It’s always a struggle. You’re walking down a hallway in your home, about to pass the door of your child’s bedroom, and that overwhelming feeling of fear and dread causes you to turn back. You know what lurks behind that door. You’ve turned the other way and refrained from being a nagging mom, but you know deep down inside the time has come. You can no longer ignore the fact that if you don’t step in now, you might be raising the next contestant on Hoarders. It’s time to get that room cleaned! “We are raising responsible kids, right?” Well, that’s what I’m telling myself anyway. It’s time to teach our kids how to clean their rooms.
I remember as a little girl sharing a room with my VERY messy sisters. They were the messy ones. I was sure I was the neat one. When I got my own room, the truth was revealed. It was me, probably all me. I was told, “Go clean your room.” So I’d walk obediently into my room and just look around not knowing where to start.
I think our kids feel that way, too. We tell them to go clean their rooms, but we really haven’t explained to them what that means or what we expect. So here are a few tips to help you, help your child(ren) get their room’s cleaned!
Like all things, I like to teach in step. Getting kids to clean their rooms in steps is no exception. If they (you if they’re little) follow these steps, they can actually get their room cleaned in 20 minutes!
Step 1. Make the bed. This is the first thing I taught my kids when they were little and since I made it a daily requirement, it’s not a big deal anymore. The bed is the biggest piece in their room, so if it’s made, the room instantly looks half way decent. If their room is a mess, take everything off the bed and have them make it. Teach them how to make the bed, but don’t expect perfection. They’ll learn as they get older- I promise.
Step 2. Grab all the clothes. Just pile them…on the bed. The idea here is to work quickly and make progress. I tell my kids to grab all the clothes- clean, dirty, and toxic- and pile it on the bed for now. We’ll sort later, but things are getting done.
Step 3. Sort the mess into piles. Right there on the messy floor, start making piles of stuff. Toys in one pile, books in another, legos, cars, barbie dolls, whatever it is, start making piles. We even have a pile for trash and a pile for items that don’t belong in the room like dishes, tools, a car tire. Teach them by showing them first and, again, work quickly. We want them to get to a place where cleaning their room doesn’t seem like a daunting task.
Step 4. Throw out the trash pile. It’s easy, simple and another task is completed.
Step 5. Take out the items that don’t belong. Just set them outside the door for now to take to the appropriate rooms after their bedroom is cleaned.
Step 6. Move your piles into the appropriate bins and baskets. Hopefully, you have some kind of organization system in place. There’s a place for legos and cars. There’s a place for princess clothes and dolls. School books go there, papers and notes in there. Now it’s time to move those things into the right organizer.
Baskets, bins, and bookshelves are the best ways to keep your kid’s room clean.
Step 7. Sort the clothes. Most of them are going to be dirty, so this task is usually the easiest. You can “talk” to them later as to why their clean clothes shouldn’t be on the floor, but for now, have them hang or fold the clean clothes.
Step 8. Vacuum. We’re not deep cleaning the room as in De-cluttering, polishing furniture or dusting. We’re just getting the room to look less like a nuclear explosion experiment. With that said, vacuuming is always a must. It’s the final step that brings peace of mind to kids and mommas alike.
The best tip of course is to do this every week with your kids until they understand and do it themselves. When they’re little, you’re going to be doing most of the work. It’s the privilege of motherhood. As they get older though, they’ll have a system to work through and start owning for themselves.
Now, we can walk down the halls of our homes and find a “somewhat” clean kid’s room. Putting a system in place not only helps us, but helps our kids and ends the battle of the messy room frustrations.