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Best tips for motivating kids to keep their rooms clean?

Emily H
5 years ago

Do you have any experiences or tips to share for motivating kids to keep their rooms neat? Do you impart an importance of simplicity in general? Do you use rewards to motivate them or maybe there are consequences for a messy room...

Share your experience! (photos encouraged)

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Comments (72)

  • marilynellis
    5 years ago
    My rule was no rotting food or dead animals. Other than that keep their doors closed and nothing can spill out into the hallway. If they didn't put dirty clothes in the wash or put their clean clothes away they experienced the consequences It's just a part of being a kid. At some point they will decide that it's to their benefit to have clean clothes and be able to find things. Happened around the 12th grade for both of them.
    Best Answer
  • Sierra Jones
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    It's very simple like others have said....if the room is not clean than do not expect ANY other privileges. Each kid is different as to what will be their individual 'hold back' .

    No outside, no game/ computer time, no tv, no books, no art time, no allowance, no movies, no lego...whatever floats their boat...TAKE IT AWAY and do not give in until the room is clean. SIMPLE.

    I have 5 boys ages 13 to 4....for my 13 year old...it is no outside ( no basket-ball ) until room is clean. He just moans and groans...but he cleans. I even started something new recently because I would come home from work and find their rooms a mess. Now with nicer weather...they would be out and about somewhere in the neighborhood...park.....friends house....basketball court. I advised them if I get home from work and find your chores not done or your room messy....I will come find you. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing.... and bring you home to clean. I only had to do this this ONCE and you know what ...every day since ( it has already been about 2 weeks ) Clean Rooms. They don't think of stepping foot outside without a clean room.

    Younger kids will clean quickly if you take away something they enjoy doing because they don't have anything else to do and boredom will eat them up.

    My kids aren't older, but I'm already prepared. Can't obviously chase after a 15 or 16 year old....but you can take a big green garbage bag like my mom did once and fill it with everything you find out of place or on the floor ....hide it in the garage over night. They will freak out. When you warn them and give it back they'll be relieved but with a reminder....next time it goes to GOODWILL not the GARAGE.

    It's all about consistency and standing your ground. If you give in once too many they will see your soft and won't take you seriously. If you are consistent they will know they can't get away with anything and will follow the rules. ( I have found this applied to many other things as well beyond cleaning ;) )

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  • Jessica Kerry Mack
    5 years ago

    Couldn't say if it would work for other kids, but when things got bad, my mom would tell me that Dad was going to come do a "military inspection" and I'd be given a time to be ready by. Then Dad would come in with white gloves, check various surfaces for dust, flip a quarter on the bed to make sure it was made up tight enough, and tell me either, "Good job" or give me demerits on things that weren't done right. Demerits had to be taken care of before dinner time. Good job meant we did something special like watch something special on TV as a family or go out for ice cream sundaes after dinner.


  • Kathleen Marineau
    5 years ago

    My sister was a shove it under the bed person. Once a year Mom would pick a weekend, send her to a friend's house and strip the room. Interesting side note: as an adult, my sister is neater than me.
    When my daughter showed the same under the bed tendency, I took the bed
    frame out of the room and put her bed on the floor. One problem solved. She liked it that way and bragged to her friends about her floor bed.

    Next step was the purge. Both kids were given one week to clean their rooms, or else. The "or else" consisted of black trash bags. My son did his own bagging after sorting and putting away what he wanted.
    Daughter begged to go to friend's house overnight even though her room was still a disaster. When she came home her room was scrubbed clean and spartan. The clothes that had been on hangars and in the dresser were still there, as were books, games and such that had been on the shelves. Everything I found on the floor was bagged. Three 40gal bags in the garage. She had one week to retrieve what she wanted. The next school holiday was a Monday. She came along as I drove cross town to the women and children's shelter where it was all left.
    A few years later, she asked me to do it again, the mess overwhelmed her and she didn't want to have to decide.

    I used one other technique with marginal results: no gifts for birthday without giving away the ones you've outgrown or you find boring. Both my children asked for small boxes to set aside some treasures. The result was a compromise.

    My teen granddaughter is living with us now. The basic rule: keep your door closed. When I can smell it every time I walk by, I clean. Trash out, bedding and pillows washed, floor cleared, windows opened and fan on, until I can't smell it. Warnings don't seem to matter to her, so I quit giving them. I just do it while she's not home, taking photos for proof of how bad it was and the end result.


