I don't buy into the old adage that a clean home is a happy home. With three kids, three part-time jobs, and a full-time job for my husband, I feel lucky if our home isn't overwhelmed with the mess (and sometimes, it is). And we still manage to be pretty happy.
That doesn't mean that I don't appreciate and desire a clean home. Often, spring and summer provides just the opportunity I'm looking for to get the whole house in order, at least for a little while. The playroom, the room where I most often just shut the door and pretend the mess doesn't exist, is usually the room that needs the most TLC.
Go it alone at first.
I always start when the kids are out of the house, getting rid of items that are broken, trash, or clearly haven't been played with in a long time. I put away items that I'd like to save for my grandchildren one day. Start a small pile for donations.
Enlist the troops.
Once you've done the heavy lifting (literally, if you've thrown out that broken drum set that the kids can't bear to part with), you can enlist help from your children. They absolutely should be part of the process. Depending on the age of your children, set realistic goals for their participation (putting away toys, taking out the trash, etc). Ask kids to select a few toys to donate to charity that they no longer play with.
Find a home for everything.
Once you've made some room in the playroom, it's time to start getting organized. If you don't already have some sort of system for storing toys, books, games, and puzzles, now is the time to get something set up. A bookshelf for books, along with one that holds baskets ideal for small toys and game pieces, works well. Resist the urge to create more than one "bits and bobs" bucket. Almost everything should have a place. If not, it belongs in the trash.
Now that your playroom is organized, take the time to deep clean it. Everyone can help. My toddler loves to help wipe things down with unscented baby wipes. My older daughters love to (well, they don't hate to) dust and vacuum. Don't forget to wipe down the blinds, windowsills, and baseboards. Clean the windows. Make sure the room is immaculate when you head out and breathe a sigh of relief.
And don't get too upset when it's a mess again before you've even made it down the hall.Content by Kelly Herdrich.