clean up tips, organization

Fresh Start: Tips for cleaning up—and jazzing up—your kids’ home spaces

*Story updated from March 2021.

Spring is here! And it’s not just any old spring, it’s springtime after a year-long pandemic that has had us hibernating in our homes for months. If you’re getting ready to take on children’s closets or toy rooms, check out these tips on sorting, donating, and refreshing rooms from Kylie Ponton of Ponton Interiors and Laura Frasor of NEAT Method Tampa.

TBP: What questions should we ask ourselves when deciding whether to keep, donate or dump? What has worked with your kids to get them to clean and organize?

Frasor: Do you love it; do you use it; and is there space for it: The three questions I encourage clients to ask themselves. Remember, just because you have the space, does not mean you need to fill it! Involve your kids in the process. This gives them a sense of responsibility while teaching them how to keep themselves organized. Have them pull all of their toys out.  They may be surprised how many they have! Anything that’s broken or missing pieces needs to go. What do they play with every day? Anything they are unsure of, box it up and put it in the garage or a hidden shelf. If they don’t ask for it in a month, it’s time [for it] to go.

TBP: When organizing kids’ toys and clothes, do you have favorite local charities you like to donate gently used items to?

Frasor: The Salvation Army is always my go-to for donations. They have many drop-off locations throughout the Tampa Bay area. You can also schedule pickups for larger items. Also consider bringing gently used children’s toys or books to your local library or preschool. And being a huge animal lover, I always recommend passing along towels or blankets to your local shelter or the Humane Society.

TBP: What colors are trending into spring and summer for a fresh new look?

Ponton: There’s a huge influx of color expert information we see every year from paint companies to fabric manufacturers. After the year that was 2020, it’s no surprise that the colors of the year for 2021 are based on creating a feeling of sanctuary and enrichment. Warm tones enrich our homes and invite relaxation and comfort. Pairing bronze tones and brown leathers creates an inviting and cozy energy and makes for the perfect place to hide away during those long Summer storms.

For fun pops of inspiration in the Summer months, yellow can be paired with greys, denims and natural tones and are always a fun addition to freshen up a bedroom. In kids’ rooms we love adding bold accent colors like pops of orange against blue.

TBP: Are there any design selection tips that help make clean up easy?

Ponton: Paint companies are using technology that allows for easier clean-up with newer wipeable finishes and fingerprint resistant surfaces. The Superpaint collection from Sherwin Williams has paints that break down odors and have inherent resistance to mold and mildew. Their living well collection includes antibacterial protection that destroys bacteria on contact—smart tech at work!

We love Ruggable rugs in kids’ rooms. They are thin and yet plush, have a separate backing that acts as a comfy rug pad, and the rugs can be thrown in the washing machine!

TBP: What are your favorite ways to make a quick update to a space?

Ponton: Add trim! We love adding trim to the leading edge of window treatments for a fresh take on a plain window covering. Pom poms are our favorite for kids’ rooms. A graphic geometric shape makes for fun contrasting patterns.

Originally published in March 2021 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.