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 How to Get a Kid to Declutter a Room

6 Simple Ways to Get Kids to De-Clutter

In my book the word clutter is a 4-letter word! And unfortunately I say it often, when telling my kids to "Clean Up!". I'd love to be able to eliminate that word from my vocabulary, but that's not going to happen until I de-clutter my house which always seems to be a work in progress. I'm sure many of you moms out there can relate!.

My oldest daughter enjoys a neat room, so when she was smaller I had no trouble getting her to pick up, but as the saying goes?a good thing never lasts. My second daughter was born and I'd swear that the minute she could walk she was creating HUGE clutter piles. Now those piles don't seem to bother her at all, but they drive my husband and me crazy!

It wasn't until I went into her room and found moldy, nasty dishes (several stashed under her desk) that I finally realized her clutter habits were a huge problem! I knew I had to do something, but asking her, begging her then finally yelling at her to clean-up didn't work. That's when I did some serious research, plotting and planning and came up with some ideas that actually did work.

The Gift of Giving Technique

One day I saw a preview for a TV show coming on about poor children in the U.S. This sparked a brilliant idea! I recorded the show and sat and watched it with my daughter and explained how lucky she was and unfortunate some other kids were. I then suggested that she choose some of her old, boring toys to give away to charity, so that we can make room for her birthday and Christmas gifts she'll be getting this year. To my pleasant surprise?she thought that was a great idea.

Keep or Give Away Process

Once I got her to agree to give away her old, boring toys and clothes, then we had to find those items. We decided to do it in stages and went into her room each day for about an hour, sorting and organizing. We created a Keep it and Give Away pile. I held up items and she'd say, "Keep it!" or "Give it Away" and I'd put it in that designated pile. At the end of the hour, we'd put all items she was keeping away in her bedroom and put the things in the Give Away pile into a box.

Snacks and Games

To keep the momentum flowing I'd make some goodies for our cleaning sessions. I brought in a pitcher of lemonade and some goldfish and we'd take snack breaks. I also challenged her to a "Who can pick up faster" game once in a while and we'd split the "Keep It!" pile in half and whoever put their items away first was the winner.

Give the Child Control Trick

I also let my daughter think that she was running the show by asking her which drawers she wanted to tackle that day and how she wanted to do the clean-up in the end. She loved thinking that she was in control!

Created a System of Organization

In the end, my daughter and I worked together to devise a smart system of how she was going to keep things organized. I let her decide which shelves would hold which items...not expecting her to designate her bottom shelves to her teddy bears, but at least they were neat. We also discussed the new rules in the house about keeping her room clean and decided that she'd do 5 minutes of maintenance cleaning every day after school?which she's stuck to so far.

Storage That Makes Sense

The last thing I did was rearranged her storage units like dressers, shelves, desk that the placement of her kids furniture was in an easily accessible spot. For instance, I put her laundry basket near where she keeps her night stuff, so when she got dressed in her pajamas, she could just pull off her clothes and toss them in the dirty laundry basket. I also put all her shirts and pants together and had her decide which drawers would hold what type of items. Lastly, I let her create labels for her dresser drawers with very cute artsy pictures to add a little fun to the organization process.

The Final Ta-da Moment!

The best part about this entire process was seeing my daughter's pride in what she accomplished. She now has friends over and they play in her room a lot of the time, where as before, most of their playtime was spent in all other parts of the house besides her messy room.

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