Hey Mama!

Is it time to finally clear the clutter in your kid’s room?

Spring is the perfect time to get rid of clutter and get organized.

By following these 10 steps to declutter, you’ll be able to tidy up that messy kid’s room just in time for them to drag it all back out again.

Oh, and if you want to know my VERY UNPOPULAR opinion, keep reading…

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woman washing dishes with a thought bubble that says How do I organize a messy kid's room?

Here’s my VERY UNPOPULAR opinion:

Spring is the absolute WORST time to do an overall cleaning of your house, garage, or yard.

Why? Because: POLLEN

Spring is in the air and your thoughts turn to all things new and fresh.

But when you live in the southern US, the only thing in the air is a yellow haze of pollen.

When you open your house, pollen finds a way in. So, spring is NOT the time to open all the windows and let everything “air out.” No!  Spring is the time to keep ALL the doors and windows closed!

But, what I do recommend for this time of year is an overall decluttering. You may not want to deep clean yet, until the pollen dust has cleared and you have more of a chance of keeping everything clean.

So, clearing the clutter is a great way to prep your home for a new season. Then when the pollen is gone, you can do your deep cleaning without having to clean around last year’s Christmas gifts that are still laying on the floor.  (is that just me?)

Ok, so forget Spring Cleaning. And let’s do some Spring Decluttering.

Where to begin? I recommend a room-by-room approach, but if you’re like me, you never fully stay within the confines of just one room. So, do your best.

Pick a room. I’ll start with the kids’ rooms while I am still motivated and have some energy because let’s face it, once you’ve finished their’s, you may be over it for a while.

pink and blue text with LEGOs in the background

#1: Assess the Mess

Stand in the center of the room (watch out for the LEGOs on the floor) and look around to get an overall view of what needs to be done.

Make a mental note (or a physical one) of the groupings you can create. Also take a minute to visualize what a mess-free room will look like. Then bring yourself back down to Earth and set some realistic goals for this room. 

Do you want this room to stay pristine and neatly organized? Then you probably should keep the kids out. But, if you want this room to stay managable and have place to store most things out off of the floor, then keep reading. 

#2: Trash the Trash

Begin by throwing away any obvious trash.

Take a trash bag or trash can in the room with you. Start filling it up with anything that can be thrown away. If there are any questionable items, place them in a box or container and take them out of the room. Then forget about said box and toss it next week.

It’s best to not try to save each individual coloring page, treasure map, or Happy Meal toy. You have my permission to throw them away. Now give yourself permission and follow through.

For future trash containment, try a cute trash can your kids will enjoy filling up like this pretty pink trash can with an automatic lid. Just stock up on batteries because you know they will find anything and everything to throw away to make the lid open.


#3: Make a Mess?

Next, start making piles. Yes, you have to make a mess to get everything organized. That’s my motto.

Pile like items together so that they can be organized accordingly when it’s time to put everything back in place.

Here are some suggested piles: 

  • LEGOs
  • Stuffies
  • Books
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Small toys
  • Games
  • Puzzles
  • Rocks
  • Random items
  • Electronics
  • Sentimental/Non-negotiables

#4: Enter Ninja Mode

Sneak out any toys or “toys” when the kids aren’t looking. Take away the things that don’t get played with or have passed their prime.

*”toys” such as the 20 paper towel rolls that have accumulated in your son’s “sword” collection

If you’re really worried the items will be missed and a meltdown will ensue, put them in your “questionable” box from step #2 and give it a week or so. Then go from there. 

If there are items that you can’t part with, but don’t want displayed any longer, find a storage location for them. I have some plastic containers in the top of the closets for items like that. (Think that one baby toy YOU can’t part with but your 7 year old won’t miss)

#5: Boxes, Baskets, or Bins?

Next, decide what kind of organizational bins or baskets you want to use to pile everything back into. Don’t even think about a color-coding system. You can spend a day rearranging all those toys by shape, color, or theme, but at the end of the day, they will all be mixed up again.

