Aug
29
2012

Kids Desk (and Whole Room) Clean Up!

8 comments

Kids Desk Clean Out!

I must admit- I look forward to the week before school all year long…. because it brings with it the annual “Great Desk Clean Out” event at our house! For the other 51 weeks of the year, I shudder as I watch my kids pack into the nooks and crannies of their desk cubbies and drawers- stacks of school papers, folded fortune tellers and table footballs, patches and buttons, and little trinkets collected as sporting events and birthday parties, piles of school Valentines and notes from friends. My kids are like junior hoarders-in-training… saving every bit and scrap of stuff that comes their way, not wanting to part with any of it “just in case.”

Its time for a great desk clean out Kids Desk (and Whole Room) Clean Up!

But by the end of the summer, even they are starting to ask me how soon we might be able to work together to clean up their desks (and of course by this point, their belongings are overflowing to their bookcases and bins throughout their shared rooms!), and when I announce that “today is their day” I am actually met by fist-pumps rather than the eye-rolling that I might expect! As my kids are getting older, they are beginning to appreciate and understand how nice it is to have an organized space to work in, and to be able to find the things that they are looking for when they want them. And I think that it is important to teach our kids how to clean up and organize a cluttered and messy space. So here is how I do it…

Pick an area to start!

I prefer to start with bookshelves and bins. First empty the area (shelf or bin) and sort the contents. Decide what to purge- separating it into piles of trash, charity donations, and items to pass along to siblings. I also use one of our laundry baskets to put items into that belong in other rooms- and I return those items later after I have cleaned out ALL of the kids rooms. Everything that is left is what we intend to keep- so those items are sorted by category so that like items can be grouped together into bins or containers.

Let the Child Decide What Stays and What Goes

If you want to teach your child how to de-clutter, you are going to have to relinguish the power to them to decide what stays and what goes. (Please note- this may not work for kids under the age of 6 or 7!) If you secretly clean out your child’s desk while they are at school one day- and purge half of their stuff…. you are not teaching them how to make these kinds of decisions on their own, and even worse- they might actually want to hang on to even more stuff because you are making them afraid that one day they will walk into their room and their belongings will have just disappeared!

Once you’ve cleared out the storage spaces, tackle the desk!

Once I have cleaned out the bins and my child and I have decided what will be stored in each bin, it is so much easier to tackle the mess that is the desk! Start at the top and work your way down the left side of the desk and then over to the right. Touch every single item on the desk and decide it it stays or goes, and if it stays- decide where it stays. In many cases, we were able to consolidate papers and other “important treasures” into the right bin (favorite rocks, baseball cards, marbles, important papers, etc) and the desk was alleviated of 90% of its contents rather quickly.

Admire your accomplishment!

Mission Accomplished Kids Desk (and Whole Room) Clean Up!

My kids are so proud of how great their room looks, and surprised that it only took us a few hours to complete the job. And they actually feel pretty motivated to keep their desks and room this clean! (Um yeah- I might have heard this before….)

Do any of you like to tackle the kids bedrooms the week before school starts? Or I am just the only (crazy) one?

Sharons Signture Kids Desk (and Whole Room) Clean Up!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Barb
Twitter: www.twitter.com/bjac68
August 29, 2012 at 7:13 am

I did tackle my boys bedroom. A closet that hadn’t been cleaned for a few year. eek! Feels so good to get it done. Now if my energy can keep up to do the rest of the house. Have a great day!
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2 Sharon
Twitter: sharonmomof6
August 29, 2012 at 7:20 am

I have 2 rooms down and intend to tackle the 3rd kids’ bedroom this morning! Next up on Thursday: the playroom! Boy it is going to feel great when all of this is done! :)

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3 Erin {Home Everyday} August 29, 2012 at 8:52 am

Beginning of school around here is pretty similar. I used to teach, and once the school year started my free time was very limited, so I would do SPRING CLEANING all over the house. Every closet, shelf, cabinet, drawer would be organized, and then I would deep clean the entire house. Windows, blinds, fans, baseboards, etc. I’ve kept the “tradition” alive around here, and so far the kids don’t mind. They are excited they are getting ready for school!
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4 Sharon
Twitter: sharonmomof6
August 29, 2012 at 9:30 am

Okay let’s not get all CRAZY here Erin! Blinds, fans, and baseboards too? You are making me feel like a slacker! :)

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5 Kris C. August 29, 2012 at 7:38 pm

I have to admit, I purge a lot when they’re at school (ages 9 and 7), but I do include them in the process often (I’m sort of a purge-as-you-go person), and I encourage and praise them, even when all they can bear to part with at the time is one old broken kids’ meal toy.

By the way, I love your kids’ desks, especially the size and all the cubbies. Can you share where you got them?

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6 Sharon
Twitter: sharonmomof6
August 31, 2012 at 7:11 am

The desks shown in the picture were from Pottery Barn kids. But I have to tell you…. we purchased our next four desks from Target, and they are every bit as good and sturdy and have just as nice of a finish. I love having the extended shelf with the cubbies, we have these for all 6 of the kids desks, and it is so nice for storing and displaying all of their treasures! They really love having their desks in their rooms…. but most of their school homework still happens at the kitchen table!

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7 Rachel
Twitter: mastercareclean
September 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm

I do a lot more purging and cleaning out of rooms at the beginning of summer, when they bring home all of their stuff from school. I give them each a small plastic bin for items they want to keep. and a garbage bag. They make the decision if the items are worth keeping (ie, they would like to look at it again) or throw them away. They are getting really good at throwing things out!
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