Cleaning Checklist for Kids’ Rooms

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Hand your kids this printable cleaning checklist for kids’ rooms. They’ll stay on task while getting the job done, so you can be proud of their work.

Does this sound familiar? You tell your kids to clean their rooms. They disappear for a while, then come back to say it’s clean. You check, and their room looks no different. It might even look worse. You tell them their room is still messy. They say, “But I did clean it!” And then the tears start.

The problem with telling kids to clean their rooms is that they have no idea what’s involved. In their minds, putting away a few toys and pulling the bed cover over rumpled sheets is enough. You know it takes more than that, though.

Why Use a Cleaning Checklist for Kids’ Rooms?

Child sitting on floor of clean bedroom filled with eclectic furniture

No one wants to micromanage kids when they’re doing chores. It’s demoralizing for them. It’s time-consuming for you. Plus, it doesn’t help them remember the steps for themselves. They’ll continue to rely on you to tell them what to do next. That’s why I came up with a cleaning checklist for children’s bedrooms. (Related: Printable Cleaning Checklists for Every Room.)

It Frees Up YOUR Time

Sure, you could tell them step-by-step. If you don’t mind getting interrupted every five minutes, that is. But then you have to keep track of what step they’re on, too. Meanwhile, you’re busy trying to get stuff done or maybe even trying to relax for a change.

It Helps Them Learn and Remember

You know from experience that doing a task the same way every time, several times in a row, helps you memorize it. That’s true with cleaning checklists, too. Once your kids start following this bedroom cleaning routine, they start remembering it.

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That’s when they’ll know that cleaning a room involves more than hiding messes. (Not just their bedroom, either.) They’ll also have learned the best order for cleaning things. So they’ll know to put things away before they dust and to dust before vacuuming.

Work Together the First Time

It’s best if you work with your child on this bedroom cleaning routine the first time. That way, you can answer any questions they have. Working together lets you see if any step is too hard for them, in which case you might need to make adjustments.

Or, if your child is old enough, let them read the steps below for themselves. (It’s written for kids.) It helps explain all of the steps they should take. After they’ve done it at least one time, give them the printable checklist at the very end of this article. Then do something you enjoy while they clean!

Child's pastel bedroom with pastel bunnies and cartoon eyelashes on walls

Cleaning Routine for Kids’ Bedrooms

What you need to clean your room:

  • Two bags or boxes
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Furniture polish*
  • Glass cleaner*
  • Fresh bedsheets and pillowcases
  • A vacuum cleaner with attachments

* Find my non-toxic homemade cleaning recipes here.

Here’s what to do:

1. Get your bags ready to sort stuff: Mark one box/bag “Trash” and the other “Return.”

2. Pick up all trash: Start at the door and work to your right. Pick up all trash and put it in the “Trash” bag. Open drawers and look for stuff to throw away. (Close them afterward.) Once you’ve gone around the room, look under your bed for more. Look in your closet, too. Now, set the bag outside your bedroom door.

3. Find everything that belongs in another room. Things that belong elsewhere include dishes, water glasses, and towels. Put these in the bag marked “Return.” Do this in the same order you followed with the trash. Start at the door and work to the right, then under your bed and in your closet. Put this bag outside your bedroom door, too.

4. Put away things that are on the floor. Toys left on the floor look messy. You might trip on them and get hurt or step on them and break them. Put them in the toy box, on shelves, or wherever they belong. Pick up dirty clothes and put them in the hamper. Put clean clothes away in the closet or dresser. Put your shoes in your closet, too.

5. Put away things on your desk, dresser and nightstand. If you like to keep homework or books where you can find them, arrange them in stacks. Things look much cleaner when stacked nicely instead of sprawled all over. Continue working until all flat surfaces in your room are neat and tidy.

6. Dust your furniture. Get one cleaning cloth very lightly wet. It should not be dripping water everywhere. Use this cloth to clean up the dust. Start at your door and work to the right. Wipe each piece of furniture like your desk, dresser, and nightstand. Don’t just wipe messes you see — wipe the whole surface. Clean the windowsills, too!

7. Clean the glass. Spray the mirror with a little glass cleaner. Use a fresh, dry cloth to wipe the mirror from top to bottom.

8. Change the bed. Pull the cover and sheets off of your bed. Take the pillowcase off the pillow. Now, put on clean sheets and a fresh pillowcase. Smooth the bedspread with your hands and make it look tidy. Put the dirty sheets outside your bedroom door.

9. Time to vacuum. Remember: never use the vacuum to pick up coins, puzzle pieces, Legos, or other objects. It’s only for dirt, dust, and pet hair. Begin at the door and work your way around your room. Go slowly to help the machine get up the most dirt. Get every spot, not just the dirt you see.