I love using whatever bins and buckets I already have laying around, but sometimes you want to get some actual storage containers to kind of look more put together. I recommend hitting up the dollar tree. The teacher section has some great options for organization…seriously, have you ever seen some of those Pinterest classrooms? Maybe one day I’ll share my classroom organization. It will make you feel better about your own, I promise.

Don’t miss out on after season sales at places like Dollar General, Hobby Lobby, and Wal-Mart. You’ll always find holiday containers for cheap. These make great organizing bins. I have tons of “Easter” buckets that are perfect for markers, crayons, and random Happy Meal toys.

Grab some flat plastic storage boxes for under the bed, if that’s an option. Limit the number of items left out on “display” so you can easily dust around everything.

For a dust free option and longer-term storage, try a plastic container with a locking lid

For more accessible under-bed storage, try these open bins on wheels

#6: Books

We love books and keep a bookshelf full of them. You can reorganize the books by theme or alphabetize them by title, but be honest with yourself about how realistic it will be to maintain this. Just get them all on the shelf and you’ve increased your chances of keeping them “organized.” Be sure to make a pile to give away.

You could make piles to sell. But unless you have a ton of extra time and energy, just give them to someone else. They’ll love the books, your room will be neater, and you won’t have to worry about taking pictures, listing an item, storing them until they sell, and then packaging and shipping them 3 months later. (in case you do enjoy doing that, read how you can use Mercari to make a few extra bucks)

#7: Games and Puzzles

Package any game pieces together in ziploc bags, especially if the box has seen better days. This goes for puzzles too. Use plastic bags or to-go dishes to store small pieces. Or use one of these—photo organizer boxes. Cut out the game title or puzzle image from the box and tape it to the storage container so you know what is in each box.

#8: Artwork and Paper Clutter

Can’t get rid of any artwork? Use paper file containers or binders to store. Or, better yet, take pictures of everything and make a book out of the images on places like Shutterfly, Snapfish, or Walgreens. Throw away the originals or “put them in storage.” I always keep any that are very special, like handprints or special occasion paintings.

I have a plastic storage container for each of my kids’ special artwork or schoolwork.

#9: Clothes

Now, what about all those clothes?

Make piles of all the clothes you know your child can’t wear anymore. These can be donated or gifted to a friend.

Then, separate by type: short-sleeve, shorts, long-sleeve, long pants, socks and underwear, etc. Sanity-saving tip: don’t buy different socks. Pick a sock that your child likes and can wear with everything. Buy only that type of sock. Then pile all socks into one bin that fits neatly into the drawer. That will save tons of time trying to find “matching” pairs. It will also save time when folding laundry: you can just toss them all into the drawer without rolling them together. And bonus: if the dryer eats any, you have backups!

Don’t forget to go through the clothes in the closet too. Hang like clothes together. Make a spot your child can reach to get their own clothes. Only include the items you want them to be able to choose from. My son has 5 long-sleeve shirts to wear to school. He can “choose” which one he wants from the ones I’ve already pre-approved. They get freedom of choice and some independence and you guarantee that they don’t end up wearing last year’s halloween costume.

#10: Finish Up

Now that you have everything organized, start putting things back in place. You can wipe the surfaces while they are empty before putting things back. And when it’s time to pick up, have the kids put everything back in a storage container.

Now actually do something with everything you just took out of the room…don’t pile the giveaway boxes in the garage or you’ll be reorganizing those boxes when it’s time to declutter the garage. Go ahead and actually take them to the donation center or give them to a friend.

Then stand in the middle of your kid’s room and enjoy the moment because in about 10 minutes it’ll be messy again…but there will be fewer things to pick up and there will be a place to put it back.



Hi! I'm Misty, the imperfect Mama behind Life Between the Dishes.  My goal is for you to find tools, tips, and resources here to help you maintain sanity through daily mom life!

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