How to Get Your Kids to Clean Up Their Rooms

How to Get Your Kids to Clean Up Their Rooms

Friends, I want to introduce you to one of my interns, Paula Tobey. She is an intern, but that’s so misleading, since she has a full-on grown up ministry of her own. (See her links at the bottom of this article.)         

“How do I get my child to clean up his room?” is one of the most common questions I get when discussing Clutter Free or my organizing book The Get Yourself Organized Project.   

If you want a non-nagging way to help your kids clean up – read on…How to Get Your Kids to Clean Up Their Rooms

How to Get Your Kids to Clean Up Their Rooms

Do you struggle with kids who don’t seem to understand how to throw dirty clothes in a hamper that lies only feet beyond the spot they took off their stinky socks? Do you also battle with not enough time to get your house cleaned (which, let’s be honest, includes picking up your children’s rooms too, making dinner, and feeding all the pets)?

Could you benefit from a few tips that not only will help save you time, but effort in not picking up so much after others? Well, I have some great news for you, my friend, there IS a way!

I read an article a mom wrote into a parenting magazine discussing how she got her eleven year old son to help clean their house for his upcoming birthday party.  She found a system that encouraged him to get the job done.  Usually it was always a fight to get him to help clean. Maybe you can identify with this.  He would never help, complained, and ultimately made the job harder.  But this time, she decided to do something different and used a system someone taught her.

In her words, “I told him we were going to spend 15 minutes at a time in each room, and when the timer went off, we would switch rooms. I also told him that every 4th 15 minute segment, we could do whatever we wanted (Video games for him). I let him pick which room to do next, and told him that if he did this with me, he could pick anywhere to go for lunch.”

Her next part really moved me: “From 8am-11am, he worked his little heart out for 45 minutes out of every hour with me. He even brought tears to my eyes when he reminded me that I needed to come back to the room we were working on as I had gotten distracted in the kitchen for a minute. We had such a pleasant day and a nice lunch at his favorite restaurant.”

book 51e4ibUNgmL._UY250_How valuable was this one tip to her? She says it “saved the relationship that I have with my son. It is his eleventh birthday today, and I have never felt closer to him!” This mom realized that cleaning up her son’s room was the goal but building their relationship in the process was the bigger win!

Using our time wisely seems to be a big challenge with parents and their children. Often we are so rushed to get things done that we don’t take the time to properly plan out what it is we are going to do.  Then when it does not go as well as we thought it would, (and let’s be real- often life with kids does not go according to plan J ) we can feel defeated. There are many tools available to parents to help them manage their time and their children’s time. If you invest time planning before asking your child to help with something, it will pay off in many ways.

What my experience has taught me is sharpening my tools requires change. We need to change and grow to be better moms and dads for our kids, because that’s what they need. And if that means investing in ourselves to help change our family’s legacy, isn’t that a worthy investment?


Paula Tobey is a Parenting Coach for families needing extra support getting their families healthier in a Physical, Emotional, Educational, Financial or Spiritual way. She works with family’s one on one and in groups to help them become stronger, happier and healthier. Her website is  and she can also be found at

Do you sometimes feel like the woman in the story did?  Wouldn’t it be great if you had a tangible resource and system to help get your home cleaned up that in turn, saves you time by teaching the system to your kids? Well, the “Get Yourself Organized Project” may be just one of those tools to help you do that. In this book you will get easy and effective ways to restore peace to your everyday life by adding simple and manageable long-term solutions for organizing any room in your home (and keeping it that way).  It also has a realistic way to de-stress a busy schedule and has strategies for efficient shopping, meal preparation, cleaning, and more.

Click here for more information about the book.



Get Yourself Organized in 2013: How to Organize Toys (Your Kid’s or Yours)

Get Yourself Organized in 2013: How to Organize Toys (Your Kid’s or Yours)

Donate ToysGet Yourself Organized in 2013: How to Organize Toys (Your Kid’s or Yours)

I was sitting down with a couple of young, got-it-together moms, brainstorming areas of the house that they needed help with getting organized. When one of them said “Toys” they looked at each other and said “YES!”

