Tips and Tricks for Decluttering the Kids’ Room

Don’t miss these easy tips and tricks for decluttering the kids’ room! Keep your child’s space neat and tidy with these simple ideas.

Pillows and Stuffed Toys Laying on a Child's Bed

Of all of the rooms in my house, I probably declutter my kids’ spaces most often. Their interests are always changing. They’re constantly growing out of clothes and toys. And somehow they seem to accumulate more and more stuff faster than I can keep up!

After this most recent round of decluttering the kids’ room, I wanted to share some helpful tips and ideas that have helped me make the process go more quickly and more smoothly. I hope these will be helpful for you as you work on getting rid of clutter in your kids’ spaces as well!

Before We Decluttered the Kids’ Room

I always debate about how to share “before” pictures in decluttering posts. I mean, I could definitely take a picture of a messy room with toys all over the place. That’s a regular occurrence around here. Any one can take a picture of a messy room and then take a picture of it clean and have it look better though.

I really wanted to focus on the problem areas, the spots where clutter was constant even when the room was picked up. So what you’re seeing in these “before” pictures is what the room would look like if the boys and I straightened it, putting everything in its “normal” spot.

The Bed Area

a clean kids' room with made up bunk beds

So at first glance the bed area doesn’t look too bad…

clutter underneath a bed

…until you look underneath it. These are actually toys I brought up at Christmas time to help make room for our tree, and they never made their way back downstairs again.

Since the boys haven’t played with them or even wondered where they were for the past 3 months, I think it’s safe to say that most of them aren’t their favorites and could probably find better homes somewhere else.

The Toy Shelf

cluttered toy shelf and corner

Clearly this corner was a bit more of an obvious problem. Toys stacked everywhere! The boys insisted on keeping the banners from their birthday parties and hanging them up in the room, causing even more clutter, and the ladder shelf became a “catchall” for anything and everything.

The Closet

cluttered kids' closet with the doors open

I found so many crazy things in this over-stuffed closet that you don’t want to know about them all. The biggest problem was that I had stuffed my wedding dress in there, and it took up the majority of the space and hid all of the hand-me-downs that I had so painstakingly organized and put away.

See that Diaper Genie right there? I haven’t had any kids in diapers in 8 months or so, so it’s doing us a whole lot of good just sitting there taking up space. 😉 I had thought that I had brought out all of Caleb’s 3T clothes. Nope. There were two bins hiding behind the wedding dress, so he pretty much got a whole new wardrobe this week. Mess, mess, mess!

The Art Corner

arts and crafts area before decluttering and organizing

Their little art corner wasn’t horrible, but the magazine file was over-stuffed with old magazines and coloring books that didn’t even have any clean pages left in them.

The little cups I had been using to hold the boys’ markers and crayons had started to overflow. But instead of just weeding out the broken crayons and dried up markers, I got bigger containers to hold all of the junk that wasn’t even useful to them. How much sense does that make? Zero.

How to Declutter and Organize a Kids’ Room

Now that you’ve seen where we started, let’s get decluttering! Here are the steps we followed to go from cluttered to organized…

1. Start with a blank canvas.

Can you tell I was pretty fed up with how cluttered their room had gotten? There were so many areas that needed help that I started with my favorite tactic… I removed everything!

Since I knew I wanted to paint, it had to be done anyway, but taking all of the “stuff” out of a space is always helpful to me because it allows me to start with a blank canvas.

tall white ladder shelf after all the toys were taken off

2. Sort items into categories.

A blank canvas causes me to be more choosy. I don’t put anything back onto it unless it’s absolutely necessary. While the room was being painted, I moved everything into the hallway and my bedroom to sort it out.

I separated everything into like categories, putting all of the trains together, all of the cars together, all art supplies together, etc.

toy trains and cars separated by category

3. Declutter like crazy.

Once everything was sorted by category, it was easy to see where there was excess and what we could get rid of.

I threw away a lot of things that were missing pieces, broken, or stained. I kept garbage bags handy to store items that would be donated.

There were also some nicer toys that the boys weren’t using anymore, so I organized them into groups, and we’ll sell them on Craigslist or Facebook in the near future.

Finally, there were several items in their space that simply needed to be relocated. I moved any plates and cups that had wandered upstairs back into the kitchen. Some of my craft supplies had ended up in their space, so I moved those back to my office, and so on.

4. Put items back in an organized way.

Once I had everything all sorted out and had painted the room, I started putting things back into place. With every piece that I took back into the room I tried to ask myself three questions:

  • Is this something the boys need?
  • Do they still use it?
  • Does it have special value to them?

If I couldn’t answer “yes” to at least one of those questions, the item didn’t go back in the room. I was absolutely shocked at how many things the boys had that they weren’t even using and were taking up valuable space in our not-so-big house!

When putting items back, I kept the categories of like items together, using bins to corral the groupings when necessary.

