It’s that time of year where spring is so close you can almost grab it, which means…spring cleaning! I love starting the spring with a fresh decluttering spree through the house.
We move for my husband’s job every few years, so I’ve learned to ruthlessly declutter over the years. Spring cleaning with kids presents an all new challenge though, since they often become attached to material things — like toys and stuffed animals, to name a few.
So how can you get some spring cleaning done for your kids rooms? Here are a few decluttering tips to follow.
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1. Do a Sweep of Their Closet
Since kids grow out of clothing so quickly, one of the best places to start decluttering is their closet. Go ahead and grab two garbage bags – one for donations, and one for non-salvageable items that will be thrown out – and get started.
First, if you don’t already have items organized by size, I highly recommend rearranging all of the hanging clothes by size, with the smallest size on the lowest rack/within easiest reach. I’ve ordered all of our closet dividers off of Etsy, and they are always affordable, really cute, and usually customizable.
Next, take a precursory look and pull out anything that you know does not fit your child. For the items that you are unsure of, pick a morning or afternoon and try those pieces on them to see if they fit or not.
Anything that does not fit should go into a donation bin, and then – this is important – put it in your car! Don’t leave it in your closet or some other location where you will forget about it.
If you can schedule a pick-up from somewhere like the Salvation Army or Goodwill, call them to set up a pickup time as soon as (or even before!) you have finished going through the clothes.
2. Compartmentalize and Organize with Dividers
We love using bins to organize, and these are especially helpful if you are short on space and don’t have room for a large dresser. Because we don’t have a dresser, we keep most of our kids pants, shorts, leggings, etc. in divider bins on shelves in their closets.
Ikea has some really useful, affordable storage boxes that are great for organizing these types of items. I like to sort by color and style, so pants are in one bin, and shorts are in the other.
We use another set of bins to organize socks and washcloths within one of the drawers in their closets.
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1. Consolidate and Donate
Ah, the dreaded toys! We have quite a large amount of toys, many of which were passed down to us from family, while others were holiday and birthday gifts, and others are simply what we’ve accumulated over the last few years. Spring cleaning is the perfect time to do a toy purge.
Take a look at the toys that they have, and put anything you know your kids haven’t played with in the last month into a donation bin.
Next, any toys that are damaged and not tear-inducing favorites, should go into a donation bin or the trash.
When was the last time the toys were cleaned? Still thinking? It’s ok! But go ahead and grab some wipes and start wiping them down.
If the toys are plastic and extra gross, I dump them in the sink and start washing with some good old fashioned soap. For anything else, I use kid friendly all-purpose wipes, like these from Babyganics.
Ok, now that everything is clean and sorted, what else can you do to limit the mess, especially if you don’t have a playroom to store everything in? Try rotating toys.
Take 1/3 or half of the toys, and put them in a box. Store it in the garage or a closet for 2 weeks, and then switch them out for some or all of the remaining toys. This gets your kids excited about the toys they haven’t seen in awhile, and clears up some space. Win win.
2. Organize What’s Left
We love this set of toy organization bins. These are great if you want everything to have a place (and be easy to find). You can also add labels with masking tape or a labelmaker to help facilitate your kids cleaning up and learning to put their toys back in the right bins.
Pro Tip: If your kids are too young to read, stick a picture on the bins instead.
The amount of school notices and art that comes home every week for even my preschool-aged kids is overwhelming. I have a love/hate relationship with it all, because I can’t help but be a little sentimental and want to save some of it.
This just usually isn’t sustainable though, so let’s talk about some options for what you can do to limit the mess.
1. Throw Out Everything Outdated and/or Unnecessary
Any schoolwork or notices that are old or not needed anymore should be tossed in the recycle bin. Be ruthless! If you don’t need it, let it go.
2. Take Photos of their Artwork
Artwork is a little trickier. There a few different options for these Picassos from your little ones, depending on how much you want to hang onto.
You can either snap a quick picture and then throw it out, take a photo and keep it, or just flat out throw the art away (advisable for any art that has perishable items!).
If you decide to keep the artwork, I have a full post on how to organize it all here.
1. Wash Stuffed Animals
We’ve already talked about going through toys and cleaning those, but another item that can easily stay off your radar is stuffed animals!
My son has a stuffed monkey that is missing its eyes, an arm, and all of its stuffing; he is clearly well-loved, and if he goes missing, we call it a “Monkey-911.”
Monkey also smells like he’s well-loved. Haha! He gets washed every week or so, but it’s rare that the non-essential stuffed animals do, so take this time to wash those other stuffed animals well. Throw everything in on the delicate – preferably hot water – cycle, and let them air dry.
2. Do a Quick Wipe Down
Wondering what other items you may be missing when it comes to disinfecting? Try wiping down their crib, changing table, and also change out their pillow if needed.
3. Rearrange Furniture
I am a big fan of rearranging furniture occasionally, if you can (i.e. if you don’t have a lot of large pieces that are bolted to the wall). It can really help freshen up the space, and allows you to clean in corners and baseboards that probably haven’t seen the light of day in quite awhile.
So if you can, get creative and move two or three pieces of furniture in their room! If you haven’t done this before, trust me – it’s a fun, simple way to give a room a completely new look.
What are your spring cleaning plans?