Organizing Kids’ Rooms
I posted a few tips about getting kid’s rooms decluttered but once you get it together, how do you get them to keep it that way?
One thing is to place a chart at their eye level. We often put the chore charts in the kitchen, which is fine, but you might consider putting a chore chart with just bedroom chores in their rooms. Write or place pictures of things like make your bed, pick up clothes, pick up toys and so on and, as with other charts, be sure to give lots of praise, stars or stickers when they do a good job. Kids tend to respond better to things that are put in writing (or in pictures) than they do with barked orders.
Train your kids. Show them how to do a chore. Then show them again and then show them again and again and again. We often think if we show children something once, twice or even three times they should be able to do it on their own but they can’t always learn things that fast. When I start a new job, if they show me how to do a job I have never done before for just one or two days, I can’t always get it. I would become very overwhelmed, discouraged and stressed. A good company will train you for at least two weeks every day. Our children need the same training and more.
Be specific when you tell a child to do something. Their idea of a clean room and yours are worlds apart. If you say, “Pick up your room,” don’t be surprised if they pick up two things and call it good. You need to say something like, “Pick up everything off of your floor.”
Work with your children. Whether you are an adult or child, you feel so much more motivated to do a job when you have someone helping you or encouraging you on. How many of you come to our website for encouragement and motivation? Children need encouragement from their parents so when you can, work together on their rooms, especially if they need a big clean up.
Make any cleaning up project a game. I was watching my grandkids today while Tawra was at the doctor’s office and told the boys I would race them to see if they could pick up all of the toys in the living room before I cleared the kitchen table and counters. You never saw any kids move as fast as they did trying to beat me. Of course I let them win.
I also get them to see if they can clean their rooms in less then 10 minutes or we all see how fast we can pick up 10, 15, 20 items.
We all do a better job if we have the proper tools, so buy small sized cleaning things for them like little brooms, dust pans, small dust rags (socks made into hand puppets are fun) and stools so they can reach things.
The biggest factor in helping control kids’ rooms is to get rid as much excess stuff as you can. They don’t need 50 race cars, 25 dolls or a shoe box crammed full of crayons. I used to have one box of 24 crayons in my room and you had better believe I took care of them because I didn’t want to lose that “special” color. If you don’t think your children have that many things, lay out their dolls, cars and other toys and count how many they have. I think you will be shocked.
Be sure to check out our Saving With Kids e-Book Series for many more tips like these.
Warning: Don’t become discouraged. It may be that only a couple of tips from this article may work for you. It has been a never ending battle throughout the ages (well maybe for the last 50 years) to get kids to pick up their rooms and to find functional ways to store things. Bigger people than I have tried to find the answer and so far have failed. Even if they get the storage down to a science, getting the kids to use the storage has failed.
The main thing to keep in mind is not to give up. It takes patience, time and work. This is one area where you won’t see the rewards of your hard work for many years – like about 20-30 years, but it will happen. It comes when your 20 year old son takes your trash out without being told. You sit there in amazement and wonder, “When and how did this happen?” Then there is the phone call from your daughter bemoaning the fact she can’t get the kids to keep their rooms clean.
Ahhhh, the sweet sweet rewards of seeing your offspring being tortured in the same way they tortured you years earlier! : ) : ) : )
jill you are amazing… thanks so much for the timely (again) post! …
between helping my son and daughter with their businesses and plus working my own and taking care of my sick hubby full time, i literally have no energy to do any housework…
i was telling the kids (even tho my daughter lives on her own) bc of all of this help i am giving they will have to come and help me or they can hire someone to help me if they are too busy…
i know when i was growing up, my mom kept our rooms down to a minimum… hardly any toys, books, mags or anything… growing up i was only allowed up to 2 dolls or stuffed animals (her thinking was how many does one need to dress up their bed after it was made…)… any books, well she never believed in buying books, they needed to be from the library only… and back when i was young, i dont believe we have movies we could rent/buy… whatever came on the tv was what we saw, if not, then go outside and play…
i really hate to say this, but i truly believe that yes things were basically the same (living within your means, saving, etc) but it was still a simpler time…
i remember when my one sister got cable … that was a complete shock… but today everyone who wants to watch any kind of tv has to have cable… bc those converter boxes do not generally work (this is a comment from a lady i work with at the paper routes; she has a converter box, rabbit ears and foil going around the room and they still cant pick up any channels and she just refuses to get cable! … and she does not have or wants a computer (another expense)… so that is why she can read the paper for free (she is a paper carrier) and that suits her just fine)…
i know the only mags we got in the house was either mccalls (they are out of business now) and ladies home journal and good housekeeping… but that was only sporadically…
again thanks for the timely post… i thoroughly enjoyed reading it (actually i love reading all of the posts!)…
i hope the family is fine… :D
the heat is here! its soooo hot and humid already today.. ugh~ … hehehe :D
One thing I found hard to teach my two boys was how to make a bed. So I finally gave up on having the top sheet.
They would put it on tucked in with the hospital corners and every morning the sheet was untucked and scrunched at the foot of the bed.
So after about a year of that I finally bought light weight comforters so the top sheet was made into curtains. I had matching curtains for the bed sheets which made the room look nicer. The comforters could be washed when I did the laundry. The only reason top sheets came into existence was so the heavy quilts didn’t have to be washed as often.
I changed many things I was taught by my mother so that they fit into our family life. I kept the things that fit and modified or gave up on some things that definetly just made life difficult.
