Take Out the Papers and the Trash!

Every week I participate in “Stream of Consciousness Sunday”, hosted by Fadra of AllThingsFadra.com. The idea is to type for 5 minutes, a brain dump of sorts, and then to publish without editing the writing at all.

Tell me that it’s not just my children who refuse to take out the papers and the trash… and clean up their room, please?

These simple tasks, to pick up dirty clothes, toys and books, and put them in their proper place, are a daily battle in our household. No matter who you ask, it is always the other child’s book or toy, “not my mess”. On the rare occasions that they agree to work together, their version of “clean” is FAR removed from my own.

We live in a small space, a 400 square foot basement apartment. We have 1 bedroom, which belongs to the girls. Our living room/kitchen also functions as the bedroom/office for David and I. In order to successfully have 4 people live in this small space, everything must be picked up and put away, every day. There is no room for clutter.

I walked through the girls’ room this evening to go to the bathroom. On the way, I stepped on discarded craft paper, several beads, kicked aside a coloring book and almost tripped on Barbie. I’d met my limit (again). I laid down the law. This room must be cleaned properly. Now. No more excuses, get it done immediately!

And within minutes, the arguing began.

I shake my head… and have the sinking feeling that, in the morning, I am going to have to do this job myself (again), just to make sure that it actually gets done.

What’s your secret for getting your kids to clean their rooms without arguing?

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I'm Heather, a married mama of two teen girls, a stillborn baby girl (7/1/12), and a sweet and wild preschool girl (4/2/14). I've been blogging at The Destiny Manifest since 2001. I like to write about appreciating all of the beautiful little things that surround us, particularly in the face of grief, infant loss and mental health issues. Every day is an adventure!

Latest posts by Heather O. (see all)

  • It’s not just your kids, Sweetie.  Mini-Me’s room was ALWAYS a battle.  I even threatened to never come to her house when she was grown if that’s the way it was going to look, but still, she fought me.  She didn’t have anyone else to blame it on either!

    By the way, I got the comment box now!  🙂

  • Good Girl Gone Green

    I will let you know in a few years when my 9mos old has a a brother or sister!! 🙂

  • Maybe you’ll have better luck than I do with the room cleaning debacle! 😉

  • That does make me feel better. I have a friend who just tells her kids “go clean” and they do… it makes me feel like my kids are from Mars or something.

    I’m glad the comments work for you now!

  • Mine still groan, but I just ask them to “do 10 minutes” in their room. It seems less daunting and if they do it 3x a week, their rooms stay relatively safe 🙂 

  • Well I laid down the law yesterday, stood over them with the proverbial whip, and finally they got the room into good shape. Now maybe if I make them do 10 minutes per day, it will actually stay clean. I can hope…

  • FadraN

    400 square feet? That’s a miracle! My latest technique is to give choices. You clean up your room and we can watch TV or I pick it up and throw it in the trash. Your choice. Seems to work well because it puts them in control. And don’t be afraid to follow through!

  • I think I forget how small of a space it really is until someone says “holy cow, this is small!” We didn’t expect to be here for very long, but we’ve grown pretty well used to it now. 🙂

    My girls love to play Uno and watch family movies at night during the summer. I haven’t been taking those things away as a punishment, but I’ll bet it would make a big impact.