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    Barnhart Gallery
    5 years ago

    Chalk one up to my father-in-law. When my husband was a teen, and he hadn't cleaned his room as ordered under threat of it all going out the second-story window, my FIL carefully took his prized and hard-earned new stereo and speakers down to the lawn, and gently placed them askew as though they had landed there. The rest of his clothes etc. were scattered about to reinforce the message. Oh, the horror, my husband fell for it, LOL!

    (FIL also used to start up the lawnmower and leave it running under his bedroom window after a late night out...)

  • Annette Stringer
    5 years ago

    This one is for boys.

    Encourage them to clear up their lego with a dustpan and brush. It's easy!

  • Susan Davis
    5 years ago

    My son was rather relaxed while growing up, but you never know until they are grown up. I was on a road trip and got a rare call from him. He had goofed off in college, went into the military, returned to college and was finishing up his senior year. Me. What are you doing? Alex. Oh cleaning my apartment. Do you have time to talk? Me. Sure. Parenting is all about them being an adult and then you can decide if anything worked. haha

  • gissmf
    5 years ago

    Having lived with three disgusting adult housemates in the past (thank goodness my own fiance is clean) anything that can be done to instill *some* good habits when kids are growing up is so important. I think there's a huge difference between messy and dirty...messy can be ok &bound to happen at some stage, but dirty or filthy is never ok (filthy food trash &dirty dishes amongst clothes on the floor, used cotton buds &tissues lying around the house etc). Our rules growing up were absolutely no food or coloured drinks in bedrooms &I still stick by that

  • prissypapers
    5 years ago

    These were entertaining comments. I cannot imagine having difficulty training up one's child. Our motto is, "Clean it until it is model home ready." No if, ands, and buts about it. I echo another comment; it's your room, but our home. Teach, repeat, allow them to do, and if they don't do it correct, do it over and over again until it is the way I envision. Even if that means awaking them at 2:00 am to get it right. This has kept my kids from half doing things. And yes, they are normal, A students, with great friends, who love the Lord and love their mom and dad. :)

  • Najeebah
    5 years ago
    I have no kids but if I did it would be 'your space. keep it as you wish. you are the only one who will be relaxing/working/sleeping/etc. there. if its a dump, you've made it such. no one is going to clear it up for you'
  • Nadine Bruyninckx
    5 years ago

    I set a time frame for them. What was on the floor in the evening, will be trashed when I had to pick it up. Kids needs to learn to respect what is important for them. Kids get too overwhelmed with presents and stuff which they really don't need, it's just an "I want, I want" mentality in today's world.

  • sacapuntaslapioz
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I think keeping a room organized and clean is both a duty and a right. The parents must teach to organize, give away and keep things sanitary. The child must learn this and the parent must enforce it. The energy of one's habitat reflect in one's life, which is the foundation of Feng Shui. Part of the problem of adolescent angst is the anxiety changing bodies, emotions and minds, bring, but keeping rooms in a mess of food and clothes on the floor just makes it worse. The order inside is helped by the order outside.

  • runaway03
    5 years ago

    The "your room, our house" rule is non-negotiable, so my teen's bedroom door is closed quite often. The motivation I use to get her to clean her room (and bathroom) periodically is that she isn't allowed to have friends over unless the two rooms are clean. This is important because we live in a very rural area and ours is the "hangout house" for her group, which means frequent sleepovers to avoid 20-30 mile treks home at night. Better this way than not knowing where she is! The clutter is hard to get rid of in a teenage girl's bathroom, even with countless storage boxes and bins, but at least the sink and toilet are sanitized regularly.

  • Lena46
    5 years ago

    I had kids that were not great in this regard, and dh wasn't totally on board. When they were younger, what worked was having people over. They would get going and organized. Now that they're older, they keep their room the way they want and most of the mess is confined to the rooms. Our cleaning lady is not allowed to touch their bedrooms or bathroom. They do their own laundry. If something's not clean, well, "love and logic" (from the book "Parenting with Love and Logic") !!

    The two youngest are still living at home and in university. I let things go much more during the latter part of the term and during exam period .

    Now, what really worked was the mouse we caught in one of the rooms. Everything's been spotless since then!