10. Almost done! Take your dirty sheets to the laundry room. Take the trash to the garbage can. Go through the bag marked “Return” and put everything where it belongs. Put the vacuum away. Good job!

Printable Cleaning Checklist for Kids’ Rooms

Click on the image below to open a .pdf for printing, or right-click to save it to your device.

Kids bedroom cleaning routine

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  1. Another tip I read somewhere (I wish I could remember where, because the guy should be given full credit!) anyhow, for kids who become easily overwhelmed when presented with a room that is in disarray and needs to be cleaned… Most of the time, it’s the overwhelming “stuff” that puts kids (and adults) into full on “I can’t do this” mode. Once the stuff is put away, the rest of the cleaning is easier.

    Take a basket and put it in the middle of the floor. This is the “inbox” go around the room and put everything that needs to be picked up into the basket (no matter what it is – no decision is made at this point – everything goes into the basket). If the basket gets full, put the overflow around the outside of the basket.

    Once everything has been picked up, then and only then you start to put away. Remember everything should be in this pile!

    Next: This is very important: Take one thing at a time (only one!) and put it away in its place, put it in the trash, or put it in a box to be taken to another room.

    This requires less by way of decision making so it’s not such a huge mountain to climb for them. It’s much easier to decide what to do with only one thing than it is to look at a room and say “OMG I have to put ALL this away… I can’t do it!

    This can be translated to any person in the house who has problems starting a clean up. It might work. It might not. Worth trying it. πŸ™‚

    1. Katie Berry says:

      My mother did something very similar when I was little. Basically, she’d wait until I was at school then dump every drawer in the middle of my room. On top of this, she’d throw everything that was on the floor of my closet or on top of my desk, dresser or nightstand. Then she’d tell me to put things away properly, one at a time.

      You can imagine my attitude toward cleaning when I was a kid as a result, LOL!

    2. Um – I think this proves, it’s all in how the project is presented… πŸ˜‰

    3. Katie Berry says:

      Most definitely! LOL

    4. I actually did this when I was a kid, when I rearranged my room, everything went on the bed. Then I put stuff away where I wanted it to go.

    5. Katie Berry says:

      That’s still one of my favorite ways to completely declutter and organize a room. If I can’t think of a place for something, I probably don’t need it so out it goes!

    6. This is such a good idea my 7yr old gets overwhelmed easily thanks

    7. Katie Berry says:

      You’re welcome!

  2. Hmm… I’ve never tried this. As a kid I remember being told “go clean your room” and then being unsure what my mom expected. I’ve been using the same approach with my boys and not been happy with the results. I think your approach might be worth considering. Thanks.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’re welcome! I had to come up with *something* since my son’s version of cleaning his room and my version are so drastically different. Hint: his involves shoving everything under the bed. Aaaack!

  3. Katie Berry says:

    Checklists really are great for kids, aren’t they?

  4. Thank you so much! My children’s idea of cleaning their rooms involves pulling OUT the Lego’s. Talk about AAAACK factor. I needed something to help.

    1. This helped

  5. Mini Clean says:

    This is a good thing. Kids should really be train to do some cleaning. If they do this tips and make it a habit they will eventually bring that until they grow old. Thanks for posting.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I agree. Kids tend to be the main source of mess, and it’s good for them to learn how to clean after themselves rather than take for granted that it’s Mom’s job to do it.

    2. Mini Clean says:

      I totally agree with you.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m glad you like it, Susan!

  6. Thank you for sharing your wonderful parenting and cleaning tips for kids with us at Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop

    Olivia, co-hostess

    Reinvented Collection

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Thank you for hosting!

  7. This might help us! My kids definitely struggle with figuring out where to start and then getting overwhelmed by too much. Saving this for sure!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Using a checklist really does help them stay on track, and they feel so proud of themselves when they’re done!

  8. Chantelle @ Tale of a Mompreneur says:

    This is a wonderful method, I’m going to have to give it a try with my four little ones! Thanks for the free printable as well!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You’re welcome!

  9. Jessica Ryles says:

    We do the same thing in our house. The kids love knowing exactly what is expected, and it makes everything so much easier!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      It really does make the whole “clean your room” process less painful for everyone, doesn’t it?

  10. What a great checklist! We are always struggling to keep my 9 year old’s room clean! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Getting it clean seems to be easier than keeping it clean. LOL

  11. Jennifer Staples says:

    This checklist for cleaning a kids room is absolutely wonderful! I give it to my daughter every week and her room gets cleaned with no arguments! She even asks for me to print it off if I forget. BTW, she asked me to tell you that the new version is even better than before. Thanks for making my life a little easier!

  12. Okay so im a tween who cleans my own room the only problem is im lazy when it comes to thing like that. Do you have any tips for lazy tweens-teens or lazy people in general when it comes to cleaning?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      My best advice is to listen to your mother.

