Real-Life Playroom Cleanup Tips

We all love those Insta-perfect playroom inspiration photos… but no playroom really stays that beautifully tidy for long! Your children’s play area might not be Pinterest-perfect all the time, but some general tidiness and toy organization means more room for playtime fun (and less stress for everyone). 

To get some tips on getting (and keeping) a real-life playroom clean and organized, we turned to blogger Becky of Moscato & Messy Buns. This Florida mama of two beautiful boys is as good at staying organized as she is at keeping it real! Check her out on Instagram @moscatoandmessybuns — and keep reading to check out her answers to our burning questions about how to keep a playroom clean. 

My kids have been home for a year and my playroom shows it. It's overwhelming! Where do I start?

I would start by separating toys into categories so you can take inventory of what you are working with. Here’s how I like to keep things separated for my boys:

  1. Building toys like blocks, magnetic tiles and Lego. 
  2. Cars, trucks and trains
  3. Puzzles and board games
  4. Imaginary play like play food, doctor kit, etc. 
  5. Books
  6. Arts and crafts

What's the best way to weed out unused toys without causing a meltdown?

Include your kiddos in the playroom purge by having them help!  Talk about how the toys they’ve outgrown will be donated to less fortunate kids who might not have any at all. Encouraging them to take part will help them to understand that they’re not only doing a good deed for someone else, but they’ll also get to have a say in what to do with the space that has opened up in their playroom.

(Psst: Need more help figuring out how to downsize your children’s toys? We really enjoyed this post from Lucie’s List that gets into expert playroom decluttering — not just how to do it, but the benefits of decluttering and how to avoid ending up with too much kid stuff in the first place!)

What are some of your favorite storage containers/furniture items to help keep toys tidy?

We have a Cameron wall storage system from Pottery Barn Kids that I love! Since they’re customizable, I chose a combination of cabinets, drawers and cubbies. I keep small items like cars and trains in canvas totes in the cubbies, books and board games in the cabinets and larger toys in the drawers.  It keeps things out of sight and organized so my kids know where everything is and where to return it to when they’re done playing with it.

It seems like the really big toys and the really tiny toys are the hardest to keep neat. What has worked for you?

I think organizing by toy type is key to keeping neat. Small items should go in baskets, buckets or bins so they can dump them out and throw them back in easily.  Consider having a “parking lot” area for bigger toys. My boys have all of their trucks in a designated spot so they know where to park them after playing. You could do the same thing with baby strollers, Barbie cars or ride-on toys that you keep inside.

Be honest: How messy does your playroom get on an average day? How do you keep it from getting out of hand? Do you have a playroom cleaning routine?

On weekdays, since my oldest is at school all day, I only have a toddler to keep tabs on until late afternoon, and he doesn’t make much of a mess on his own.  However, when his brother comes home, all bets are off! They take out all the things while I’m making dinner, and toys begin to migrate into the kitchen and family room, which drives me bananas.  To keep it from getting too crazy, I try to have them put away whatever they’re playing with before taking out something new.  We’re always working on that part!  When it comes to cleaning up, the boys know where everything belongs, so MOST of it gets back in place, but I always poke my head in (or holler from the kitchen) with specific instructions instead of just “clean up.” Simply saying “Could you make sure all the trains get back into the blue basket, please?” helps them to focus on smaller tasks instead of the job as a whole.

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