This is a good tip grandma. My daughter had the same problem so she uses a comforter too. I also mentioned in the kids e book to use a sleeping bag instead of a comforter because it can do double duty for when the kids need a sleeping bag for a sleep over or a camping trip.
Thanks for the ideas with biscuits. I too don’t like the mix biscuits but for some reason do like to use it when I make drop biscuits or dumplings. I’m not sure why. For those of you with Dining on a Dime check out our recipes for biscuits in there. We have some really good from scratch ones including the cheese biscuit they serve at Red Lobster.
my daughter makes those biscuits all of the time jill… the homemade ones that are like the red lobster ones… are they delish? … we love them! …
she made us (and for her and her fiance) … well she made a huge pot of the red beans (and we ate it over the rice)… i am not sure what she did but it was good even cold!… i am not a big bean person but i am trying very hard to have more in our diets, and less red meat … more fish too (but i still love my chicken!)…
when she shares her recipe, i will send it to you too… it had the right about of spices too… and it tasted like the ones made at this mexican restaurant i normally go to just to get hte beans … i make my own but my i never put the right spices in it or not enuff and the fact that she had it the way i liked it (like soupy like and chunky) … even hubby said it was goood! …
Great website! I just discovered you yesterday and so far I have read back through last October. I wanted to mention to you the great website flylady.net. She has lots of tips for organizing and budgeting and getting your whole family involved. It can never hurt to have too many resources available.
Thanks for all you do.
Thank you! I have little ones and felt guilty about getting rid of so many toys that they got over the course of their lives. When we moved I ruthlessly threw out duplicates and ones that were no longer played with. Even though they have less toys the kids are so much happier and so am I! Even though I’m only 31 years old I think childhood is so much more complicated then when I was a kid. Less toys makes more time for playing and less time picking them up!
I also think that it is important to mention that you need to have places for everything in a kids room. For example if you don’t give a kid a hamper where are they going to put their clothes except everywhere? Same with toy boxes, bookshelves, etc. I love my mother dearly but one of my big frustrations growing up was she would tell me to clean my room and literally the only things I had were a bed a dresser and a nightstand. I remember just sitting there frustrated because I couldn’t figure out where to put everything.
Jen this is one of my pet peeves too is not having a hamper in kids rooms. Parents holler because the kids have clothes all over the floor but where do the expect them to put them.
One tip on clothes.
I have three girls and after church twice a week I couldn’t get them to hang up clothes. My husband would come in,” clean up hurry up”. Yeah all done except they would throw Anything on the floor in the hamper clean clothes hangup clothes ect. Finally after a long time I figured out that a basket on a different side that was hangup clothes only worked no more clean clothes in hamper.
I ‘m much happier. You have to find a middle.
I LOVE THIS SITE! What a life saver! I used to read it “occasionally” – I work at home on the computer and don’t always have time to go to all the many helpful websites that are available. Now that my husband and I received temporary custody of 3 little ones-although the 14 year old is the same size (ht. and wt.) as my husband, the 6 year old and nearly 4 year old (not potty trained – HELP! ANYONE?)are a handful – I find this site a NECESSITY. I was standing at our local “free food” panty the other day crying – never have had to turn to such a desperate measure – and a man helped carry the box and bag of groceries to the car then hugged me and said, “It will get better!” This site and your posts, Jill, and all the ladies posts, have made things better! God Bless you real good! Sometimes God puts us in a low place to make us realize we have to look UP (to Him!). Again, Thank YOU!
I just wanted to say thank you for all the inspiration to declutter, clean and organize to achieve a more peaceful life. I love how you present all your ideas in such a way that makes me know I can achieve similar results. You are a blessing.
Joanne Sgrignoli Boyd
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your website, information, your style! I love it all. I’ve been sharing your articles with my daughter. I’m hooked! Just wanted you to know how thankful I am for down-to-earth, simple solutions to every day problems and challenges. What a BLESSING you are!
Thank you for this article and your website. As a working mom, I’ve been trying to do better at having better meals to cook when I get home.
This is the next thing that I want to work on – teaching my daughter to help with chores, hopefully something that we can do together. My husband, my daughter and I already take turns cleaning the litter box, but when it’s her turn, I don’t always remember to remind her and follow up to see if its been done or not, so therefore it doesn’t get done for a couple of days.
Unfortunately, even though she’s only going to be in 5th grade, I’m already dreading the 2 hours/ night of homework that she’ll have like she did last year. By the time she’s done, I’ve already made dinner and it’s on the table, so there’s no opportunity to for me to teach her what little I’ve learned about cooking and preparing meals – (a lot of it from your website :).
After dinner, I feel we all need some down time after having to work and going to school all day, so most of the household chores gets put off until Saturday. Except of course for the logistics of getting ready for the next day – making lunches, taking showers and sometimes a load of laudry.
When my kids were little (age 5 and up), at the beginning of December, I would talk to them and explain that since they were going to get new toys for Christmas, they should go through their old stuff to help de-clutter. There were two piles; one of good condition stuff to go to the local thrift store, and a garbage pile. I explained that the thrift shop stuff would help other families provide for their kids. They could keep or give away whatever they liked. It didn’t take them long to figure out that they wanted to give away what they no longer played with, and that thrift shop donations had to be good quality. This is a tradition that my grown son now practices with his children. I also used to bag up some of their toys and store them away for up to 6 months. Then when the kids were “bored” with their toys, they could change them out, and then store what they were playing with for 6 months. My kids never had tons of toys, but this still worked with even a modest amount of possessions, and they were always happy to freshen up their toy box.