of artwork, candy wrappers, old Valentines and a multitude of other things that probably don't need to be saved. Add in a layer of dust and all the dog fur that gets mixed in with everything, and a messy kid's bedroom could make for a good episode of Man vs. Wild with Bear Grylls. (Love that show, by the way!)
This summer, I decided deep clean all of the boys' bedrooms. This is a cleaning checklist of what I've done in each room.

1. Sort and declutter toys. I started with my oldest son's bedroom so that I could pass outgrown toys down to the next kid in line. Of course, some toys went right into the garbage bag. There were lots of broken things, old McDonald's toys and things that no one needs to keep. Some parents may choose to do this when their kids aren't around. It's hard for children to part with their toys, even toys that you know they haven't thought about in years!

2. Clean under every piece of furniture. We pulled out the bed, dresser, bookcase and everything else for cleaning. In keeping roughly within our allotted 15 minutes of decluttering a day, this meant that we cleaned under one piece of furniture a day. After we picked up all the toys and books, I vacuumed and wiped down each section of wall and floor with a damp rag.

3. Sort books and tidy the bookcase. Again, books that have been outgrown can be passed down to a younger sibling. Duplicates and things that no one is interested in can be put in a donation pile (for the local library) or can be put on Paperback Swap.

4. Clean out the closet. Each closet took two days. The first day was spent on the bottom half and the second day was spent on the top shelf. We also thoroughly vacuumed the closets.

5. Sort clothing. I spent 15 minutes going through each dresser to pick out outgrown, worn or unused clothing. Some things are being passed down to a younger sibling, some are going in the Salvation Army box and some were thrown away (think old socks and badly stained t-shirts).

6. Dust and wipe down all furniture. We mostly did this as we cleaned and sorted, but the last day, we went through and dusted everything that hadn't already been cleaned.

7. Vacuum the windows and ceiling. Cobwebs, dust and dead bugs were vacuumed out of the windows. Cobwebs were removed from the ceiling.

8. Assess needs for shelving and toy organizers. Look around and see what the storage needs are. Are the current needs being met? Or does your child have stacks of books on the floor that don't have a dedicated storage area? Or maybe there are piles of toys with no where to go? My oldest needed a set of shelves (seen in the above picture) to hold a variety of things, including books, a Rubbermaid tote of Legos and all his trophies.

9. Thoroughly vacuum every nook and cranny. Do the baseboards, behind the door and all the hidden areas that tend to trap dust and animal fur.

10. Clean the floor. For us, this means wiping down our hardwood floors with a damp rag. Depending on your flooring, you may have to do a bit more work. If you've got wall-t0-wall carpeting or a large area rug, you may want to deep clean it.

11. Wash the walls. I used a damp rag to wipe down the walls. Using a Swiffer to reach the higher areas makes it a piece of cake. There's not much up near the ceiling that needs scrubbing. Near the light switches and around the doors needed a bit more attention and elbow grease, but the whole job took just a few minutes.

12. Wash all bedding and curtains. The final step is to wash everything that's made of fabric. All the bedding, right down to the mattress pad, got washed, as did the curtains. If you've got blinds, you may want to vacuum them.

If you do a bit each day, it should only take about two weeks to thoroughly clean each room, without interfering with the rest of your summer plans. It took me a bit longer because I took several days off, but I feel really good about all that I've accomplished. Two rooms are completely done and I'm about to start on the toddler's room. Then, there will be a big trip to the Salvation Army box and the library to donate our outgrown items! Can't wait to get them out of my house!

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