Savvy Spring Spaces For Your Nieces and Nephews
Spring means warmer weather around the corner, the promise of summer, sunshine, flowers blooming, and playtime outside with your nieces and nephews – there’s no better season! It’s also time for the dreaded spring cleaning. Yes, it’s that time of the year. But hopefully, with a little help from you, Auntie, spring cleaning for your niece or nephew can be a painless, and hopefully even fun, experience. Let’s talk about how you can get your niece’s and nephew’s rooms ready for the season
Throughout the process, try to make spring cleaning as much fun as possible, especially by focusing on the positives. For example, your niece or nephew probably grew tons since last year. There are clothes in the closet that don’t fit, toys they don’t use anymore, and a whole lot of unnecessary clutter they’ve simply outgrown. So, spin the cleanup in a positive light by pointing out that you can’t have fun putting new decorative touches in a messy room. After all, how can your nieces and nephews decorate an unkempt space?
Here are some tips for a fun and productive day of spring cleaning with your niece or nephew:
1. Toy Sorting: There are so many unfortunate children who would be thrilled to play with your niece’s and nephew’s forgotten toys. Explain this important fact of life to your niece or nephew and have them pick out the toys they want to donate. This is a great way to start teaching lessons in giving. Separate the toys into three categories: keep, donate, garbage. Make sure the donated toys are still in good condition and include all parts. Throw away the broken toys with missing parts. If your nephew or niece has trouble letting go, consider sneaking into his or her room when he or she is in school and do some of the cleaning up on your own. He or she probably won’t remember what is missing!
2. Toy Storage: Now organize the toys they are keeping. Get some storage bins (in their favorite spring colors, of course) and group toys by category: art supplies, dolls and doll clothing and accessories, trucks, Legos, jewelry, school supplies, etc. Teach your niece and nephew to put things back where they belong. This is important – not only are they learning good habits, but it will also make spring cleaning easier next year!
3. Clothing: Separate the clothing into four piles – fall/winter, spring/summer, donations, garbage. Donate only clothes that are still in good condition. Some old clothes can be recycled and used as cleaning rags – or you may find some other creative uses for them. If you are tearing clothing up for rags, play tug-of-war as you are ripping, for a fun break that is sure to end in lots of laughter. Put away the winter clothes and organize the spring/summer clothes in your niece’s and nephew’s closet: short-sleeve shirts, long-sleeve shirts, long pants, shorts, dresses.
Now let’s talk decorating, Auntie.
Use color and accessories for a simple and cost-effective spring makeover:
1. Color: Think of spring colors as soft pastel versions of any hue. Get your inspiration from nature. Take a walk with your niece or nephew and notice the colors of the flowers as they bloom, or the leaves as they bud. Have him or her pick out her favorite colors of spring and use them when decorating. Be sure to include bold tones as well. Too many pastels will make the room look like a nursery (and may make tough little nephews unhappy!). Be cautious with pastels even when decorating a nursery, unless you plan on redecorating the room in a few years.
2. Accessories: Anything goes with accessories, as long as your niece and nephew like what you purchase together. This can be a fun chance to go shopping. Just a few words of advice: be cautious with themed accessories. Too many Easter bunnies will make the room look overdone. It’s always better to mix in themed accessories and then store them away for use again next year. Always think about color, and for a more interesting look, remember that opposites attract – old with new, large with small, bold colors with muted ones, youthful themes with mature themes. Have fun! Think about something different and fun, like a boldly patterned wall. Your nieces and nephews will never tire of these fresh, colorful spaces.
So, Auntie, enjoy spring by having fun cleaning and decorating!
Published: April 3, 2012