Today’s area to tackle are the kids’ rooms. There will be lots of variations for this, as each family is so different – depending on how many kids you have, their ages, and how their living arrangements are set up, this could take you an hour, or it could take you days.

And as a side note – I want you to know that yesterday, I told my husband that I was getting weary from all the cleaning and decluttering. He was such an encouragement to me, cheering me on to keep at it, and to keep encouraging you all to finish the job. I felt renewed (though still physically tired), so I am indeed determined to finish this hard work in my own home. So be encouraged if you’re starting to peter out. I’m right there with you! The purpose of this Spring Cleaning Party is accountability, encouragement, and a little fun, and we’re nearing the end. Keep at it!

The main areas of potential clutter chaos in a kid’s room are:

• clothes,
• books,
• arts and craft supplies, and
• toys

Because each family’s home set up is so unique, I’m going to focus on these areas, rather than on individual rooms. If your kids have their own rooms, feel free to focus on one child at a time, rather than on a particular source of clutter.

Clothes

As home economists, it’s easy to hold on to clothes – a frugal spirit means handing them down to younger children, letting kids wear them as long as possible, and buying used. When you find a great deal on kids’ clothing, it’s wise to buy and store for the future.

But this can so easily get out of hand. The best prevention is to not let needless items pass through your home’s threshold from the beginning. Before buying kids’ clothes just because they’re cheap, ask yourself:

• Does my child really need this?

• Does he already have something similar to this?

• Am I likely to find a similar deal later, especially if the item is too big for my child right now?

• Is there a chance this type of item will come my way in some other form (such as a gift from grandparents, or as a hand-me-down from a friend)?

Don’t just pick up items because they’re cheap. They’re not cheap if you don’t need them in the first place. Read more about thrift store shopping tips.

Once you have the kids’ clothes you need, it’s important to keep them organized, or else they’ll explode into a cacophony of craziness. Make sure and sort by size and season – there’s no reason to keep your wool sweaters out in July.

Keep clothes your kids don’t need right now out of sight, well labeled in boxes, and easily accessible for the near future. That means that the only clothes folded in drawers and hung in the closet are for this current season, for this current size. If they’re in between sizes, it’s okay to hang the next size up as well. Just be sure to take away the smaller size as soon as they outgrow it.

And if you think your family has all the children you’ll be blessed with, then don’t hang on to clothes once the youngest has outgrown them. If they’re in good condition, donate them to charity, or resell them at a children’s consignment shop.

If you find yourself sentimental and reluctant to part with the baby clothes (“Were they really this small?”), pick your three favorites and donate the rest. Think of it as getting more life out of the clothes you loved. Some other darling baby will enjoy your child’s adorable outfit.

Books

books after 01

I already showed you our book collection, housed in the living room. Children’s books used to be in our playroom, but we recently moved everything into one larger reading nook for the whole family. We did this for several reasons:

I like keeping like things with like. It makes it easier to know where things belong.

• The grownups can more easily make sure books are well taken care of and organized properly. Books are really important to me – they’re not just a plaything, in my opinion – and I’m so thankful my mom saved most of my childhood books that my kids now enjoy. If I want my kids to be blessed with the same privilege for their kids, books need to stay in good condition. This doesn’t mean they can’t love the books, and that the kids need to tiptoe around our library as though it’s a museum, but I want them to treat books as more than just a toy.

I want my kids to think of reading as something different than playing. Yes, it’s fun, and yes, it’s a great past time. But reading cultivates a spirit of lifelong learning, and I want them to treat the art of reading with dignity. Keeping kids’ books next to the grownup books will further foster a spirit of reading as a gift to be enjoyed their entire life. Plus, where do you keep The Chronicles of Narnia? We all enjoy it.

I share my thoughts on holding on to books, and what constitutes children’s book twaddle, in my e-book. I also compiled a list of some of my favorite twaddle-free books for preschoolers, and in the near future, I plan to write another post of more to add to the list.

Our Kids’ Room

Our two kids are young, and we’ve divided the two rooms into a playroom and a bedroom. So today, I tackled their bedroom.

I removed winter and too-small clothes from their drawers and wardrobe, and stored them in a Rubbermaid action packer dedicated to past and future clothing. These are housed in our home’s one closet. I then added the rest of their summer clothes to the bedroom.

I organized my son’s cloth diapers and diapering accessories – I keep this area pretty well-maintained anyway, so I just removed the items, wiped down the shelves, shuffled a few things around, and set it back up.

reed's diapers

I changed the sheets on their beds, dusted and mopped, and removed clutter that belongs in the playroom (to be tackled tomorrow).

before:after:
kids bedroom beforekids bedroom after
before:after:
kids bedroom beforekids bedroom after
before:after:
kids bedroom beforekids bedroom after

Our kids’ walls usually aren’t this boring and bare, but we’re having their room painted soon, so I don’t want to hang new artwork only to take it down again in a few weeks. I’ll show you our art when I do the series on creative, frugal, handmade art ideas.

Our stroller stays tucked away in an over-the-door holder from MetroTots:

stroller storage

Alright, now it’s your turn to declutter, clean, and organize your kids’ rooms!

As mentioned in the e-book, do what you can to get your kids involved in this process today. Help them experience, hands-on, the value of getting rid of needless clutter, and of giving to those less fortunate.  Mandi has some great tips on how to involve your kids in the organizing and decluttering process.

How do your kids handle getting rid of their own stuff?

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