Take the frustration out of clean rooms

You know the golden rule? Treat others the way you want to be treated. I’d like to apply that today to our kids and their “clean” rooms. You know what I mean, when they’ve “cleaned” them but they are so not clean. That’s frustrating and it wastes a lot of time, doesn’t it? Not to mention the goodwill that dissipates during this battle.


But you know what? When I’m given a task from someone else, I really like step-by-step directions and clear definition of success, you know what I mean? Like, putting together a kid toy. I need directions AND I need to see what it is supposed to look like when I’m done.

cleanroompngSo, how about we afford the came courtesy to our kiddos? I’ve got this cool checklist for you to download. Here’s what I recommend:

Clean the room so it’s “mom clean.” Take photos. Print this checklist and those photos. Tape or glue the photos to the checklist and then post it in your kiddos room. Explain what each of the reminders are along with how the picture shows them exactly when they’ve achieved a clean room.

This is a great way to empower your kids. It gives them all the tools they need, it gives them clear steps on how to win. But it also puts the responsibility on them. So long as you don’t give in and require the full level of clean to be achieved before they’re done (hello, that’s more time to drink coffee uninterrupted mama, you can do this!) you’ll train them. If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll buck the system at first. It might take them forever to do it like my son. Eventually, through the years I’ve encouraged him so he knows he has all the power here. He’s in charge of how well and how quickly he cleans his room. How well and how quickly determines what he can do next. And no one controls those things except him. THAT is what I mean by empower.

Moreover, this is just another habit we want to send them out into the world with. We want to empower them so when we go to their homes in the future we’re not stepping over things as we walk in the door, you know what I mean?

I think we often think our kids know what we expect but we haven’t laid it out as clearly or explicitly or taken the time to actually teach them properly the first time. For example, the other day Chris was on Zach about the way he was cleaning the glass door. I told him, “I don’t think we’ve ever actually shown him how to clean a glass door.” I think we vague told him how maybe. And he’s been doing it for years. But then we took the time to truly teach him. And now he’s empowered, there’s no question! And our investment will pay off in clean glass doors!

The same thing happens when it comes to clean rooms. We say, “Clean your room!” We say, “Your room’s not clean.” We might even give a few specifics. But, I like all of the steps and a clear definition of success when I’m doing something. Why not do the same for the kiddos?

Get the checklist here!


The morning after I gave the lists to the kids and explained them a bit the kids almost TOTALLY nailed it. I was so impressed!

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