This story was produced in partnership with Swiffer.
Scattered blocks, splattered paints, disassembled board games with a million pieces everywhere — the disaster kids can unleash in one afternoon of play is, if nothing else, impressive. It feels like you finally finish putting everything away, only to turn around and discover the room has been turned upside-down again.
This never-ending cycle is something parents need to deal with, but it’s also something they can prepare for. Training your kids in the art of clean-up is one thing, but staying ahead of the mess completely requires the right tools, a bit of hardware, and a few pointed hacks to clear the floor quickly, before playroom disaster strikes again.
Make a Toy Timeout Bin
First things first, getting your 4-, 5-, or 6-year-old ball of energy to pick up the room, and to do it well, is tough. Their idea of cleaning up is usually to put the toy in hand away and forget about the rest of the plastic bits strewn across the floor. There’s a very simple solution: The “Toy Timeout” bin. If a parent finds a toy lying around after clean-up time, simply pick them up and put them in the bin. When they want them back? They have to do one (simple) chore of your choosing. It’s an easy — and fair — way to drive home the importance of cleaning for your kids.
Improve Your Reach
High shelves are great for storing less-used objects. For cleaning, not so much. Make your life easier with the Swiffer Dusters Heavy Duty Super Extender, designed to reach impossible spots with its 6-foot-long extension and flexible swivel head. The ergonomic construction and proprietary ‘Trap + Lock’ technology allows you to trap three times more dust and allergens than a traditional feather duster.
Create a Self-Packing Playmat
Imagine making all your children’s toys disappear with the pull of a string. It can be done. To start, grab an old blanket or quilt that can be used as a playmat. Then, make a few modifications, as follows:
- Purchase a grommet/eyelet packet that include rings and a setter.
- Punch a hole in the edge of the fabric with the pointy end of your scissors.
- Position male and female grommet on either side of the fabric hole.
- Place setter over the top; hit with hammer to set the rings.
- Repeat, leaving about a foot between grommets as you work around the edge of the mat.
- Thread a narrow rope through grommets.
Voila! You now have a play area that can be scooped up in one move, by pulling the cord and drawing the blanket closed like a satchel, toys still inside. The bag of toys can then easily be placed into a storage bin.
Organize Shelf Space
Why is it that all playrooms seem to suffer from shelf-itis: the sorry condition wherein shelf space is overrun with a random assortment of puzzle pieces, half-finished arts-and-crafts projects, boardgame widgets, and other unrelated toys? You could go through each item one by one and try to find it a happy home in the playroom. Or, you can take a shortcut and use lightweight cloth storage bins to separate shelf contents into general categories (action figures; puzzles; game pieces, etc). The bins can be stacked on the floor or suspended beneath the shelf via small hook mounts, freeing up the shelf for other items.
Quick Cleaning for Empty Floors
A toy-free floor is your cue to go to work cleaning — fast — before the clutter reappears. The Swiffer WetJet Wood Floor Starter Kit has everything you need to remove dirt in a single motion. The device’s soft microfiber-like pads are gentle on wood surfaces, and they are designed with a built-in strip that traps dirt so it won’t get pushed around the floor as you mop. Plus Swiffer’s unique dual-nozzle sprayer coats the floor evenly for optimal results, and the mop’s flexible swivel head allows you to reach spots a traditional mop can’t access.
Make Your Furniture Multitask
Whether or not your playroom is small, you will need ample storage. Meaning, everything in the playroom that could possibly double as storage, should. That padded seat or ottoman? Make sure it has a removable top that doubles as a storage bin. The toy bin? It should be the right size to serve as a bench for your kids. There’s no better way to guarantee a clean space than to have enough storage.
Bending over to pick up small items like crayons and game pieces is a tedious pain. Instead, use a garden weasel — a device originally created to round up tree nuts from the yard — to collect odds and ends off the playroom floor. Better yet, get your kids to do it: They’ll love the game-like feeling of trapping toys in the wire netting. Then you can follow behind them with your Swiffer WetJet Wood and walk away from a sparkling clean playroom in minutes.