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Clean your room!

August 23rd, 2007

The typical symbol of a parent is the mom with the pointing finger with one arm outstretched shouting, “Go clean your room!”

Some people just have a knack for keeping a clean and neat house.

I am not one of those.

I don’t blame my children for not cleaning their rooms because I have the same problem with my room. I don’t even know how to teach them to keep their rooms clean.

The only thing that would help messies like me is to have a very simple cleaning system.

So this is what I have tried to do with my kids. Give them 4 boxes: one for trash, one to give away, one to put in storage in the garage, and one they will keep in their room. They are to sit in one area that needs cleaning and sort that pile of junk into one of the four boxes. No exceptions.

Inevitably, the “keep” box will be overflowing while the other boxes has only a few items.

Now we take the stuff from the “keep” box and put each item where they belong in the room. If it’s a book, it should go on the book shelf, etc. That sounds simple enough, but it’s not over.

Inevitably, half the box will have stuff that doesn’t belong anywhere. This is where it gets hard. This is when we have to get brutal.

Each item in that box must have somewhere to go! The rules are, they cannot back to the original pile, and they cannot be put it on top of their desk, on the bed, or on the floor, or else we are back to the beginning.

So we have to work on creating a logical home for those item. They are usually random things that we want to keep, but just don’t know what to do with them. We have to decide what is the best way to store those things.

So we work hard on this phase of cleaning up. We start a binder for loose papers. Small toys and objects can go into a plastic box, etc. If we cannot find a logical place to put something, then it must go to one of those other 3 boxes – storage, trash or giveaway.

It takes messies like us a LONG time to clean one section. But with persistence, we do eventually make progress.

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