I was a messie kid. I remember being put in my sty… I mean room… and told not to come out until it was clean. The whole thing was too overwhelming for me! For starters, I didn’t know how to declutter, and to make things worse, I didn’t know how to maintain. Even when my stepmom threw away three bags of my stuff against my will, I still couldn’t get it together. I didn’t do this to be spiteful… I was just clueless.
My kids, thankfully, are not as bad as I was, although they, too, get overwhelmed. A poster at the forums mentioned that she uses zones to help her kids clean their rooms and I thought that made perfect sense. That way, it’s only about 15 minutes of work every day to keep a nice bedroom!
(The same technique works for anyone who lives in one room… college students, military members, etc.)
First, set up your zones. Give your worst chores more time, and your easiest chores less time. For example, if your dresser top and bed never get messy, but your floor is a disaster, then make your dresser top and bed a single zone. Some kids choose to make each piece of furniture its own zone. For example, if you have a dresser, a desk, a bed, and a closet, then your zones would be dresser, bed, desk, closet, and floor. If you do your own laundry, then a zone would be laundry. (Check with your parents about the best day to do your laundry.)
Each zone is done once a week, unlike the zones (flylady and organized home) designed for adults. Those zones are bigger, and they’re done for a full week at a time.
A sample week:
Monday: Laundry (if you do your own.) Wash, fold, and put away laundry, wash bedsheets and remake bed. If you don’t have your own laundry baskets, try to get at least two, one for lights and one for darks, and make sure you put your dirty clothes in as soon as you take them off.
Tuesday: Dresser- clean off the top, dust, neaten the drawers, take out clothes that don’t fit or that you won’t wear. Give them to your parents so they can decide what to do with them. (Or share with friends, if you bought the clothes with your own money.)
Wednesday: Desk- throw out last year’s school papers, file this year’s in a banker’s type box (or even an old cereal box with the liner removed.) Put pens and pencils in a jar or mug. Keep stuffed animals and other toys off the desk. Tidy up any books you keep on your desk (such as dictionaries.) File personal letters and cards (I use cardboard shoe boxes.) Straighten and dust any bookcases on the same day.
Thursday: Bed- Clean out from under the bed. Put away books and magazines, file papers and letters, throw away trash, put laundry in baskets, put toys where they belong
Friday: Closet- hang up clothes that have fallen from hangers, line up shoes neatly, remove papers, dirty clothes, toys, and trash. Ask your parents what to do about clothes and shoes you have outgrown so you don’t have them cluttering up your closet.
Saturday: Floor- if you keep up with your zones each day and practice minor daily maintenance, the floor should be easy. Put dirty laundry in baskets, throw away trash, file papers, put away toys, put shoes in closet. Vacuum and/or mop.
Some daily tips:
Keep a garbage bag or can in an easy-to-reach place. You can even hang a plastic grocery bag on the door. As soon as you see trash, pick it up and throw it away.
Always put dirty clothes right in their proper baskets as soon as you take them off. If you wear items such as jeans more than once, designate a spot for them and make sure they’re put neatly away.
Try to put away books and toys as soon as you are done using them.
Make your bed as soon as you get up. You can even pull the sheets straight while you’re under the covers, then slide out and smooth them. Voila!
Before you leave your room and right after you come back in, make a quick check for things that are out of place. Just put away one thing, throw away one piece of trash, straighten up one book each time and you’ll have a nice, neat room all the time.