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Spring Cleaning Week: the bedrooms and bathrooms

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.

But bedrooms need to be sacred. They need to be a haven and a respite from the rest of the world — and it’s much easier to enjoy them this way when they’re decluttered, cleaned, and organized.

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).

Children’s Bedrooms

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.

Master Bedroom

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?

Reading Time:

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  1. Simple in France

    I like to clean out my bathroom cabinets once a month–taking a look at anything we don’t need, and wiping down dust. I have a separate (organized) box for extras in a less-convenient location and I make sure my husband know where it is–that way, he doesn’t buy more of what we already have.

    As for bedrooms, I like to keep things very sparse and pack away clothes that are not in season.
    .-= Simple in France´s last blog ..Do you wish you spoke any other languages? =-.

  2. Tina @ Ride On Toys

    What a great idea to wrap the sheet sets with a ribbon. I like things to look pretty and what a fun way to keep them organized and stylish in their space!
    .-= Tina @ Ride On Toys´s last blog ..The Razor Siege Caster Scooter =-.

  3. Laura

    Right after I post this comment I’m off to clean the bathrooms! I will be honest and say that they need a good cleaning DREADFULLY. Should be fun. 🙂
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Specialization is for insects. =-.

  4. Alisha

    Thanks for this. My bedroom always takes the brunt of the unfinished projects, unfinished laundry, and acts as a storage unit for the living room clutter when we have unexpected company. I need to get away from this! I want my room to be my husband’s and my haven. I’m going to work on this today!

    AND bless your boots for the Kids’ room organizing!!! I have 3 sons who share a room and holy cats! 3 kids + 1 room = unholy mess! I have tried to cull it down, but it still looks heinous. Definitely going to try the “if it doesn’t fit, get rid of it” rule. Thanks!!!

  5. Trina

    You hit the nail squarely on the head regarding the master bed/bath — it is always last on my list! Recently, we’ve banished a lot of things from our bedroom, including laptops, ironing board, and work files. We’ve also placed a basket for each of us to drop our daily clutter (receipts, change from pockets, etc.), which we then empty out and sort at the end of the week. It’s a small start, but it’s working thus far.
    .-= Trina´s last blog ..Mastering Leftovers: Black Bean Soup =-.

  6. mamaTAVE

    You are so right about the under-the-bed dust bunnies… good grief!

    Also, I just blogged about an interesting “involve husband in decorating” moment. I had no idea. 😉

  7. Anna

    Keeping the bedroom peaceful is so important. Also, keeping the bathroom decluttered really cuts down on stress. Great tips!
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..Viewing motherhood as a joy, not a burden =-.

  8. Tamra

    Oh I SOOoooooOoo need to put you in touch with my girlfriend in Alabama who does all of what you say – I actually took pictures of her closets, the drawers in her kitchen, her pantry, and Yes…. even the dirty dishes in her dishwasher look, um… organized. I loved this blogpost. Thank you.

  9. Nancy

    I have years worth of hand-me-downs, thanks to my older sisters. I find though, that my daughter wears the same clothes over and over again, so most of the clothes stay in their boxes or bags. I can’t bring myself to give them to the Salvation Army or use ThredUp to get rid of them. Guilt, maybe? But these hand-me-downs are taking over my bedroom–we have a one-bedroom apartment– they are under the crib and under our bed.
    I need someone to tell me that it’s okay to get rid some of the clothes!

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