  • mrsstem
    5 years ago
    My skids are slobs. I just closed the door. Now they are at uni so I really don't need to worry about their rooms much... When they are here, I just don't go near their rooms.
  • ornelas
    5 years ago

    My kids are grown now, but my solution was no food outside of the kitchen and all trash in the trash cans. Then I closed the door to messy rooms. I decided to choose my battles and this wasn't one of them. Probably not a great solution, they are both slobs still. But they are successful slobs with whom I have incredibly close and loving relationships. And, better yet, I saved myself a lot of stress.

  • heidileeaz
    5 years ago

    I raised a boy. He learned to do his share of clean up. If clothes missed the basket they didn't get washed. I toys were left for more than a week they were given away. He wasn't a material child so those things didn't matter to him. He did not get an allowance, we gave him the money to do things with friends. Sometimes he didn't get to go because he hadn't earned the privilege by doing his chores. Kids need boundaries and consequences to learn to deal with life. He now has three girls of his own. He cooks, cleans, does dishes and is a great help. It does sink in

  • daffodilmama
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I find now that my daughter cares how she looks, she spends far more time in front of the mirror in the morning instead of picking up the clothes, hanging up the towel or making the bed, or putting away her toilettries. The sink that she perches on, is also consistently gross. I try to enforce Saturday cleaning, but often I am not up for the battle or the task, and also need a break from the weekday grind. She also always has the homework trump card. It is not easy, I feel like I have to be way meaner or way harsher than what is natural for me, to get her to contribute. We have talks about being a contributing member of the family, or only being a benefiting member of the family. It is a struggle. It saddens me that I have to be such a b**** to get anything done in the house.

  • starrystar
    5 years ago
    Growing up my mom hated coming home after work and tripping over school bags and shoes in the front hall. Finally she said one more time and I'm chucking them outside...You only have to walk to school once in frozen shoes to remember to put them away properly! I think around the same week she decided no more looking at our stuff laying all around the house. With warning, which none of us heeded, she collected everything up and put it in a box and we had to pay from our allowance to get it back. Well I left my school books and homework out and I had to pay to get those else get in trouble at school. I learned fast! It took about a month for my younger brothers. I do not have children of my own, but the best way I've read to make them clean up and do chores these days is to change the wi-fi password. No kid this age can be disconnected for a whole day lol!
  • mrsstem
    5 years ago
    Oooh ingenious!
  • Kathleen Marineau
    5 years ago

    WiFi changed, then a fee to get it back. Granddaughter uses her phone more than the computer, so she'd just rack up data charges. She used 3g in one 24hr period at a friends house, downloading music and fan fiction, I guess I could take her overage charge out of her monthly allowance. It's worth a try.


  • ninigret
    5 years ago
    when I was little our mom charged us 10 cents if we didn't make the bed. so my sister paid me 5 cents to make hers. everyone happy, although I have no idea if mom ever knew.
  • cucina1990
    5 years ago

    When my daughter was in highschool, she started using the floor as her closet. I am a clean organized person and it offended me that her clothes meant so little to her, even when she bought them with her own money. I closed the door as people suggested here. But we came to a compromise when I installed hooks in her closet and on her doors to deal with the clothes. It helped and she slowly improved. Then along came university where all the good habits disappeared again. Now that she has her own home and money is tight, things have improved again.

  • Jayne M
    5 years ago

    Firstly, I do not wash teen's clothing. About age 11 or so started teaching my kids to do their own laundry. It took about 2 years - not to learn how to clean stains or how much soap to add but to remember if you want clean clothes you have to think ahead enough to do laundry. By age 13 or so all three managed to keep up with their laundry and other than a few Sunday night disagreements over the washer, they were fine. Same with the room. Their job. I started helping them pick up when young and showed them how to organize and slowly let them choose furniture and storage systems and organize and decorate their rooms how they liked. We did have some messy middle school years but they gradually took pride in their room and learned no one was going to pick up their messes if they did not. My mom was a compulsive cleaner and I never really learned how fast things piled up until I was out on my own. My kids know there is no clean-it-up fairy and they are responsible for their rooms and their bathrooms. Biggest thing is after they are teens, don't do it for them - let them live with consequences of not picking up after themselves.

