Getting Kids to Keep Their Rooms Clean

During their high school years, our now 40+ year old sons seemed to have a problem keeping their room clean and neat. My wife threatened to clean the room and throw out everything that wasn't put away properly - clothing, books, etc. She carried out the threat one day. and the kids came home to a sparkling clean rooms.


They thought this was pretty cool until they started searching for such things such as homework (left on the floor), school books piled on the beds, etc.

"Mom, where's my English homework? I have to turn it in tomorrow, and my trig book?" She said, "Oh, that? It's in the trash. I thought you didn't want it, so I threw it out." Of course, she didn't really throw it out, but there were a couple of scared teenagers in the house.

Another time, she told our youngest that he had to change the sheets on his bed. He kept putting it off, so my wife finally did it.

When he came home and saw that the sheets had been changed, he asked in a trembling voice, "Did you find anything in my room?" She replied, "You mean the Playboy magazines under your mattress?" No more problems with a messy room! To this day, both are neat freaks.

By Grey Knight from Columbus, OH

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July 24, 2011

When my oldest daughter was in grade school I couldn't get her to keep her room cleaned. One day when she was in school I taped a notice on her bedroom door that said "Condemned by the Health Department".

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When my boys were teenagers, I would give them a date when the room had to be cleaned up by. That gave them the option to do it within their own time frame. If it was not done by then, I would have the freedom to go into their rooms and find and read all the love notes.

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November 8, 2003

How do I clean my own room up? I want it to look nice.



November 18, 20030 found this helpful

The first step to cleaning up your room is to pick up anything that is on the floor. Dirty clothes should go into a hamper or basket to go to the laundry. Any garbage or papers that you no longer need, should go into a garbage or recycling bag. Any books or items that are on the floor should be put back where they belong. If they don't have a special place you might want to either find a place for them (a drawer or bookshelf) or put them into a bag for donation.

Next clean off any surfaces such as the top of dressers or end tables. Take everything off the tops and clean them good. If they are really dirty, use a damp (not wet) sponge, otherwise a dust rag will do.

Make sure the things put back on the surfaces are only things you need on top such as lamps, clocks, radios or the books you are currently reading.

It is important to have a book shelf for your books and a dresser or closet for your clothing and a hamper or basket for your dirty clothes. If you don't, see if you can get something to use to help you organize your clothing, books and other items.

Clean out anything under the bed that shouldn't be there.

Next, make your bed. A room always looks cleaner when your bed is made.

Vacuum or sweep the floor to finish. Then take the dirty clothes to the laundry, the garbage to the garbage can, the recycling to the recycling bins.

Hope this helps. - Susan

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By Trisha (Guest Post)
April 28, 20040 found this helpful

Make it look nice by finding a topic for your room.
And make it so you don't have clothes hanging out of your dresser by folding and hanging clothes.
I've got to go. I have my own room to clean.
Trisha Marie

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By Grant (Guest Post)
July 14, 20040 found this helpful

This Helps a lot!!!!!!!!!!!!1

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By missy (Guest Post)
August 9, 20040 found this helpful

thanks for the tips i have a disaster to clean.... Yikes!!!!

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By Bev (Guest Post)
August 16, 20040 found this helpful


I loved these tips and they are such commonsense steps that are great.
However, one thing I can speak of from experience is that if you are challenged in the area of organising yourself, these steps can be rather difficult.
If you are a born organised person, then those steps shouldn't be too much bother.... but... here's the catch.
What do you do when 1. You go to clean your room and you get sidetracked? 2. The room looks so disorganised that the steps go out the window and you try your best but nothing seems to get done? or 3. You throw your hands up and give up in disgust?

When I am totally overwhelmed I spend 10 or 15 minutes on one task only. That may be going through papers that have been thrown on the floor. I don't try and recycle but I have 2 piles: 1) A throw away pile and 2) A filing away pile. The important papers are stacked in a neat pile and when I have finished that task I then put them away in a safe place (preferably filed).
Your room may not look any different, but in 5-15 minutes you have made a dent in the chaos.

I never try to clean up a room in one hit, unless I'm in a total panic because visitors are coming. In that case everything gets thrown into a huge garbage (trash) bag and put somewhere conspicuous.
However, I know that if I spend at least 5-15 minutes a day in my worst room, my house eventually gets tidy.
If you don't believe me, check out
I'm an Aussie flybaby who was living in chaos and now is happyily fluttering.

God bless


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By ashlee (Guest Post)
December 5, 20040 found this helpful

thank you so much susan!

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By kylee (Guest Post)
December 9, 20040 found this helpful

1.) take everything out. 2.) sort into piles(a keep pile, a toss pile, and a pile that you can give away to goodwill or something 3.) get everything that you arent keeping out of the room(garbage in the trash, donations in a box or on a shelf) 4.) organize into piles(games, clothes, toys, etc.) 5.)find things that you can store your stuff in(old boxes, crates, etc.)6.) put in hooks or nails( for belts and other things like that) 7.) hang up clothes or put them on shelves! 8.) put any other thing in a storage unit or on a shelf 8.) pick up anything that is on the floor and put it in the place that it's supposed to go.(if it doesnt have a place get it out of there!) 9.) enjoy a clean closet!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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By Dorothy (Guest Post)
December 23, 20040 found this helpful

Thanks sooo much! i now have a clean room woot! thanks again

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By Zeley (Guest Post)
January 15, 20050 found this helpful

These are really good tips. Thanks a lot!!!

