Today is day 4 of Spring Cleaning Week here on Simple Mom. On Tuesday, we discussed some practical tips for refreshing the living room, kitchen, and outdoor living areas. So today, let’s chat about the bedrooms and the bathrooms.
My e-book prescribes a ten-day process of slower-paced spring cleaning, focusing on one area of the home per day. So if you were to work this system, you’d spend one day on your bathrooms, another day on your children’s rooms, and a separate day on your master bedroom.
These are often neglected areas, especially the master bedroom and bathroom. Where else do you toss your extra clutter at the last second before your guests ring the doorbell? And when it’s time for your routine cleaning, it’s easy to leave these more private areas for last when, after all, only you and your spouse see them.
Here are a few tips for each of these areas.
Photo by Mo Riza
• Use small, well-labeled, waterproof containers to house your travel toiletries, medicines, and other extra cosmetics. If they’re small, you’ll have less room to toss in “extra” toiletries you don’t really need, and you can keep each container more specific.
• Don’t forget to keep your medicine container out of reach from your kiddos.
• If your linens are housed in the bathroom, keep only the essentials at arm’s length. I recommend having only one bath towel, hand towel, and washcloth per person at eye level, and keeping the rest a few shelves above or somewhere else out of sight. There will be less temptation to constantly break out a new towel, which adds to the laundry. Besides, if you launder once per week anyway, your towels should mostly be continually useable.
• Keep your sheet sets together either by tying the flat, fitted, and pillowcases together with ribbon, or simply by keeping the sheets inside the pillowcase. Safety pin a label indicating to which bed they belong, if it’s difficult to tell by its color.
• Don’t have anything extra in your bathroom that you don’t need right there. it’s easy to toss items under the counter and totally forget they exist. This includes little hotel freebies — you really don’t need them (a simple set of empty travel-sized containers does the trick).
Photo by Heidi of Mt. Hope Chronicles
• Have your kids be involved in the process of spring cleaning their rooms. It becomes a family affair, instead of “Mom going to town again.” It will also teach them first-hand the value of regular purging, refreshing, and organizing.
• Organize their clothing by size, then by season. If they’ve completely outgrown some clothes, but have a younger sibling that will use them down the road (or you might add a sibling down the road), label them by gender, age, and possibly season. Something like “girl, 18-24 months, summer” works well. I also prefer smaller boxes to large, cumbersome ones. Those can get heavy, and it’s easier to rotate the smaller boxes in and out.
• Keep out of season or not-quite-fitting clothes out of the current circulation, but within easy reach. If you’ve got a shelf near the top of the closet, that’s a perfect spot for these boxes.
• Consider lowering or adding a dowel rod for hanging clothes more at your little one’s level. It will encourage them to take care of their own clothing.
• Use simple containers to house toys, and label them well so that the kids know where they go (ours have a photo of the toys that go inside, along with a description of that type of toy — for example, a photo of play food and dishes with “kitchen stuff” written underneath).
• Use those containers as your limit for toys — you can only keep what can fit. Anything else either needs to be donated, sold, or put out of sight to be rotated with the current selection in a few months.
• Let your kids be involved in defining what’s “useful or beautiful” during the decluttering phase. You may not love the rock collection lining the window sill, but it might be really important to your little boy. You never know.
Photo by back garage
• Store only a minimal amount of things in here. All that’s really “needed” are your bed, things that go near your bed (such as a book or lamp on a nightstand), and your closet items.
• Like your children’s toys, use your closet as the barometer for how many clothes and accessories you own. You can’t defy the laws of physics and have 15 pairs of jeans fit in six square inches.
• If you store items under the bed, use containers with covers — this area is a dust bunny magnet, so if it’s important enough to keep, it’s important enough to keep well.
• Involve your husband in decorating the room, even if you don’t think he’ll care. I mean, he may not, but it just might make his day if you ask. He may not love sleeping in a Laura Ashley garden, so if that’s your style, you might need to compromise on some color choices, or perhaps on what you hang on the wall.
For more tips on these areas, along with most of the rest of your house, check out my e-book, Spring Cleaning for Normal People.
What tips do you have for decluttering, cleaning, or organizing these spaces in your home?