Kids don’t know how to clean their rooms, no matter how many times they’ve watched or helped you do it.
Does this sound familiar? You tell your kids to clean their rooms. After a while, they say it’s clean. You check, but their room looks no different—it might even look worse. The problem is that kids do not know what cleaning involves, no matter how many times they’ve watched you do it. In their minds, putting away a few toys and pulling the bedspread over rumpled sheets is enough. You know it takes more than that, though.
Before You Begin
It’s best to go through this cleaning checklist with your child for the first time or two. You can answer questions and see if any steps are too hard. After you’ve used the checklist together twice, let them try cleaning their room independently, but pop in a few times in case they’re stuck. Before long, your child will clean their room unsupervised, and you can spend your time doing something you enjoy.
Steps to Clean a Kid’s Bedroom
How long it takes to clean a child’s bedroom varies with how messy it is. You may want first declutter toys, so there’s less to deal with. After that, it can take a couple of hours for the first time if it’s been a wreck for a while. But the more often they clean their room, the quicker it is to do.
Equipment and Materials
- Bags for trash
- Boxes for items to donate
- Laundry basket for things that belong elsewhere
- Cleaning rags or microfiber cloths
- Non-toxic DIY furniture polish
- DIY Glass cleaner
- Fresh bedsheets and pillowcases
- A vacuum cleaner with attachments
Step 1. Pick up trash.
Work to the right from the door. Pick up all trash and put it in the bag. Open drawers and look for stuff to throw away. Once you’ve gone around the room, look under the bed and in the closet. Set the bag outside the bedroom door for now.
Step 2. Find things that belong elsewhere in your home.
Use the laundry basket to collect things like dishes, towels, and other items that go somewhere else in your home. Working in the same order, start at the door and move to the right, then look under the bed and in the closet. Leave the basket outside the bedroom door, too.
Step 3. Clear the floor.
It’s hard to clean a room if there’s stuff all over the floor. So, pick up toys and put them away. Add toys that are never played with and outgrown toys to the donation box. Next, pick up dirty clothes and put them in the hamper. Put clean clothes and shoes in the closet.
Step 4. Tidy the flat surfaces.
Declutter and tidy the dresser top, desk, nightstand, and shelves. Continue throwing away trash or adding items to the donation box as you find them. For the things you decide to leave sitting out, make sure they’re in a spot which makes sense. It helps to think of the bedroom as being a group of activity zones. The desk is for schoolwork and art, for example. Jewelry, baseball hats, and brushes or combs go on or in the dresser. The nightstand is for things needed before, during, or immediately after getting into bed. Keeping things in their zones helps keep a room tidy.
Step 5. Dust and then polish furniture.
Use a damp cleaning rag to wipe dust off of surfaces and rinse it often. A damp cloth works best to remove dust from your home because it holds onto dirt that a dry cloth would scatter. If you want to polish furniture, do so after dusting and use a dry cloth sprayed with furniture polish.
Step 6. Clean the glass surfaces.
Use a clean, dry cloth and window spray on glass surfaces. Switch to a fresh cloth if the one you’re using begins to feel damp or you’ll leave streaks. Work your way around the room, starting at the door and clean any picture fronts, glass decor, and mirrors.
Step 7. Change the bed.
Pull off the bed cover, sheets, and pillowcases. Make the bed with fresh linens and put the used ones outside the door. Don’t add too many pillows or stuffed animals or it will take longer to make the bed every morning, an essential daily task for a tidy-looking room.
Step 8. Vacuum the floor.
Vacuuming is best for both carpets and hard floors because it removes more dust from your home. Don’t leave small objects on the floor, they can damage your machine. To vacuum a bedroom, start at the door and work to the left, moving the vacuum slowly in overlapping strokes. If you have carpet, turn at a right angle and go over the floor again so you’re properly vacuuming it.
Step 9. Finishing touches.
Take your dirty sheets to the laundry room. Take the trash to the garbage can. Put away things that belong elsewhere in your home and stick the donation box in the car for a charity drop off next time you’re out of the house.
How Often Should Kids Clean Their Rooms?
Toddlers thrive on routines, so picking up toys daily before bed or while playing a cleaning game helps them learn to take care of their things. For older kids, weekly bedroom cleaning keeps their rooms tidy while teaching them good life habits. But parenting experts recommend ignoring teenagers’ messy rooms as long as they don’t pose a health issue.