Oh I remember the days of stepping on Barbie’s shoes and seeing my living room covered in car tracks. The toys seemed to take a life of their own and movie around at night after I’d cleaned them up. The movie “Toy Story” seemed more like a documentary to me than a cartoon.

If you don’t have kids, or your kids toys are things like iPads, then choose an area of your own “toys” to start working on. Maybe it’s a hobby, a craft area, the “sports area” of your garage, or a collection of some sort – the principles are the same.

When it comes to toys (or almost any other area of your home,) the most important thing to do is figure out what you are keeping, what you are giving away, and what you are recycling/throwing away.

  1. The first thing to do is to get all the toys into one area. (If you have more than one major area for toys, say your daughter’s room and your son’s room, or a play room and a child’s room, work on one area at a time.) Get stray toys and toy parts into the toy area.
  2. I highly suggest my Three Boxes, Two Bag Method in quick cleaning any area.
  3. As you are sorting through toys, realize that the reason they are often so hard to organize if there are probably plenty of things that your kids no longer use floating around in there. The less you have to manage, the easier keeping organized will be.
  4. When you are done with this process, you will have a bag of things to recycle, a bag of trash (how did garbage get into the kids toy box? It’s always a mystery…) a box of things to donate, and a box of things to put back into other rooms of the house. (Like stray shoes, socks, the dog’s collar, etc.)
  5. Now that you’re starting with a clean (or cleaner) area, it’s time to take a good hard look at what kind of toys your kids have, and how to organize them. Your daughter who keeps a vet office worth of stuffed animals has different needs than your so who collects Matchbox Cars. Here are some ideas from some smart and toy-savvy moms.

Toy Management

Creating a Toy Library

“Turn a closet into a “toy closet” All toys are stored in organized, labeled containers and kids can only play with one bin of toys at a time. They have to turn in one bin before they can play with another!” Alexia Staelens


Stuffed Animals

“A toy hammock is a great idea, the kids can just toss stuffed animals up there and off the floor.” Robin Neil

A Million Little Pieces

“I think I should write a book called 101 uses for an over the door shoe organizer. They work here too, especially for a girls room! Think Barbies, Barbie clothes, Polly Pockets, etc. Avoid toy boxes or anything deep that is the chasm of hopelessness! Toys go in but they don’t come out! (well at least until you have thrown away every other part to the toy, THEN it shows up!)” Robin Neil

“I’m a Lego organizer freak these days. Directions, pieces all in a see through container with a photo label on the box. Yes, they are kept up so a parent has access to hand out. Bins for easy clean up and a designate area for play. I have let go of “perfect” separation of toys, as long as the boys are happy and can find their stuff, I’m happy.” Stephanie Helder

Less is More

“Rotate toys—less toys equals more attention focused on what they do have. Have the children pick 3 or 4 “favorites” at a birthday or Christmas and put the rest out of sight. When their interest starts to fade with, say, the tea set Aunt June got them, you put it in the closet and pull out the box of dress up that Grandma sent. We go through every 3 months or so and switch out toys (right now its dress up, art tower, 4 board games & Lego’s). Christy Taylor

“Spring Cleaning” happens every season at our house. After birthdays and Christmas, we also have a “Donation Station” where my kids can search through their piles of toys and other things that have accumulated and give them to the Salvation Army or other charity. We throw theCelebration Freebie 1m in a huge bag and donate away.” Jenny Sulpizio

“Each birthday and Christmas the boys have to ‘give to others who have less than they do.’ For every new toy that comes in, one goes out. It’s a lesson on giving and curbs the over-abundance of ‘stuff.’” Stephanie Helder

Oh – and to keep track of all those Birthdays and other special celebrations, for members of my Facebook Page you can download a year of beautiful calendars to track. I use these in conjunction with my stockpile of birthday and anniversary cards to stay on top of sending a little love. (Plus I keep a stack of Starbucks cards – just in case.) Go over and download it now!

Tell me your best toy organization trick in the comments below.