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    Elizabeth McGreevy
    5 years ago

    I grew up with a very controlling mom. She hated it when she saw a wrinkle on my thin bedspread. It was so stressful. I am much more relaxed. With my son, my main rule is put the dirty clothes in the hamper and keep stuff off the floor. I also provide lots of nooks for his stuff (esp. drawers). My view is if he really has too much stuff everywhere..,.then he has too much stuff. The reason is i dont want to have to walk through all his stuff (i used to step on and break toys and such....that solved that issue real fast). Also, we have scorpions and brown recluse spiders. These can end up in the clothes on the ground. Yep....I showed him the spider bites on Google and he started picking up. Lol

  • Hope Anderson
    5 years ago

    My son's room was always messy when he was growing up, and nothing I did or said made him do anything about it. I didn't want to fight over it--particularly as my own mother was a complete control freak--so except mandating a big end-of-school-year clean up, I didn't nag. My once-a-week housecleaner did basic cleaning and sheet changing, he did his own laundry, and I learned to stay out of his room. When my son grew up and moved out, he became neat, and still is. Perhaps it was due to the influence of his girlfriend (now wife), but I think it would have happened regardless of what I did or didn't do. Sometimes taking the path of least resistance is the best thing.

  • orangecamera
    5 years ago

    Remember that TV show "Clean Sweep"? About once a year, we'd empty everything but the furniture out of my sons' shared room. I put 3 tarps on the living room floor (just outside their bedroom): Keep, Sell, and Donate. Everything else was put into big black trash bags. With the room almost empty, it was easy to dust and vacuum. By the end of a long day, all the "keep" things were put back into the room in an orderly fashion. It's easier to put things away when you start from scratch and see what you've actually got.

    After doing this a few times, they realized just how much they were getting rid of, and stopped wanting to acquire "too much". By the time they were in high school, we were mostly just getting rid of outgrown clothes.


  • 7417
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    What worked for me was: "You put your dirty clothes in the laundry and you pick up whatever is on the floor. If I have to do it, your things will be thrown away." It only took once that I packed everything in a plastic bag and "pretended" for a few days that I actually had thrown it out. The threat worked.

  • mrsstem
    5 years ago
    Ah. I see some good tough-love ideas here. Unfortunately as I was not the bio, I had the "Wicked Stepmother" baggage to deal with...

    So, I detached and the doors to their rooms were simply closed. NotMyKidNotMyProblem was a mantra I had to adopt...
  • wendydown
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    When my kids were as young as 4 or 5, I helped them learn to un-clutter by letting them decide what they were ready to part with and then paying them 5 cents for every item they put into a 'garage sale box'. It was amazing how well this motivated them to get rid of toys, etc. they no longer wanted or used. (And since I then 'owned' the unwanted items, I could do whatever I wanted with them!) We usually did this just before their birthday and Christmas because it was easy to motivate them to 'make room for presents'.

    My kids are now teenagers and know how much or little 'stuff' they each like to have. When their rooms feel clutter-y to them, they'll actually take time to collect and put unwanted items in the garage sale box we always keep handy. I think this happens because 1) they learned from very young how to do it and 2) un-cluttering was always a good experience - it was happening to prepare for their birthday and Christmas!

    To help clarify for them what tidying their room meant, I made up the phrase 'brown all around'; Their bedroom flooring was brown, so this phrase made it easy for them to know they had to pick things up until their floor was tidy everywhere. When it was clean-up time, we still say, "Time for brown all around..."

  • fissfiss
    5 years ago
    One of my pet peeves was the shoe pile by the front door...we actually have 2! mushrooms, a small one by the garage door and a big one in the laundry, and still the shoes piled up by the "proper" front door....I got sick of nagging, so just started putting one shoe in each mud room...Beloved shoes' included....it took them a couple of weeks to actually realize what was going on...and then they puffed up like blowfish and asked how I would like that? My response, "given that you won't touch your own stuff, I'm not too worried about your tidying away mine!"
  • noshdome
    5 years ago

    I have three daughters and did laundry for each of them until the day I found they had merely deposited the laundry that I had washed, dried, and folded right back into their laundry basket because putting it away in the dresser was too much trouble. This day arrived at a different time for each of them, but they were all doing their own laundry by the time they were 10 or 11. Regarding the piles of shoes.... I've tossed them outside in the grass, behind the shrubbery, up a tree, even in the trash in a fit of exasperation...I love the idea of hiding just one of a pair. When they were younger, we cleaned their rooms together and it was helpful to break the job down into smaller tasks. After age 8 or 9, I would make a list of what needed to be done and set a timer for an hour. Any child who had cleaned properly got a treat, and any who didn't got to watch me wander through the room with a trash bag as anything not put away or not cleaned became mine. I never thought of selling that stuff back though. Darn! I could have collected enough money to treat myself to a nice vacation! We've had a weekly house cleaner since I returned to work, but the girls have to pick up and make certain their rooms are straight before the cleaner arrives or else they have to clean their rooms themselves that week. That said, my oldest is now 23, and her room always seemed to look and smell like a pigpen. Her apartment is the same way. Ewwwwww! My middle daughter straightens and organizes beautifully, and then blows through the room like a tornado a few hours later. My youngest tends to be the neatest and most organized. And she can always find whatever she is looking for in seconds.

  • patrinkac
    5 years ago
    At about 14 y/o I made the mistake of complaining to my mother about the fact I thought my girly clothes were being damaged by being laundered with the clothing of my three younger brothers.
    After that I did my own laundry.
  • Brooke Haechrel
    5 years ago
    Life is so short--so many families (including close friends of ours) are facing such big battles like childhood cancer and horrible diseases, it is hard for me to understand why parents would demand model-home ready from their children everyday, much less their whole house. My kids rooms blow up really fast, and yes, I expect them to tidy up and learn to put their clothes in the laundry and put the clean ones away. I prefer their toys to be haphazardly to be put in their bins and most of the Legos out of the paths through the rooms--but they are kids...let them breathe and let yourself have a break and enjoy your kids cause life is just way too short. Do you want them to remember you demanding a pristine clean room out of them, or playing at the park and building blocks and laughing together? And what memories do you want to remember with your kids if your life is suddenly turned upside down tomorrow? Loosen up people! It's ok if your house doesn't look like the showcases here on Houzz or Pinterest. :)
  • Carin Turner
    5 years ago
    Make the stuff less, it is easier to tidy up if there is less of it. Just ask them to donate the unused of less loved to less fortunate children. You will be surprised how generous kids are.
  • sheilaskb
    5 years ago

    My own mother had a chart for us children to check off as we did our daily or weekly chores. My own children were quite good about keeping books returned to the bookcase or book bag, keeping their school papers in plastic storage boxes on a shelf, hanging up clothes, keeping their separates in drawers, and keeping their shoes and slippers on the shoe rack. When they were younger, I would go through the house with them every evening to make sure they had picked up all the Barbie doll clothes and shoes and had placed everything in the doll wardrobe. The same rule applied to the Matchbox cars, which my sons were to keep in a storage chest when not in use. One night we could not find the mate to one of Barbie's shoes and found it on the front seat of a Matchbox car!

  • printesa
    5 years ago

    My mom wouldn't force us to do things,,,we had to tidy up around the house and help in the garden when we could. School was more important. She said that we have all the time in the world to do these pesky chores. She was right..we grew up and now, as adults, we have to do them. Kids help and I ask them to clean their stuff, but there are times when they don't have time. I want them to study first and then take care of other stuff


  • Helen
    5 years ago
    Close the door. Let them live in their mess. But they cannot mess up any other room just their own.
  • columbia93
    5 years ago

    First, you need to know your kids. When I was sent to my room to clean, it ended up worse than when I started because I had to drag EVERYTHING out first and then put it away (after going through it all). I am actually a pretty organized person and having bins and such would have been great, but we didn't have those back in the dark ages!

    On the other hand, my sister wouldn't do anything and my mom spent a long time yelling at her...which didn't do either of them any good! She is still a very disorganized person.

    So, no real suggestions other than to know how your kid operates - organized, put away, displayed, big bin just to throw stuff in, etc. Some kids respond to goals, other treats and so on. Whatever works best with the least stress!


  • jillybeansisme
    5 years ago

    Our house rule . . the path from the door to the bed must be clear for emergency workers to stay safe. When I found my slob. errrrh, I mean, my daughter throwing just washed laundry in the dirty clothes, that's when she had to start doing her own (with some help since she was barely 8 at the time). She HATES doing laundry. Well, I did it for her this last time and all she had to do is fold it. She had a temper tantrum and kind of left it all over the washer and some on the dryer and the rest on the floor of the laundry room. She told me it was her laundry and that's where she wants it! I explained it was unacceptable and she was to finish folding it and put it away. She refused. I took it ALL, bagged it (including her brand new cherished jacket), and told her fine, now she can do her own laundry by hand (she was left with 2 panties, 2 pair of socks, 2 pants, 2 white T-shirts, and 2 pair pjs). It didn't take handwashing for long for her to want the washer!

  • kiwicaz
    5 years ago

    Loving the comments. It doesn't seem to matter where in the world we live- kids are all the same. Over the years I did a mixture of many of these. Generally I just kept the door closed so I didn't have to see. We just purged once in a while- school holiday task usually (which in New Zealand is every 10 weeks). I didn't think about the Firemen- but I expected a track where I could walk from the door to the bed in the dark and not step on anything. If new clothes came in- an equivalent number went out. If I picked it up- I kept it. (often I used to forget I had put the toys out of reach and so did they). Bins so that everything has a space helps. Having friends over or if they wanted to go somewhere always got the room clean too. As does the "if it's not in the laundry then it doesn't get washed (school uniforms are my only exception- I go looking for those). If they want to wear something and it's not clean they suddenly know how the washing machine works. It's all a bit trial and error really, but funny when you look back on it.

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    Julia & Elizabeth
    5 years ago

    Just close the door. :)

  • Lena46
    5 years ago

    A funny story many of you may laugh at... Seven years ago we were robbed. I was away with my oldest. The other two had been gone for a weekend, came home and left everything in the hallway. Their rooms were train wrecks, not even a clear path to the bed. The thieves entered at 3 am and took the cash left neatly by my dh to pay the mechanic, plus some other things in the office and master bedroom (yes, they entered while he was sleeping. Thank God for CPAPs). The thieves didn't dare look through the hallway or bedrooms. Hahahahahah

    PS: Don't tell your kids this :-)

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    Images Everything Photography
    5 years ago
    I'm so thankful you posted this question! As a decorator, I made sure my girls had rooms that are beautiful, functional, and fun. Even with that, things don't get put away, they don't make an effort to keep it clean...and that hurts me :( I think it's time to institute the allowance for their rooms being clean (they already get a little for their chores). It's all about respect, in my opinion. If they don't appreciate what they have, and take care of it, that will carry over into other areas of their lives (and yes, I have a degree in Psychology! )
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    Barnhart Gallery
    5 years ago

    I find that if I take their things and put them where they actually belong, my guys go crazy looking everywhere but...;)

  • goodewyfe
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    "Teach, repeat, allow them to do, and if they don't do it correct, do it over and over again until it is the way I envision. Even if that means awaking them at 2:00 am to get it right."

    I can't imagine my parents would have woken me up at 2:00 AM unless the house was on fire!

  • C4Real
    5 years ago
    I told my 19 year old son, who is very attached to his hard earned money, that if he didn't clean his room then I would but I'd expect to be paid for my time. He came home to a lovely clean room, handed me $75.00 and said thanks mom. Ugh!!!
  • Marly
    5 years ago
    Ask them if they need more space to organize in, and make them do a spring cleaning to get rid of items that aren't sentimental or in use.
  • mom3333
    4 years ago

    I never required my 3 kids to keep their rooms clean, but told them "I don't want to see it, so keep the door closed if it's messy."

    The 2 boys always had a sort of neat room and my daughter, with her 'artistic flair,' never had her door open. Her apartment is very neat now.

    My husband, from day one, always brought towels and dirty clothes down to the laundry room so the kids naturally did what Daddy did. If they had had dirty clothes on the floor, I might have changed my attitude.

  • PRO
    Maids Prime
    2 years ago

    Make cleaning fun! Put some great music they like on and always make sure that you are happy when you are cleaning. What they see, that's what they will follow and imitate. Make their room cleaning a fun project.

  • felizlady
    2 years ago
    This is a very old post, but seeing it again or for the first time, there is a lot of wisdom and good ideas here.

    Our youngest grandchild is a boy. His sister is a slob in her large bedroom. He selected the smallest bedroom, even though a large one could be his, and when he hears the "clean your rooms up" command, his small room gets straightened up in a short time. He is focused.
    His sister gets involved with the things and can't seem to get herself started putting them away. Not focused.
    She is messier than he is, and has more room to be messy. I must say she didn't fall far from the messy tree...her parents.