Friday, November 19, 2010

Clean your room!

How many times have you said this to your child? Maybe at least 50 times in one day? Or does it just feel that way sometimes?

My stepsons always shared a room up until a couple of years ago and when we put them in separate rooms we soon realized which one was messy. My younger stepson Nathan had been the culprit all these years. Not to say he didn’t have some help from his older brother on some messes, but there was a distinct difference in how these two boys kept their rooms.

My years of preaching “pick everything up off of the floor” and “take your dirty clothes to the laundry” seem to have sunk in with Josh, but Nathan not so much. He will be 11 this December and his teachers recently had some concerns about his lack of organization. This made me think -- how could I expect him to be organized in his daily routine when I allow him to keep his room so cluttered and messy? It was time for an intervention!

We came home and took action together. Nathan and I worked in his room for over an hour cleaning out drawers, throwing away items and making a designated place for all of his things. I am embarrassed to say that we found probably a month’s worth of clothing he had stuffed away in various places in his room, all that needed to be laundered.  

We moved the large dresser into his brother’s room since Nathan had drawers as part of his bed he could use. See what I learned with him is the more drawer space he had the more random things he would put in drawers, like paper, toys, items he found with his metal detector like a big metal pipe. Yes, that’s right, a metal pipe. Can’t imagine why he couldn’t find his socks or underwear.

Also got him a dry erase weekly calendar with a notes section to remind him of those important tasks and also have a new desk on the list of things to purchase.

I will admit that I like things to be clean and have some type of order. I think the months of us saying “clean your room” really weren’t fair instructions for Nathan.  In his mind that meant throw everything in his closet, shut it, sort of kind of make the bed, hide stuff behind his futon and smile and say, “yes it’s clean!” I knew full well it wasn’t clean by my standards but with our busy lives I probably convinced myself that “oh well, if he wants to live in that mess that is his decision.”

And now, just as with anything new, we have to help him maintain his new, clean room.  That means checking, asking, inspecting each time to make sure he has cleaned up his room and left the bathroom in good shape. Any other tips on keeping the room clean from you pros out there?

Makala Pollard
Sr. Marketing Specialist
Texas Health Resources

1 comment:

  1. has some really good suggestions on helping kids not live in CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome). They have "Missions" for kids--something quick that helps them organize and clean up.