A photo of a boy vacuuming under his bed with a kids room cleaning checklist superimposed on one corner

Your Kids’ Bedroom Cleaning Checklist: Teaching, Not Trauma

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Have you ever asked your kids to clean their rooms but, when you check, it looks no different? And maybe you even found them in tears?

I created this cleaning checklist for kids to clean their rooms to help them learn how to clean without the trauma and drama.

Why Kids Need Checklists for Cleaning

We all know adults who have no idea where to begin cleaning a messy room, even if they’ve done it a hundred times before. Kids feel the same, but without all those successes behind them.

But, when kids follow a checklist to clean their rooms, they don’t feel as overwhelmed. They know what steps to take, and where they are in the process. With every step they complete, they feel more capable and confident.

That’s why I’m such a fan of using printable checklists myself: so I never have to worry about forgetting a step. Plus, crossing things off a list feels awesome.

Introducing Kids to the Checklist

If you have younger kids, you’ll want to only give them some of the tasks on the list while you do the rest. You’re the expert on your kids, so I’m leaving that part entirely up to you.

As they get older, let them take over more of the checklist until they can do it independently. Or, if they’re old enough to read and have been doing age-appropriate chores, you may be able to print up the checklist and turn them loose to clean.

That’s when the second half of your life begins!

How to Clean a Kid’s Bedroom (For Kids)

The first step to cleaning any room is gathering the supplies and materials needed. You need containers for trash, clutter, and donations, plus microfiber cleaning cloths, furniture polish, glass cleaner, a fresh set of sheets and a vacuum.

Step 1: Pick up all the trash.

One reason cleaning feels overwhelming is because it’s hard to see all the different parts that make up a mess.

Old homework, empty containers, and broken stuff you don’t play can all make your room look messy. So, the first step is shoving those things into the trash bag.

Step 2: Gather things that don’t belong in your room.

Everyone winds up with things in their room that ought to go somewhere else. Empty water bottles and dishes belong in the kitchen, for example, not your bedroom.

So the next step is putting all the things that shouldn’t be in your room into an empty box. Why not put them away now?

Because we don’t want to get distracted from cleaning by deciding to have a snack when we’re in the kitchen. (Or maybe that’s just me?)

Get the Step-by-Step Checklist Sent to You

Step 3: Clear things off the floor.

The floor is usually the biggest surface in any room. When it’s a mess, the whole room looks messier. So, the next step on the bedroom cleaning checklist gets your floor clear:

  • Put dirty clothes in your laundry hamper.
  • Put away clean clothes and shoes.
  • Look around for any toys or things you don’t want anymore. Put those in a different box to give away when you’re done.

Did You Know?

The fewer unused toys and other stuff you have sitting around your room, the easier it is to clean.

Step 4: Tidy the flat surfaces.

Now, the only things sitting out should be stuff that belongs in your room. But just because it belongs there doesn’t mean it needs to be sitting out.

So, move things to where you usually use them. We call these “storage zones.”

• Your desk: This is where school and art supplies go, since it’s where you work on homework and projects.

• Your dresser: This is where you’d put things you need when getting dressed. (But you probably figured that out from the name.)

• Your nightstand: This is where you keep stuff you need at bedtime. Your retainer case, tissues, maybe a flashlight for reading under the sheets.

Are there other zones you’ve already been using in your room? Maybe a play zone near your toy box or a gaming zone? Putting things away in their zones helps keep your room tidy.

Did You Know?

Putting each thing back in its zone right away takes less time than cleaning your room later.

Step 5: Dust and then polish the furniture.

Now you’ve got the surfaces cleared off and things are looking nice! It’s time to get rid of the dirt and dust.

For this, we use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe the furniture. Be sure to rinse it now and then so you aren’t spreading around dirt.

If you want to polish your furniture, wait until it’s dry. Then, spray the cloth—not the furniture—and wipe the polish on evenly.

Pro Tip

A damp cloth does a better job dusting because it holds onto dirt that a dry cloth would scatter.

Step 6: Make the glass surfaces sparkle.

Sparkling glass makes your room look super clean. So, grab a fresh microfiber cloth—we don’t want to create streaks.

Then, just as you did with the furniture polish, spray the cloth and use that to wipe the surface.

Some places you’ll want to polish are the fronts of framed pictures and your mirror. If you have shiny doorknobs, get those too.

Step 7: Change the sheets.

You are so close to done! You still need clean sheets, though. We left them on the bed to this point to protect your mattress from dust. But now it’s time to pull off your covers, sheets and pillowcases.

Then put on fresh ones and make your bed. Smooth the top blanket and straighten your pillows so everyone can see you’ve done a good job. Because you have!

Step 8: Vacuum the floor.

Time to get the floor clean. Take another look around, including under your bed, and make sure there’s nothing small like coins or Lego on the floor. Those kinds of things can ruin a vacuum.

Now, start across the room, vacuum slowly, and work your way out the door. Don’t forget to vacuum under your bed, too! (You might need an adult’s help to change the attachments for that part.)

Step 9: Finish up!

Ready to wrap things up?

  • Take your used sheets to the laundry room.
  • Put the trash bag in the garbage can.
  • Put away things that didn’t belong in your room.
  • Talk to an adult the box of things you want to give away.

And give yourself a high five for a job well done. Now, let’s talk about other chores kids can do.

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32 Comments

  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. 🙂

    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… 😉

    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.

  3. 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

  4. 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. Mini Clean says:

      I totally agree with you.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m glad you like it, Susan!

  5. 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!

  6. Chantelle 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!

  7. 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!

  8. What a great checklist! We are always struggling to keep my 9 year old’s room clean! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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 🙂

    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!

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

  13. 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!

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

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m glad you like it!

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