Monday, January 10, 2011

RRR Room by Room- Playroom Deep Clean, or "Off With Their Heads"

I'm jumping to the playroom today because it is in desperate need of a cleaning. I'm only about halfway finished cleaning it up, but I plan on getting the kids involved with the rest, so blog break time.

Clean Side
When we were house shopping, we knew we wanted a basement with a playroom for the kids. We wanted a space where the kids could relax, be loud, and make a mess. The house we are in now has a great playroom, lots of space and light, away from the rest of the house so they can scream, wrestle, and just go crazy. My obstetrician told me when we had Boy 3 that we should pad the walls of one room, put a cage over the light, and  just let the boys go nuts in there. This playroom is about as close to that as we're going to get, and all of us love it.

The problem with the kids having their own space is that I am not around to supervise all the different things they get into. The kids "clean" the basement at least once a week, but really what they do is stuff and hide and scootch things around the room. Last week was even messier because I banned television and video games as part of No Impact Week. They were into everything. When I ventured into KidLand today to do a deep clean, I had to wade through Lego bits, random train tracks, and all sorts of board game shrapnel. Most girls with big brothers have decapitated Barbies, and our girls are no exception. They should make a series of dolls with the heads already off and save everyone the trouble. I can see it now, "Barbie Antoinette", "Barbie Queen of Scots"...ooh my repurpose wheels are turning...


What the crap does this have to do with RRR? Well, the lack of putting-away-ness of my children means that many board games, Lego sets, Nerf darts, Barbies, end up trashed. We have two new Lego board games the kids got for Christmas, and as I'm cleaning I'm finding bits of them all over the place. The chances of us being able to recreate what was originally in the box? Zilch, I betcha.

And the batteries...oh man.

So, I'm beginning by cleaning this room the way I clean everything:

  • Starting in the far corner of the room from the door.
  • Clean the room in rows from left to right, top to bottom
  • Sort things into piles as I go. Example: a Lego pile, a train track pile, a book pile, a pile of things that don't go in this room. 
  • Nothing stays where it doesn't belong. 
  • Once the whole room is in piles, figure out the best storage and then put them away
  • Dust
  • Wipe
  • Vaccuum
  • Beat the children if they don't keep it this way (Kidding.)
Dirty side

Like I said, I still have the other side of the room to deal with, but what I need to research now is finding ways to make it simple for the kids to put pieces away when they're finished. I could watch them every time they play with anything, but that would just make everyone unhappy. I've been to homes where the toys are all sorted by type and the kids all put them back where they came from...maybe I'm a bad role model. I've never been good at keeping things clean or organized, and I don't know how to create a system or motivation for my kids. Ideas?


  1. Woman... when you get that figured out, let me know!!! I have decided it's due to bad parent modeling. Husband and I are slobs by nature. We scream and yell and berate each other for being what we are. Like pointing out each others faults will make our own go away? psh.
    Part of me thinks that if we explain to our children that when you half-assedly put things away and all the pieces don't get put back in the box, our toy is ruined. it becomes junk and it's no longer fun and it's suddenly trash instead of toy. This strategy has yet to work with my almost 7yr old. As a side note, we battle with papers coming home that she doesn't want to throw away. I'll admit it- I've shown her part of an episode of "Hoarders" so she can see what will happen to our home if we never throw a doodle or picture away.
    Back to the post... where was I? Oh yeah. we are a mess too. It's something we battle just like you do and if I ever find a solution that works- even for a little while- I'll be sure to share with you.

  2. Yeah, it's beyond me. I did a deep clean in November, sorted it all, went through all the drawers & buckets. I showed the kids how much fun they could have when they knew where all their army guys were, or if they had all the pieces to the Nerf guns. It lasted about a week.

    I hate all the bazillions of pieces of plastic that stab my feet, end up in the trash, or get sucked up in the vacuum. There has to be a way.