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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tired of the mess

It is a constant battle with the girls. I want them to clean their room, and they don't want to do it. Should be easy to deal with, shouldn't it?

Yeah. It should be. But it's not.

I hear it all the time from so many people - "You just need to make them do it."

Yeah, right. How?

If I tell them to do it, they'll start, get distracted, and quit.
If I stand over them and supervise, the boys will get into trouble behind my back - I'm only one person and I can't be everywhere in the house at the same time.
If I try to force the issue, it gets ugly, and drama ensues - not just normal drama, but custody-jeopardizing drama (yes, I'm serious).

They are only here half of the time. And realistically, they're not even here that much because of church (with their father) and basketball. Do I want to spend the little bit of time that I have with them trying to get them to clean their room? No. I want to spend time as a family.

Quite frankly, the bedroom situation sucks. I try to get them to do it, and they don't. There are many other reasons other than the ones listed above, but those are the basics. The Dude has tried to help, but he's not here all of the time and even if he was - it's not his responsibility to make sure that the kids clean their rooms. I appreciate that he helps, but I don't expect him to do it.

I warned the girls for the past week or so - I told them that if they didn't clean it up, I was going to do it for them. They know that when I say "do it for them" that it means that things will disappear. I don't clean to be nice - I clean to get rid of crap.

This is what I started out with today.

I also wanted to strip their beds, and when I did, I was disgusted by the amount of bedding that they had. Their room is not cold at night - there is no excuse for this. I found blankets that I know that I've washed lately, but they were balled up on the floor or on the bed and I couldn't tell if they were still clean or not, so guess what? Yep. I had to wash it all.

And the laundry. I just did their laundry, but this is what I found in various places around their room - but none of it was actually IN their laundry basket to start with.

So. The laundry is being done. The bedding is being washed. All of the crap that was on the floor has been sorted - the trash is in a trash bag and the rest of it is going out into the garage. It's going to disappear. They may or may not get it back at some point in time. I didn't get rid of anything important, like library books or things for school. But all of the random crap - markers, pencils, notebooks, journals, magazines, beading kits...things like that are all going away. The extra blankets are being put away. If they don't have a bunch of crap to spread out all over the place, then they can't make that much of a mess again, right?

The beds aren't completely made yet, but this is what I ended up with (I still have to finish laundry).

Now, I get to wait until Wednesday to see just how mad they are when they see that I did it.

They'll get over it.


  1. They need to understand that if you have to do it, then you're entitled to do it however you chose. It's about choices... they made theirs, you made yours.
    As long as I kick the rest of the gunk, I think I'll make myself available to you on Wed.

  2. I am sitting here eating a chocolate cake in a coffee mug (that i am trying for the very first time) and relating to this entire post (except my kids don't go to their dad's...ever...and I'm not cleaning...I'm eating chocolate to avoid facing the overwhelming-ness of my house tonight). I can never seem to keep their room clean...even when I take things out...they manage to refill it somehow. You do such a great job. So inspiring! Thanks for sharing! ~Debbie

  3. Kerry - Wednesday would be good. I could use the buffer.

    Debbie - Thank you. Like I just told someone else, maybe me cleaning it means that they "won", but sometimes winning just isn't worth the fight. It's done, and hopefully it'll stay that way for a little while. Enjoy that cake!

  4. Instead of asking/telling my kids to clean their rooms I ask for things. "Hey, guys I noticed there is laundry in your floor will you go grab it all for me?" My kids have about 1/8 of that amount of little stuff in their rooms. We don't have clothes baskets in our rooms. Laundry goes in the bathroom or laundry room. We also don't make them put their own clothes away. On the occasion we need to attack their rooms because they have gotten messy I do it WITH them. I don't want them to grow up thinking that cleaning the house is a punishment.



  6. Amy. When they start to argue just tell them "I love you to much to argue about this". Don't say anything else and keep repeating it. They say "you took this out of my room". "I know, but I love you to much to argue about it." If that is the only response you give them they have nothing to argue against. After saying it 5-6 times they will realize that the argument is going nowhere. Good luck. You are doing it the right way though. Check out "When our kids leave us speechless". It's a Love and Logic book that shows how to deal with situations just like this. And taking over and throwing the stuff away is the recommended solution. The response above is one of the recommended responses to stop the argument in it's track. We have started using it and it is amazing at just how fast the argument is stopped. If you give them no fuel for the argument it will die out.

    I need to get into the girls room and Chances old room and start the process.

    1. Ooooh...we have the Love and Logic book geared toward toddlers and it works amazingly well. I actually need to pull it out and read it again for a refresher, and will have to remember this one too, as well, Roy! :)

  7. When I was young.. my mom had this rule... You don't clean it up, THE RIGHT WAY... (the way she approved of) THEN IT GETS THROWN OUT.

    It worked real fast.

    It works with Emry too.

    It sucks because we don't have a lot of money.
    But, I don't replace what I throw away....
    And, they'll learn to appreciate what they have.

    Just my two cents.

  8. Yeah, they should just do it and mine do, but never very well. Unless I give them incentive. About once every six months, I offer them a sweet reward but they have to go balls out and clean everything! I'm talking donate clothes that don't fit, donate extra toys, throw stuff out, put everything away. We just did this this weekend. Now they both get a Skylander. Worked like a charm and now their shitty clean up jobs will do for the next six months.


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