A long time ago, our ancestors devised a great architectural achievement. They created a separate bedroom for their children. Almost immediately, parents began to wonder, “How do we get our kids to clean their rooms?”

I will tell you the answer. My parents figured it out, and passed this super secret glob of wisdom down to my sister and I. Since my sister is not telling you, I will.

Why? Because the world needs this information. But first, the background.

Why I didn’t want to clean my room

When I was about eight years old, my parents did the coolest thing. They told my sister and I that we could decorate our own room! The components had to be somewhat budget friendly, of course, but the idea having that much control over our environment was exciting! We had one wall of wallpaper to pick out, paint for the other walls, a bedspread and curtains.

So, with stars in my eyes, I picked out the pieces. To this day, I remember the pink rose bedspread and matching curtains from the JCPenny catalog that called out my name. I also remember the soft pink roses on the wallpaper that had a slight pearl finish that looked SO Victorian.

I could not WAIT to see it all pulled together! What could go wrong?!?

The paint went on the walls, and I remember thinking that this was not going to turn out like my dreams already. It was a salmon color, now that it was on the walls. My heart sank.

From there it got worse. The bedspread and curtains were a bright pink. Beautiful on their own, but against salmon pink walls, not so much.

The wallpaper then went up. From there on, I knew I was going to love the pieces of my room, but altogether, no matter how clean or how cute the knick-knacks, I was going to hate it.

For about five years, I did just that.

And it was never clean. Why bother? I was going to hate it anyway.


Then one day, my parents decided it was time we made over our rooms again. Being a tween and a teen, we had outgrown the feel of the first makeover. Frankly, I had outgrown mine by the time I realized there was more than one color of pink in the decorating world; not only did they not always match, but they could be dreadful together.

I chose white. Plain white, and everything white. White always matches white – I was safe there. Still, I was nervous. Here I am a teen, and if I can’t pick out stuff for my room, what hope was there for me as an adult?!?

I LOVED IT! The room became a haven for those teen years, and because it looked so nice, I wanted to keep it clean. By then, my mother’s “Housekeeper’s pride” had already been instilled in me.

Parents Set the Example

My reasonably neat parents (they were neat, but didn’t let cleaning and organizing rule their lives), set a good example of having an organized home. They were of the generation that started crossing traditional gender role lines, but cleaning the house remained Mom’s job, and the garage was Dad’s.

Fortunately they had two daughters, so Mom had help.

Saturday mornings were cleaning days. My sister and I were to clean our rooms, then help Mom with the living areas.

When we were done, she would check everything we did over, and then commend us for it. We beamed. Our reward was frozen pizza, salad with a homemade dressing (which to this day I call, “salad frosting”), and soda. Dad was a meat and potatoes kind of guy, so our weekend meal was a big deal to us. It felt contraband, but since he was out fishing, we were golden. On shopping days, we even ate fast food out. There was no stopping us!

Commendation Makes a Difference

Each and every time we switched up things in our room, we did a big reveal for our sister and our mom, and the other two would just RAVE about how beautiful it was and talk about how we liked each little thing we noticed about the new look.

This instilled pride in me for a home well cared-for. To this day, my sister and I both keep a reasonably neat home.

Need a little more help?

Please note that I use affiliate links at no further cost to you. I may, however, get a commission on things you purchase from these links. Please see my disclaimers for more information.

Want to make sure the kid has what they need to get the job done?

Check out my list of Top 10 Must Have Cleaning Tools here.

A few unique items to help make their room their haven:

For those who love the night sky, a cozy blanket that has glow in the dark constellations:

For the music lovers, a way to keep things off the floor:

The perfect desk for a small room or a minimalist study area. Enough space to work, but not enough for papers to pile up:

For the bookworm, a chair that feels like a cocoon, but which allows the light in to read by:

Thanks so much for reading! Come along with me as we journey through the little things that make adulting just a little easier. How? Subscribe below:

2 Comments on “How to Get a Kid to Clean Their Room


Enjoy this blog? Please share:

%d bloggers like this: