Talk about a chore! Deep cleaning the children’s bedroom was a monstrous task. It left me exhausted, sweaty, covered in dust and made my head spin.

While all three of the girls spent a week with Grandma, I tackled their bedrooms. Primary focus was on the shared room of the younger two girls. My goal was to prove they do have a bedroom floor, downsize the amount of clutter and attempt to organize things.

Step one: the dresser. One drawer at a time, I emptied, sorted, folded and discarded. Then it was the clothes in the closet. All of this resulted in two bags of clothing heading to the thrift store. No point in keeping items that neither of them can fit into any longer.

Then the beds were stripped and everything was washed and dried. They no longer have six blankets and their beds. Why do children think they need so many blankets? It is summer time. My children toss them on the floor each night due to the heat.

Then it was the toys. This part took me five hours! Sorting through all of their toys was daunting. I tossed out broken toys, bagged up toys they have not played with since we moved here more than a year ago, bagged up baby toys that have sat untouched in the closet and I proved that almost all of their toys will fit into the toy bin. And yes! They do have a floor!!!

Since they have returned home, they are not happy with the requirement of keeping toys picked up. It is a nightly routine now that I go in the room with them and make sure everything is picked up-not shoved under the bed. They do not like putting away their toys, but this is a part of life. Q- is especially having tantrums about this. Welcome to the world of a 3 year old. A- has told me that we should get rid of more toys so cleaning up is easier and faster. We are working on another bag of toys to be donated now.

All of this is part of my attempts to become more organized and to declutter. My frustration with the mess was causing arguments between all of us. The simple truth of the matter is that mess was to large for such young children to tackle. We all needed a break. Sending them to Grandma’s gave them time to have fun, while I dove straight into the worse part of the mess. Now it is easier for A- to help out and she is no longer fighting me as much. It used to take all day for her to make the smallest dent in the toys. Now she can do her share in less than 20 minutes each night.

Q- is young and is testing her limits. Learning to pick up is part of growing. A- struggles with her ability to focus on one task at a time. ADHD makes even simple chores a challenge for her. The slightest distraction prevents her from accomplishing any task. It is a work in progress for the entire family. J- has never been much for helping the girls to clean their rooms. He believes they can do it themselves or I can do it for them. Now he has the choice most evenings of helping them clean up for 20 minutes or cleaning the kitchen. He balks at both, but is getting better at helping.

Even I will admit that this was only round one. Before school starts, we will have to do another deep clean and organize of the room. The hope is that next time it will be easier and less time consuming.

Question: How do other families deal with the clutter of toys? Any tips for organization?