Since the boys’ room is multi-functional, I also tried to create zones. All of their toys were on the ladder shelf. All art supplies were in the craft corner, etc.

5. Enjoy the newly decluttered space!

Once everything was back in place, I felt like I could breathe a sigh of relief. Their room was no longer cluttered and overflowing with toys. The space contained only the things they loved and used often. And they actually wanted to spend time playing in their room because they could find what they needed quickly and easily!

A shared boys room after being decluttered and organized

No more clutter under the bed! Yippee! All of the toys that were under there previously either found a place somewhere else or were thrown away/donated/put in the “sell” pile.

neatly organized toy shelf with bins

Connor and Caleb helped me go through everything that was once in this corner to decide on what they really needed and what could be discarded. I was proud that they didn’t insist on hanging on to every little thing!

We were able to narrow it down to only the things that would fit in a designated spot on this shelf, clearing the floor area so there was no more clutter.

the kids' closet after organizing

The closet saw a big improvement too. My wedding dress is out of there, and now I can easily see exactly what’s in each bin that’s left.

a neat and tidy children's arts and crafts area

I weeded out all of the extra craft stuff so that the magazine rack was no longer overflowing. And since I threw away all of the useless markers and crayons, we were able to put back the smaller cups to hold the ones that remained.

Keeping the Space Neat After Decluttering the Kids’ Room

Whew! Honestly, decluttering this room was a lot more work than I thought it would be– I didn’t realize it had gotten so bad!

I learned several important things along the way, though, that I think will not only help me keep this space organized but will help me keep other areas of our home free from clutter as well:

I need to be more careful of what I let in our house.

There were so many broken and junky toys and other things that never should have made their way into our house in the first place. With toys and with “stuff” in general, I need to focus on choosing quality items that will last.

I need to be more intentional about preserving open space.

It seemed like every free space– whether it was a surface or room on the floor– was overtaken by clutter. Yes, at the time it’s easier to throw things in an open spot rather than put them back where they go, but in the long run, I’m left with a completely cluttered room that took me a week to rectify!

Adding bigger containers to hold more of my junk is not organizing.

Since our house is on the smaller side, I often find myself using the excuse, “If we only had more room, then I could be better organized…” No! If I had less junk that I didn’t need, that’s what would truly help me in my organization mission. Rather than getting larger bins to corral my clutter, I just need to get rid of the clutter in the first place!

before and after decluttering the kids' rooms

Decluttering the Kids’ Room: Final Thoughts

Who knew that just decluttering the kids’ room could teach me so much?! Having a tidy, decluttered space is such a freeing feeling and makes me never want to go back to the cluttered mess it was before!

And “decluttering” doesn’t mean you have to tackle an entire room! We can start small with one drawer or a single cabinet or shelf. If we just declutter something and take those first little baby steps, we can make progress on our space little by little!

Want to save this post to revisit later? Be sure to pin the image below so you can find it easily!

a bear and soccer ball on a child's bed with text overlay

Thank you so much for following along! Have a wonderful week!

Abby Lawson at Abby Organizes,


  1. I chose to tacle our pantry as my first task. This week I want to work on 2 hall closets we have that I just stuff with everything. Thanks for the motivation!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yay! Go girl! Happy decluttering!

      ~Abby =)

  2. Emily @ My Love for Words says:

    It looks great! I started a Declutterathon series on my blog in early January, and the progress is slow and steady, but it feels so great to get the areas clean. I’ve shared a ton of decluttering ideas and about my journey, but just this week I shared my new, improved entryway. I’d love for you to check it out, and I love that you’re decluttering too. We can do it together! Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Donnie 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      It’s so pretty!!! Love your entryway and your whole series! You are seriously inspiring, girl! Thank you for sharing!

      ~Abby =)

  3. I’m working on my girls’ shared room today! Wish me luck!

    PS: Cleaned out our two junk drawers just yesterday and I felt so accomplished. Getting the girls room done is going to make me feel like such an over-achiever! 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yay! Way to go! Keep it up with the decluttering, Courtney! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  4. Looks amazing! Maybe it is our warmer weather but I am in de clutter mode too.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      If you’re having warmer weather, I’m completely jealous. We’re snowed in today, lol! Hope your decluttering is going well, Peggy!

      ~Abby =)

  5. I too fell victim to the “Since our house is on the smaller side, I often find myself using the excuse, “If we only had more room, then I could be better organized…”!! My husband and I lived in a 975 sq ft Condo for the first 6 years of our Marriage and while we could have used a little more room, it was not the main cause of our clutter issues. We bought a home with almost 3,000 sq ft 2 1/2 years ago and I’ve come to the conclusion more room = more clutter!!

    I’m starting with my son’s room this weekend and I can only image what I’m going to find in there LoL!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Haha! Hope it went well, Brandie! I know I was surprised at how much junk I found in the Cs’ room! Have a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  6. I am working on the kid’s rooms this week. Great post! I love this blog!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Tiffany! Happy decluttering!

