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HomeHomes
Published: Thursday, 9/21/2006

The Kid s Room: A Cleaning Nightmare

A lot of parents simply shut the door to their children s rooms, declaring them off-limits to traditional cleaning. And why not? A kid s room, as parents know, is immune to standard methods of cleaning, reverting back to its usual state of chaos within hours of a thorough renovation. Clearly, it s time for parents to reassess how we handle the kid clutter.

To meet the challenge of cleaning and organizing a child s room, you have to get into your child s head, as well as reconfigure how you re doing things. Face it, a kid s room has to hold more things than their parents bedroom. Adults can keep their toys in the basement or garage and display prized objects and trophies in dens and living rooms. The usually small confines of a youngster s room are all they have to hold their coolest and most personal stuff.

So let s go through the space piece by piece, starting with the floor. Naturally, a parent s dream is to have it always looking as clear as possible. Enter any kid s room, and the major amount of floor clutter will consist of toys and clothing. For toys, storage boxes and bins are required; a series of stacking crates will even do the trick. In fact, kids like the way crates display their toys, as a toy in view is a toy that doesn t have to be dug for. If storage boxes and bins are the only way to go, have your kids choose which will hold what types of toys to avoid tossing out the contents of each in search of a one-inch Pokemon figure.

For clothes, a hamper is a must. You simply can t count on kids (or many adults, for that matter) to haul their dirty laundry to a chute. Put a basketball hoop around the top if you have to, but get a clothes hamper in the corner. The same principle applies to a well-placed wastebasket in the room.

Let s move on to the walls of the room, which many kids like to think of as their own personal canvas. Since only so much artwork will fit on the front of a refrigerator, it s not unusual to see a kid s room lined with hand-drawn pictures stuck on with tape or a paint-peeling putty. Install a large bulletin board, or even cover a wall in cork panels. Supply plenty of thumbtacks, and let them have the whole wall to themselves. Many parents have found success with painting a wall or two of their childs room with murals, from depictions of a rainforest to the 100-Acre Woods of Pooh. When there s already great art on the walls, kids are often reluctant to cover it up.

At least one wall of the room is likely to be taken up by a closet or two, which for most kids is where stuff gets piled when they re told to clean their room. Since most kids clothes fit into dresser drawers rather than on hangers, only a small amount of clothing rack space is needed, and it should be hung at a level they can reach. Building storage cubbies and dividers into closets makes great spaces to store games, puzzles, even books. For once, the only things on the floor of the closet may be shoes.

Even the ceiling can be used for storage in a kid s room. String a net across one corner, and have your kids use it to hold stuffed animals and other soft toys. You ll both love the added dimension it adds to the room, and they re sure to love looking at the faces of their stuffed friends as they go to sleep.

If you even accomplish half of these recommendations, imagine the scene. You have guests over, and you proudly throw open a door and say, "And this is the kid s room!" We can dream, can t we?



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