What Makes You Happy? Special Edition: I Cleaned My Son’s Room!
This was a huge project, and I wanted to show you how I accomplished it step at a time. I started on a Wednesday and I took the day off to really focus.
This room had basically never been unpacked properly, and we ended up setting Kiddo up in the room next door to this one, neglecting this space.
I was taught to push everything back from one corner of the room and work to increase the cleared space slowly but surely. Anything you’re not ready to tackle yet goes into the mound of mess to figure out later.
So as you can see I’ve scooted the mess into a corner, and while it’s pretty big, with less than an hour of work so far, it marks the line between the clear space and the unclear space.
This is Kiddo’s old bedframe, not currently in use, tipped up on one end to take up less space.
Here is the closet where I’ve started designating where a few things go. In the box with the lamp I’m putting all the cords and chargers I find. In a clear plastic box in the top of the closet I’m placing all the little things that can be removed from the room, like fridge magnets.
Once you’ve cleared some space, start to separate items by category. You can use boxes or bags or whatever you have on hand to act as temporary holders for the various categories. My son has a lot of Nerf gun stuff, so I knew that’d be one category of stuff for his room.
While you’re going through stuff, you’ll need to be deciding for each item whether it is give away (donate), toss (trash/recycle) or keep. Kiddo has gotten older since the last time we did a big purge, so I knew I’d be able to donate anything he considers “baby toys,” as well as clothes that no longer fit. That hot orange poster tube was something I was going to donate but when my son saw me cleaning and noticed it, he mentioned how much he likes it. Hold onto stuff that makes your kid smile. 🙂
And you can already tell a difference! The messy section of the room is being whittled away. Any containers that are obviously full of mismatched items I dump out so I can sort through what’s in them. If a container has already been sorted (from last time) I just set it aside.
My son has 2 main kinds of Legos he plays with: traditional building block style, and Hero Factory robot style. The robot style Legos are different because they snap into place with a ball-joint. So I started a box for each kind. I also have a bag for Transformers, and a bag for Hex Bugs.
Feel free to burn a candle, play music, drink caffeine, and do whatever you need to do for you!
Watch how these two boxes fill up over time…
I knew there’d be a lot of Star Wars toys, so I put a big box in the corner. If you toss and hit the wall, it’ll probably still drop in!
For all the little tiny stuff I wasn’t sure what to do with yet, I set out a few little things right in front of me. Hubby said it looked like some kind of weird shrine.
You can see areas getting cleaner all the time. When a donate bag filled up, I just put it in my car to drop off.
And look at how small (in comparison) the mess is here! I took some time in the afternoon to work on some other non-cleaning projects and returned in the evening. Make sure to take breaks!
I’ve been back at it about an hour or so and take a look at that ever-shrinking pile. I physically handle every single object in the room, no matter how tiny.
Filling up nicely…
I put my son to work wiping out all the nicer containers we’d put to use later.
The next morning I was inspired to do a little morning cleaning before work. (I woke up early and couldn’t fall back asleep.)
That’s my “weird little shrine.” It has stuff like stickers, styluses, and Game Boy games.
I moved the two Lego boxes to be directly behind me as I faced off the pile.
Can you believe how much is already gone!?
So I wouldn’t mix it up with the donate bags hanging on the door, I hung the trash bag up over here.
The closet is mainly the same. I stashed a bunch of plastic and paper grocery sacks in the lamp box for when I need another.
Donate bags out of the room, poster tube kept.
My week got busy, so it was a few days until I made it back to this project. I worked Saturday, but I had Sunday off to put in some daytime hours.
You can see I’m using Ziploc baggies for smaller categories of objects I’m sorting.
It was a big accomplishment to be able to bring the dresser back into the room from next door.
I’m really starting to sort items and objects according to content, and the mess pile has been whittled to a few mess boxes.
I go through them one at a time–pink, green, cardboard, cardboard.
Legos in 2 boxes, some big Star Wars items.
That throw-to box in the corner is Star Wars, too.
Eventually I move that dining chair out of the room. Originally it was for a desk set up that’s no longer kept in the bedroom.
Don’t be scared even though it looks messy–most of this stuff has been gone through. That darker green container, for example, is full of Lincoln Logs for my niece and nephew.
Can you believe with all the mess there was actually a clean pillow hidden in there? I know, I’m shocked too.
Can you see all the sorting I’m doing? Yay!
One of the big “keep” categories was books, and I knew I’d need to decide on a bookshelf for his room, too.
The more I clear, the more I can really see what’s done and what’s left. I can unpack the messy, miscellaneous boxes. And I can also be pleasantly surprised whenever I find something I sorted last time that didn’t get mixed up!
I was on a roll, so I kept at it. Here you can see the shelf I put in, some of those good containers put to good use.
The room has actually progressed to the point that I can start decorating it! I’m pretty excited about that. Kiddo is really into Astronomy, so there will be an outer space theme for sure.
The next night after work I’m at it again. Here I’m transitioning the Legos from cardboard boxes to nicer containers. (That small one is one I’m sorting through.)
It may look like I’m creating more mess but I promise I’m not. I’m spreading out to see what’s what, so I can set aside completely the stuff that’s all done.
These are some of the containers of mixed up stuff I’ve conquered.
So as you can see the big red container has finally been moved out of the closet because I’m ready to put it to use. Since my son’s Star Wars toys are the biggest and bulkiest, and there’s a lot of them, I decided to use the red treasure chest to store them.
Planets are going up on the walls!
Legos are fully transitioned to their new homes, and you can kind of see the myriad of Ziploc baggies.
Does that shelf look fantastic, or what! I used all but one of the shelves for books–that one with the cloth fabric drawer is school supplies.
Not perfect yet but you can definitely see where I’m going with this! Never be without your trusty Lysol wipes.
I finally have another day-time day off to work on the room, and I put it to good use. Here’s the finished closet with some terrific, whimsical furniture-safe stickers.
And since my son loves science, I did a top border of the Periodic Elements, which I picked up at the Knowledge Tree on University.
From the same store I got the scientific process: ask a question, collect data, form a hypothesis…
And this is another set of the planets in our solar system, but this one is on the ceiling, and it glows in the dark.
Just a last few touches. A poster. Plugging in the radio.
Here’s a panorama of the walls.
You can kind of see the glow in the dark stars on the ceiling.
The glow in the dark planets.
Star Wars calendar on clearance at Kroger!
And the closet.
The new bunky board and mattress pad arrived and we were able to make the finishing touches to the bed and room. Ta Da!
I think there were two best parts to this project: my son’s happiness when he saw the result, and my happiness when I make him do a quick tidy each morning to prevent it from ever going back to the way it was. PHEW.