  13. What a great idea!!! I’m going to print this off and laminate it. We do the inbox as well. My 8 year old gets overwhelmed and he always asks for help cleaning his room – but what he’s really looking for is direction and this just may be the key!!! I’ll let you know how it goes πŸ™‚

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Thank you, Nadine! I think you’re absolutely right — kids just need a bit of direction, and it always seems to help when we can hand them something like a checklist which they can read and follow step by step. Please let me know how it goes!

  14. Kimberly Rudder says:

    I think cleaning the kids room is the most stressful. I start feeling sorry for them so I go to help and….. well….. I started to noticing that I would be all alone cleaning while they either sat in one corner playing or day dreaming. My 8 year old likes to pick up a tiny piece of paper and take 10 min to carry it to the trash can and that’s with me having a trash bag in there. They start taking advantage of me. To the point of being very disrespectful, see me sweeping drop crumbs on the floor or throw trash down and say here’s some more. Mopping walk all over the wet Floor and “accidentally” spill something. Just the other day I had cleaned their room while they were in school I mean really good. Thought I’d surprise them. Folded clothes put ones that gang up on hanger pj’s folded in a pile underwear socks in a pile you know made piles of where each drawer they went into no confusion no Hassel, open pj drawer put the stack in move to next stack etc. Later that night I open closet door the 8 yr old had took all the clothes and threw them into the closet!?. I was infuriated because when asked why he would do that he says you cleaned everything else you should’ve finished it. I wanted to do what I wanted to do. Besides cleaning is your job. At that point I emptied every drawer in the floor as well as every toy box and said it will be waiting on you when you get home t9morrow from school. So I’m going to try this routine out. I get overwhelmed with 3 kids and having to do all the house duties. 8, 5, and 2 so it’s mess after mess. Never ends I’m always behind.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Cleaning kids’ rooms is definitely stressful for the parents. Add to that the way your son treated you and, yes, I completely sympathize with your frustration. And you DO sound frustrated! I’m reluctant to give parenting advice when someone didn’t ask for it, but maybe it’s time to take a break from trying to surprise your son since he’s not grateful for or appreciative of your efforts? Hand him a checklist, tell him that cleaning his room is his responsibility now, but you expect it to be done and done correctly. You should decide what consequences you want to attach to a room that’s not cleaned properly and be prepared to stick to your guns. Kids test limits — that’s kind of their job. Once they understand the limits are firm and consistent, they tend to fall in line. Best of luck and many hugs to you, Mama.

  15. Richa Choudhary says:

    This is a great post.i loved the steps mentioned but havent tried it. Will definitely come back once i try and succeed. But Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚ I am following you from Pinterest, please do check my profile πŸ™‚

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Thank you!

  16. This really helped.Do you have any for a bathroom or living room.

  17. We are lucky because my kids have fairly small rooms and after decluttering, a lot less stuff. But I do have to get onto teaching them how to dust, change sheets and vacuum though. This checklist is a great way to do that!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Thanks, Jane!

  18. Nicole Roy says:

    From what age should a child be able to do this? I have 6 year old twins and a 4 year old (and a new baby on the way). One of the twins is very messy and the other very organised. They share a room….if I asked them to do this one would contribute a lot more than the other!?! Is 6 too young? At the moment they are responsible for tidying up their clothes/toys, packing away folded washing and occasionally they make their beds in the morning!!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      First off, wow, being a mom of twins has got to be hard! I’m not a twin mom — I had a few years between kids — so I can’t honestly give you advice on the whole twinning thing. But I have had two six-year-olds (even if there was a gap between them) and mine were completely different in temperaments and cleanliness. I initially created this checklist for my oldest when she was 8, and she was the tidy one. My youngest didn’t start following it without supervision until he was 10.

      That said, you might want just to spend some time working together with BOTH of them to go through this. Weekly? Maybe not. That’s asking a lot out of a mom who’s already doing so much just managing twins. Monthly seems fair — but let THEM choose who does vacuuming, who does dusting, etc.

      But, as the Mom, make sure they’re doing an equal number of steps. That way neither twin winds up doing the other’s work and both benefit from having a clean room. (And, after all that work, I bet the Tidy One will know how to nag the Messy One into doing his/her share. Twins are the first form of peer pressure, after all.)

      Good luck to you, Nicole, and please check back in with future questions or to update us on your progress!

  19. This was perfect!!!!! Even I use this and it’s so helpful!!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m glad you like it!

  20. Leah Michelle Humerickhouse says:

    Is there any way to edit these checklist to personalize to my kids? Love these checklists

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Leah,

      Sorry, but I don’t have that kind of setup. πŸ™‚