Kids & Parenting

Ways to clean your room

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Messy teen bedroom
Learn how to go from this to a clean room -- and keep it that way
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These ways to clean your room help when mom or dad say TIDY UP!

I get it. I really do. Your room is your space and you think you should be able to keep it the way you want -- even if that means clothes on the floor and dishes stacked up on the bedside table. But your parents want you to keep it clean and tidy.

So who wins? If your room is a disaster area, neither of you. They'll be unhappy because they feel you're not taking care of the space and things they've provided. And you have to put up with endless nagging.

So what if I could show you simple ways to clean your room and organize your stuff that will keep the space your own, but also show your parents you're a responsible young adult who's earning new freedoms?

Ready to start? Here are six simple steps to a cleaner bedroom -- and a less-stressed you.

1) Pile up the clothes in one spot

Did I say pile? Yup! And the "why" is simple. If you're facing a couple of hours of sorting out the clean clothes from the dirty, and trying to put it all away, it's really easy to get overwhelmed and give up. But if you get just get all the clothes off the floor and the dressers and the bed, you can see a lot of progress in just a few minutes.

(By the way, this includes the floor of your closet! Yes, you have to get that clear too!)

2) Take out the trash - and everything else that doesn't belong

Now that the clothes are out of the way, the next step in cleaning your room is with the obvious trash and everything else that doesn't belong in a bedroom. Even the most die-hard defender of "my room is my space" will have to admit that old candy wrappers, soda cans, and last year's homework assignments don't add anything good to your bedroom.

Ditto for the used dishes, empty DVD cases, the dog's extra leash and anything else that really should live in another room. (The one exception is the clothes pile ... that will come later.)

The key to this step is to grab four boxes. Label one "Trash", the second "Leave" (as in things that need to leave for another room), the third "Give away" and the fourth "Papers to sort". 

Start in one corner, keep the boxes handy and start clearing. When it comes to papers, throw away the obvious trash, but don't spend time reading things and deciding what to keep. When in doubt. put papers into the "Papers to sort" box.

Move around the room, replacing full boxes with new ones when you need to. Don't forget to tackle your bookshelves, desktop and dressers. If your room is in really bad shape, this step can take a couple of days. Just keep working on it whenever you have a few minutes, and it will get done!

When you're done (or done for the day), take the trash out, put the give-away box in the car, and put the "Leave" box(es) in another area of the house.

3) Strip and make your bed

Something as simple as clean sheets and blankets on a bed can make all the difference in how your room feels (and yes, how it smells, too!)  If you need to wash your bed linens, now is the time to get that going. Throw them into the washer, and move onto step four.

As soon as the sheets, blankets and comforters are clean, grab them and make your bed. (Hint ... if you're still using your old Hannah Montana bedding, your new clean room might just motivate your parents to let you buy some new, more stylish bed linens!)

4) Tackle the clothes pile

Now it's time to turn to that clothes pile.  Grab a hamper or laundry basket and toss everything that's dirty into it. Then start to put away the clean clothes.

If your closet and dresser drawers are a mess, grab four more boxes and clean them out one at a time. Then put back what you're keeping. This is most-time consuming step, but it really pays off. Once you have your clothes sorted and organized, it's easier to keep them that way.

If you need more hangers, some closet organizers or a shoe tree to get everything under control, I suspect mom or dad would be more than willing to chip in and make it happen. After all, they're getting the cleaner bedroom they wanted you to have!

5) Sort those papers

This is a step that can be done over a couple of days. Keep a large wastebasket or another box handy for trash.

If your desk has a file drawer, buy or ask mom or dad to buy some expanding files or hanging  file folders to help you sort papers and make them easier to find. If you don't have a file drawer. a cardboard or plastic file box will work just fine. Use the file folders to keep it sorted, and remember to label the file folders are you go.

6) Clean the surfaces

Now that your floor, dresser, desk and other furniture are clear of trash, clothes, papers and things that should have been in other rooms, it's time to clean those surfaces.

Grab the vacuum and run that a couple of times (don't forget under the bed!). Dust furniture, window sills and woodwork. Even give your lamps and decorations a quick once-over with a microfiber dust cloth or duster tool.

Can this be the same room?

There you have it. Six simple steps, a pretty painless process and a room that can feel like all yours AND keep parents happy. Who knew there were such simple ways to clean your room, right?

Now that the room is done, maybe it's time to work on getting access to the car ...

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