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By jessie (Guest Post)
January 17, 20050 found this helpful

Every day think to clean but I do something else.

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By ~MaRiAh~ (Guest Post)
February 13, 20050 found this helpful

That was awsome it really helped thanks!

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By Rachel (Guest Post)
September 4, 20050 found this helpful

Dear evreyone ummm i NEED HELP!i try and i try but the clutter keeps pyling up.....and i need tips for a kid since im 12 years old and im new to this site...
please help me!! ive had a messy room for years and im tired of it.

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By Messy Frog (Guest Post)
September 2, 20060 found this helpful

I am almost forty years old and I have had messy rooms for at least seven years. I am going to try the plastic boxes idea I think "wheelbarrow" recommended in another thread. For me, it's obviously in a chronic state. I have two rooms full of stuff. I have tons of papers that I can't get rid of. Such as financial documents, or health insurance documents, or automobile insurance records, a lot of business contacts, etc.... important stuff! Yet I find it incredibly difficult to organize them. Plus, I have tons of other important info. And all of my forty years of stuff, I only have about 25 square feet of free space in which to put them. So it's really going to be a toughie. The bookshelves and cupboards are 100% filled. My landlord won't let me put any more file cabinets in my room. The closets are 99.9% filled, so I am also thinking of giving a lot of my clothes to the poor. I hope to post back with my (positive!!) results.

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By megan (Guest Post)
October 20, 20080 found this helpful


Step 1: Pick up all clothes and put them in you laundry basket.

Step 2: Pick up all books and magazines.

Step 3: Pick up all papers you are going to keep.

Step 4: Pick up all toys and games.

Step 5: Pick up all arts and crafts.

Step 6: Pick up all shoes.

Step 7: Pick up all purses.

Step 8: Pick up all trash.

Step 9: Make your bed.

Step 10: Mop or vacuum.



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October 1, 2009

My 11 year old daughter cleans her room once a month and it keeps getting messy again. What should she do to keep her room clean?

By hannah from Sapulpa, OK


October 1, 20090 found this helpful

Rewards and charts! For every day the room stays clean she gets points after so many points are earned she gets a reward that you have both agreed on.
Remind her that her things cost money, and leaving them around where they can be ruined shows a lack of responsiablity and respect.

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October 2, 20090 found this helpful

Even though the point system is a bit childish and I'm sure she may not want to be treated like a "baby", you can make it work! Reward with good things. For example, when she gets 50 points earned, she can get a new lamp, bedding, etc. And if you own the house, 50 pts can buy her paint to paint the walls.

That way she works her way to a new bedroom design that she creates and will keep the room clean so she can buy a matching bean bag chair or that vanity from the thrift store or whatever. I think that would be a fun thing. And as she gets older she will want to change decor and have to keep working at it. 50 pts, wouldn't take too long. 1 point a day for cleaning room and 1 point or so a day for household chores like dishes, etc.

You can keep a jar of pennies to keep track of her points. Just put it far away so she cant sneak some in there. 50 points would come out to about $25-40. It would take a month or so to get 50 pts to buy something, therefore its not TOO bad of a cost.

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October 2, 20090 found this helpful

Are you talking unsanitary or just messy. For unsanitary: I would insist on no food or drink allowed in her room at any time. All dirty laundry immediatly taken to the laundry room or any clean clothes that had been taken to her room that day be put away by her. Bed made each day & sheets changed at a minimum of 1 time a week on a set day. For messy after a real good cleaning to the bedroom start this: My daughter has built in a time right before bedtime that my grandchildren pick up their rooms right before climbing into bed. She goes to their rooms to do night prayers and will look around and point out something if it is missed otherwise they proceed with prayers. This seems to work for her pretty good.

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October 2, 20090 found this helpful

I think the problem is your frequency; once a month isn't often enough to keep any area clean, much less a bedroom. I've instituted a Friday after school pick up time this year (no homework, right? What are you complaining about?).

It seems to be working. The problem with infrequent cleaning, in my life as well, is that it gets overwhelming. I'm overwhelmed by my daughter's room, and I'm pushing 40 now, so how must she feel?

So after the big clean on the month, do a Friday pick up. Mostly for us that means: nothing on the floor, clean off the desk, and do your laundry. Usually that's only one or two loads. Then you can do what you want for the weekend. Within reason. :-) Good luck!

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October 3, 20090 found this helpful

Get her a couple of large wicker baskets with lids to toss clothes into as she takes them off; one is for laundry (dirty clothes) and the other is for "I took it out of the closet to try it on and decided not to wear it, but didn't feel like hanging it back up" clothes that are still clean. Then she can hang these up when she "can't find anything to wear" because all her clothes will be in the basket. This will keep the clothes out of sight and in one place instead of scattered all over the room. If she has a desk, put baskets on and or under the desk to toss magazines, papers, books, etc. in until she sorts them.

You can also put baskets under the bed for shoes, etc. Best thing is to label all the baskets so the stuff gets sorted as it is tossed into the right basket.It keeps the room tidy, because it is easy for her to toss things into baskets instead of all over the room. This works for my kids! Each weekend, they go through one basket and sort and put away whatever is in the basket. Takes about 20 minutes and their rooms always look tidy.

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