I know I deserve it after the mess that I put my parents’ through, but I had high hopes that I wouldn’t have slobs for children.  I’ve told you before about how my room was so messy when I was growing up that a police officer inspecting our house thought my room had been ransacked by a criminal!  ::hangs head in shame::

I don’t believe in karma, but I know deep down my parents are secretly snickering inside when they hear me complain about my children’s messy rooms, getting a taste of my old medicine.

My daughter is a pack rat.  She loves to collect every little thing and create “special” piles of her creations and unique decorative touches, AKA junk all over the place.  While I want to respect her personality and uniqueness, It’s a bit maddening.  Truly it is. I’m not one that expects perfection.  Truthfully I hate cleaning, but my family thrives in a semi-tidy home.  Lord knows, I have trouble cleaning to this day.  Kitchen, anyone?  It’s a struggle.

I found myself going around and around with my daughter every few days about cleaning her room.  Toys everywhere.  Barbies from one end of the room to the next.  Pillows on the floor.  Clothes all over the place.  Knick knacks in crazy places.

She would start to clean her room and then within a few minutes, she would be overwhelmed and not know what to do next.  Truthfully cleaning her room would always require my help and would take at least an hour.  It was out of control.

I finally got smart and realized that I was part of the problem. I had set her up to fail.   It was indeed overwhelming and it really was difficult for her to keep her room clean because of two reasons.

1.  Too much stuff
2.  No simple maintenance routine

So we got to work and remedied those two problems in both of my children’s rooms.

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How to Keep a Child’s Room Clean

Step 1:  De-clutter De-lutter De-clutter

Toys

We removed ALL of the toys from her bedroom except for some stuffed animals, which I’m still trying to get her to weed through.  This alone has made a world of difference in her ability to keep her room clean.  With all of the toys gone from her room, there really isn’t as much of an opportunity to make a mess.  What did we do with the toys?  We got rid of many of them, but we kept her doll house and Barbies, My little Ponies, American Girl doll, and a couple of other things.  They are now on our porch/playroom, which also got a major overhaul and de-cluttering session as well.

Furniture

I intentionally kept her furniture minimal.  She has a bed, dresser, and nightstand.  I would get rid of the nightstand as well, but it holds her lamp, which she uses and more books that won’t fit in the book sling.  She used to have a little chair in her room, a large doll house, and bins.  In our case, more furniture just meant more places to pile on junk, so we got rid of them.  I also moved her bed to the middle of the room to make it easier for her to make.  When it was up against the wall, it was a little tricky to get the blankets straight.

Bedding

Bedding was simplified.  We used to have decorative pillows and extra blankets, but I got rid of those.  Most of the time they would end up on the floor anyway.  I’d rather have a simple and tidy room than a well decorated mess.  Now her bedding consists of her sheets, quilt, and pillow.  The other pillow is for her doll that sleeps with her.  🙂

Clothing
We weeded out a lot of unnecessary clothing from her closet and dresser.  With fewer clothes, it’s less opportunity for a mess.  Clothes that didn’t fit, got very little wear, or just impractical got the boot.  I also loosened up about how she keeps her dresser.  Socks and underwear go in the top drawer, pjs in the second, t-shirts in the third, and swimsuits and scarves in the bottom drawer.  As long as they get in those spots, it makes no difference to me if they are shoved in there or folded.  I’d rather have her do it herself than demand it be perfect and it just be another task that I get irritated about and end up doing myself.

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Step 2:  Develop a Simple Maintenance Routine

We have developed a simple daily cleaning routine for our family.  You can read about that here.

As part of that routine, both of my kids are expected to make their beds every single morning and quickly pick up at night.  Both tasks should only take them about ten minutes to do.  It’s much less daunting than hours of cleaning an out of control bedroom.

I have found though that the uncluttered bedroom has made a WORLD of difference for us and makes the maintenance routine very easy.

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