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Teaching a child to keep their room clean can be a challenge, but this is working great, so I had to share it with you!  I love to have a clean house and I love to know where everything is, so I want my kid’s rooms to be organized, too.  Otherwise, they are complaining of being “bored,” but it’s really because they are overwhelmed.   An organized room solves that.
teach your kids to clean their room

Do you ever feel like your kid’s bedroom is always a mess? I admit that my biggest “time-drainer” is picking up our kid’s clothes. As my Mom has put it, they just “walk out of them”. Its so true!

Our kids have this terrible habit of taking their clothes off & just leaving them wherever they were standing. I had to come up with something to teach our kids to pick up their clothes and here is what is working for us. (Leave a comment of what works for you!)

Why are their clothes always on the floor, you ask?

They dress up like superheros… a lot!


They dress up in their swimsuits & pretend to go surfing (or they just wear their swimsuits because they like to wear them!)…
lazy days on the back porch

They dress up in their Dad’s old football jerseys…

They dress up in each others clothes & play “family”…

They dress up in their pajamas and play “camping out”…

Yes, our kids are constantly changing & changing again.  (Please tell me I’m not the only mom dealing with this!)

I had to make a new rule because they were “forgetting” where they left their clothes and getting out new ones. I was washing up to four outfits a day sometimes (per child!)  To help with keeping kids bedroom clean, we have implemented a new rule & consequence because I DID NOT want to nag them about it constantly…

Here is the rule:

For each article of clothing that I have to pick up off of the ground, they go to bed five minutes earlier.

Teaching your child to keep their room clean

Trust me, this is enough incentive for the kids to pick up their clothing.  They really don’t like going to bed before 7:00 (their bedtime).  (see my post on teaching your kids to sleep in later here) 

Here is how I taught them to clean their rooms:
Sunday- told them about the new rule and explained it IN DETAIL!  “Every article of clothing that you leave on the floor gets you five minutes of earlier bedtime. A sock? 5 minutes. Two socks? Ten minutes.”    I went through a lot of examples and they gave me some, too.

I told them that if they were just changing into a costume/dress-up outfit, they could just put their clothes on their bed or dresser for later. They needed to do this because when they leave them in a ball on the floor, they end up getting out a new one ten minutes later.  I told them that they would get a day to practice it before it started. So they had all day Sunday to work on this before the consequence would start on Monday.

Monday- they both got ten minutes for leaving clothes out & I stuck to it, even though they both kept asking for “Just one more chance.”


(Even if you don’t have a set bedtime, you can just say “Its time for bed. You were going to get to stay up for ten more minutes, but you have to go to sleep ten minutes early tonight for leaving your pajamas (or whatever) on the floor today.”   Our kids know that 7:00 is bedtime (well, the 7 hour, but the minutes vary), so when they saw the clock still saying 6, they were upset. (even if it said 6:59, that is early to them!)       Reminder: our kids get up at 7:00, so an early bedtime is important. See my post here on: My kids get up too early- How to keep your kids in bed later).

Tuesday- no clothes on the floor
Wednesday- Pajamas WERE on the floor when I walked by the room to see how they were doing getting ready for school and by the time that they were dressed & ready for school… guess what? Pajamas were put away. Woo-hoo!!

This consequence will not last foreverprobably about one month, but it is in place right now as a teaching-rule. (As with many of our rules & consequences. We make them to teach our children and after they have made it a habit, we can get rid of the consequence & just remind them, when needed.)

Update: This is an easy system, too.
If you want to start chores with your kids, but not have to deal with a chore chart, try these. We have them & they are easy and they are “normal” chores, like sweep the floors, dust, clean up the living room, etc… It makes it easy to say “Ok everyone – go grab 2 chore sticks and then you are done and you can go play.”

You can find them on Amazon. Here’s the affiliate link:
A container of Chore Sticks with a few sticks resting beside it.

Or I encourage you to join our declutter course.


I bet you will find this post helpful, as well:
And the reason that our kids go to bed at 7:00:
in bed by 7:00



Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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      1. Love this idea!! I will try this with my 8 children-ages 3-13!! Im sure it requires a lot of consistency to stay on top of it!

    1. Hi,
      what if child weans or cry if i cut sleeping time by 10 mins? how to handle stubbornness?

  1. :-O It’s official. I love you. I am making this HAPPEN in my home ASAP! 😀 Thanks!

    1. Oh my gosh- I am laughing out loud! 🙂 I hope it works as well for you as it did for me!

  2. Great tip! I am pinning this to keep in mind as our boys get older! Thank you! 🙂 We can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to this week on Saturday Show & Tell! Have a great weekend!
    Mackenzie 🙂

  3. It sounds like your idea has really worked wonders! When my son was young, our biggest problem was toys being left all over his room. I told him that if he did not clean them up, he would find them disappear. I started bagging them and storing them in the garage, out of his sight. He didn’t like losing toys, so he began to start putting things away!

      1. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong but my 11 year olds room still looks like a tornado hit it. Cloths, toys, stuffed animals, she even lost her phone and now she can’t find my iPad the she “borrowed “, without asking. It’s been unreal. What can I do??? HELP!!!!!

