Carol Ann Guarino
Clean Your Room!!!
How many times have parents barked those orders while trying to remember what color carpet their child had under all the toys and clothes on the floor? Do you find yourself anguishing over the never-ending cleaning battle or do you give up and clean it yourself?
With the holidays approaching and a possible assault of new toys and clothes, now is the time to plan your attack. First, if your child is still small, get down to their level (yes, onto that floor) and take a good look around their world. Are the drawers, handles, closet shelves hard to reach or open? Take off that closet door and make sure shelves and racks are reachable.
If your child’s toys are housed in a toybox, look inside. Is it chaos? Are they organized? Best to keep younger children’s toys in open storage where they can be easily found AND easily put away. Labels on containers help the child know where everything goes and pictures of the stored items work for younger ones that cannot read. Clean up then becomes a game when they can find the correct bin to put the toys in. Keep a rainy-day bin. Pick some of their larger toys and keep them in storage, pulling them out periodically. Rotate the toys in storage…this will not only surprise them but you can test their memory…do they really remember all those toys they got for their birthday?
Does your child still squeeze into those size 2 shirts and where will he be wearing his swimming trunks in the dead of winter? Store out-of-season clothes and accessories and periodically sort through and remove outgrown clothes. Take inventory of the clothes that fit. How many shirts does one child need? Scaling down a wardrobe will open up much-needed space in a child’s room that is usually not overly large, to begin with.
For teens, it's storage, storage, storage… it’s a must with lots of shelving/bookcases to hold storage containers. They’ll need plenty of room for all of those collections, trophies, SAT prep books. If you have the space, a storage bench or ottoman can house sweaters, linens, diaries, birthday cards (from you of course). Make bed making easy by using a duvet instead of a top sheet and forego the fancy piles of pillows, it certainly wasn’t the picture you had in your head when you see them piled in the corner. Have your teen help with storage container decisions that they will use. If they have ample room in their closet to house clothes, shoes, accessories, they are more likely to put them away. Make sure they are not bogged down by an overwhelming amount of clothes. Hang a pegboard on the wall for mementos, etc. Use drawer dividers to maximize space. Place hooks on the back of door for a towel, robe, jacket, purse, etc.
Your kid's room may not be picture-perfect but getting rid of clutter and using the right storage solutions will make it much easier for them to clean and come January, will make a calmer house for you.