Simplified Room Cleaning for Kids

How does it happen? Every few weeks I am forced to go into my youngest boys' bedroom, after finding it increasingly messy when I tuck them in at night, and do a thorough cleaning. While I clean, I utter encouraging words such as, "How did this happen?", "Why do you have ten pairs of socks under your bed" and "You are not the two little pigs!". 

As I exclaim in shock and awe, I scrape the underbed contents and begin sorting. I invariably find an odd assortment of dusty stuffed animals, mismatched socks, dog-eared books and scattered bits of that bane of my existence,

To give my young boys a little credit, I must say that their room is quite small and it is rather hard to tell which of the two who share it is the worst perpetrator. Making beds and closing drawers are two basic daily duties that should be routine at this point, but as my son pointed out to me when I took the photos, "This is going to look bad for you", and the truth is that if it isn't a routine, it means that I haven't been following through. 

If I daily check their room to make sure those things are done and then give appropriate consequences when they are left undone, it will eventually become a habit for them. However, if I go in there once a month when it has become unbearable, rant and rave over the mess and then ignore it again until next month, I will have taught them nothing, except perhaps that I am inconsistent with my expectations.

As with any task which we expect our children to do, there are a few basic ideas for making it doable.
1. Keep it simple. Easy to pull up blankets, or a bottom sheet with duvet cover will make bed making do-able for the youngest of children.
2. Keep it organized. We try really hard to only have a few categories of toys in our home, and especially in the rooms. This particular room has a bin for stuffed animals, a bin for dress up, a book-shelf with special books, a small toy bin for toy animals, and hooks for back packs. There is also an under-bed drawer for Legos, those evil little offenders of room cleanliness.
3. Keep a minimum of stuff. This room does not have a closet. When we remodeled, we had to take the closet out for use as a hallway and so it is a little awkward for clothes storage. We keep the boys better clothes hanging up in our closet and they are just responsible for a few drawers of everyday clothes. Keeping these everyday clothes, jammies and underthings weeded through regularly makes it much easier for the boys to put their clothes away in the proper drawers. A few categories of toys are kept in their own individual bins.
This is no designer bedroom. With seven children at home, we are just one step away from having utilitarian dorm rooms, but helping these young men develop good habits that will carry them into adulthood is our responsibility as parents. 

Another post on cleaning kids rooms
And one with a great cleaning checklist here
And this one on our responsibility as parents


  1. This was timely. I was just complaining about the endless battle to get laundry put away. My kids are old enough that I expect them to put their own stuff away after they wash it. For the past week, I've been stumbling over their baskets in the hallway.

    Before I had time to scold them, I realized that I was equally guilty. My own laundry has been sitting in baskets (in my closet) for weeks on end. I realized that it isn't fair or reasonable to expect my kids to keep house better than I do and that I needed to start with my OWN self discipline before moving to theirs.

    1. So true Susan, and the subject of one of the posts I linked to as well. As we set an example and remain consistent good habits will begin to form.
      Thanks for visiting!

  2. They have such a cute little room. I love it. I can assure you that you are not alone. As the messy mom, I have equally messy kiddos (some worse than others). This is great advice though. Thanks!

    1. Thanks Natalie, after reading some responses on FB I can see that the moms who have clean kids rooms give consistent consequences. I would often rather snuggle on the couch and then check the rooms, balance is probably a key here. Hope your week was great!

  3. I like your tips! I also have kids and I know how it is in their room. Thanks for the post! I am ready to try anything in order to keep their room less messy!

  4. You are so welcome Marlene, keeping kids rooms clean is a constant battle but I know it will pay off in the long run.