  4. Love this! What would you suggest for a 3 and 2 year old that do not like to listen/help? I’ve tried making games out of it and sending them to sit until they were ready to help, but still nothing.

    1. I give our 3 year old a bag (a small grocery bag) & tell him to fill it up for a popsicle. So when he brings me a full bag- he gets his treat. 🙂

  5. Oh my goodness the clothes!! I feel your pain and I will definitely be trying this rule in our home.

    1. haha- I know!! That’s exactly it- the clothes. They just walk right out of them.

    1. Same here. I figured they go through 3 sets a day: PJ’s, school clothes, sports practice outfits… and they all end up on the floor!

      1. so, its it at the eggs if day ,all day long or after you ask them to pick it up. sure about when too apply it. or like before school, aftet school? please help with any input, thx

  6. Kudos if this works in your family. Into wouldn’t work for us. I don’t put my kids to bed early for any reason unless they can’t stay awake. I’d much rather have my kids stay on a night time schedule that matches mine as well. Clothes and toys can get totally crazy in our house of three kids, but I pick my battles. My room isn’t spotless either, neither is our kitchen counter (mail, school papers, to-do lists). If it works for you then stick to it.

  7. I’m going to reverse this for my teenager…for each item I will wake uou up 5 minutes early!

    1. This is great! I am looking for something for my 19 year-old daughter. I like the reverse of waking up earlier!

  8. I have 4 children, 3 of which are old enough to pick up after themselves… My method (which still isn’t getting their rooms cleaned up everyday) is having them put their dirty clothes in the dirty clothes basket (which is in my room by the door, and right by the washer and dryer)… They are expected to put all dirty laundry in the basket, when it is full I was clothes. If they have a pile of clothes on their floor and nothing to wear to school but those “dress clothes” in the closet that’s what thy wear to school the next day.. (They get their clothes outfit school the night before so I can let them sleep a little later in the morning).. It works well for a week or two then I have to start reminding them again.

  9. Do you have an idea how to modify this for a grown man? LOL and please don’t say withhold love making. We have a 16 month old, love making doesn’t happen!

    1. My rule is that “if the clothes are not in the hamper I will not wash them”, husbands included. And I do not have a set day I always do laundry (there are 2 days that I try to, but sometimes things come up).

      1. I slipped on his underwear and bashed my head on the tub exactly once. The next day he had a hamper in the bathroom and started using it. Not that I’d really recommend bodily injury as a lifestyle choice but, I’m an opportunistic kind of person. Never had an issue with clothes in the bathroom again, not even 2 years later when we stopped having a hamper there.

        In the bedroom it was less of an issue when we started dating because he had a tiny bedroom and one tiny hamper, but when we moved into a bigger bedroom together he couldn’t just toss ~3-5 ft and reach the hamper anymore. Within a couple months it became clear that my disabilities were progressing and I was no longer able to do the laundry. It wasn’t planned by any means, but I did notice that him having to do the laundry made it a LOT easier for him to get the laundry into the hamper-sorter where all he had to do was grab a load and wash it instead of constantly sorting, resorting, gathering from the entire house, sorting again, dying his white work shirt blue, blah blah blah…

        And really that’s become our general policy: You’re the one who is making this chore impossible, so you get to be the one to do the chore. I leave my makeup all over the counter for days and it’s time to clean the bathroom? Look who gets to clean the bathroom this week. Oh, it kills my back and lays me up on the couch for three days after I clean the bathroom? Guess I should have picked up my makeup. He leaves a massive ton of crap on the floor so vacuuming is a pain? Guess who gets to vacuum?! You know what happens when he doesn’t vacuum? My cat allergies go haywire, I trip on something with my bad balance and have to recover for a week, making his life ten times harder, and you know it’s amazing that happens twice and suddenly vacuuming three times a week isn’t such a big deal anymore. We had to cancel a weekender because 15 minutes before we walked out the door, he dumped water all over the bathroom floor, didn’t wipe it up, I didn’t see it, I slipped and hyperextended my driving knee. Instead of drinking with friends and seeing his parents, he got to help me walk to the bathroom for a week and start physical therapy all over again. Guess who doesn’t leave water on the bathroom floor anymore?

        1. 🙂 lol- yes, minus the bodily injury- you’ve got a great plan!

    2. I feel your pain. I’m long past the baby care stage but we raised 3 boys, our granddaughter and are now raising our great granddaughter (11 at this time.) we’ve had her since she was just a few months old. So we’ve fought the battle of the kids for many years, BUT, it seems that my husband has lost some of what is important in raising a child. Children learn by example. His example for somethings has gotten lost, like putting things away when you’re finished with them instead of leaving them in the kitchen floor or eating in the living room or the office and telling our great granddaughter she can only eat at the kitchen table and not in her room or the living room. Then instead of putting coats and such away he weighs the coat rack down with several until there is no room for anyone else… so we now have another coat rack for the 11 year old. There’s more, but I’m sure I don’t have to tell you. So if you find an answer, please post it. 🤭