      ~Abby =)

    1. justagirlabby says:

      How cute is her room?! (And clearly you have excellent taste in names… 😉 Thank you so much for sharing it with me, Emily! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  7. What a great idea to tackle a room every Friday! I need to tackle my sons’ room for sure.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      We’ll see how long I can keep it up– I’m so sick of clutter! 🙂 Hope you’re having a great weekend, Keri!

      ~Abby =)

  8. Ashley S. says:

    Hi! Found you on the BFOL link party. This post inspires me! I’m really proud of our playroom space, but need some storage in the kids rooms. Specifically good bookshelves. I like that white bookshelf you have– where did you get it?

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks for popping over from BFOL, Ashley! My hubby actually made the shelf when we were in college, and as soon as we had kids, I stole it for their room. 🙂 I think there are a lot of similar shelves out there, though! Happy organizing!

      ~Abby =)

  9. Creatively Homespun says:

    Love these ideas! Thanks for sharing at the One Project at a Time link Party! 🙂 Have a great week!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much for popping over from the party! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  10. Amanda @ Dwelling in Happiness says:

    It amazes me HOW fast kid’s rooms get cluttered!! The endless amounts of toys that have their “normal” spots but aren’t actually organized. The C’s room looks so fresh and clean with the painting and the organizing! I bet they love it. Jade’s room is totally getting bad already, and I think I need to do the same. Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, friend! I hear ya– I just kept saying to myself, “Where did all of this junk come from?!” Agh! 🙂 Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  11. My wedding dress is crammed into the closet in our spare room! Your post has inspired me to get our spare room sorted. Love the ladder shelf too by the way. Looks awesome they way you’ve organised it!

  12. You did a great job! It’s amazing how much better it looks with a few things put away. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Hello from London, England! Inspiring post – am currently on a de cluttering spree and am tackling my 600 sq feet space a section at a time (small chunks at a time rather than room by room tend to help me more and means there’s less clutter piled up in the hallway waiting to leave).

    I won’t go into detail about the expired canned items found in the back of my kitchen cupboard but suffice it to say, it was a good wake up call!

    🙂 Jem

  14. I just went through my kitchen and cleaned out all the old/expired food. I reorganized everything as well and cleaned up the frig. Since our daughter, son-in-law, 5-yr-old grandson, and new baby grandson live with us until they can save enough for a down payment on a house, I really need to de-clutter toys as well, especially since Gage just had a birthday and we were deluged with new toys.

  15. Brooke Vakakes says:

    Do you mind telling me where the white shelf came from? I love it and could use something like it in my boys shared room!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hi, Brooke! My husband actually made the shelf, but I believe both Target and Pottery Barn carry similar styles. Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  16. You really inspired me this week. In fact me and my sister tackled my daughters play room and closet. We were rude since we threw all her stuffed dolls and other toys in black garbage bags so she will not notice whats inside. I then chucked everything out for collection.
    I think that moms at one point in time they should do this and throw away all childish toys in garbage. Nowadays children are more interested in other stuff.

    Even my friend she is planning to do the same, since she remember her mom doing this to her.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I agree, Kim! Sometimes they just have to go!

      ~Abby =)

      1. Hi,

        Yes your right, and you will feel much less depressed when you manage to do it all.
        Sometimes we do have loads of old stuff sitting there for nothing.

        My mother was quite used to let go of stuff, but my father was the opposite. Normally when she is in the tidy up mood you can notice that by garbage pile next to the door.

        Now its spring time, the most ideal time to declutter old stuff and get rid of unwanted children toys. Do it the first time and you will not regret it.

  17. Thank you for the great ideas! I love your use of vertical space. My girls share a small room, so space is definitely limited. I love that you found ways to store things in the room without it looking cluttered. 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad it was helpful for you, Sheila!

      ~Abby =)

  18. This is so inspiring! My boys recently decided to share a room so we have had to get rid of more than half of their stuff from our small home, which was awesome by the way. But their shared bedroom still feels cluttered. I was just thinking about spending more money on toy boxes and storage containers but no anymore. It’s time to go through those toys and trinkets and part with some. Thank you for sharing!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad it was helpful for you! Happy decluttering! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  19. Wow! I always seem to end up putting almost everything back in! We are trying to declutter the whole house which hasn’t been too difficult but the kids bedroom is always where I fail. I’m going to follow your method and be strict about what they actually need!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hope it is helpful for you, Joanna! Happy organizing! <3

      ~Abby =)

  20. This looks great! I was wondering where the white ladder shelf came from – we have a 10 year old with a smaller room and this would be a great space saver!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks, Brandi! My husband actually made that shelf! I know they sell similar ones at places like Target and Pottery Barn. I hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

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