Back to School at
Home > Kids > Values and Responsibilities > Chores > Getting Kids to Clean Their Rooms

Getting Kids to Clean Their Rooms

One, Two, Clean!

Here's the ideal order to get from disaster to gleaming in as short a time as possible:

  1. Tackle the clothes first. Fold the clean ones or put them on hangers, and put them away in an organized fashion. Put the dirty clothes in the hamper. Put all shoes (neatly) in the closet. Once the clothes are out of the way, you may be able to see a patch or two of carpet. There's hope!
  2. Clear the garbage and clutter. Return all dirty dishes to the kitchen, and wash them. Bring in a large plastic trash can bag for the trash. Don't forget to empty the wastepaper basket.
  3. Strip the bed and put the sheets and pillowcases in the hamper. Remake the bed with clean sheets.
  4. Start laundry load number one, if you have in-house machines.
  5. Put away the toys and the fragments of toys (oh, those puzzle pieces!).
  6. Put away all books, tapes, CDs, videos, computer programs. Library books go in a pile near the door ready to be returned. Tapes, CDs, and so on, all need to be in their proper boxes, and then put away. You won't get to it later.
  7. Clear the desk. Organize the desk so that homework and books are accessible. Throw away old clutter and scrap paper. (You may need to empty that wastepaper basket again.) Stuff the (now full) trash can bag in the kitchen garbage can or, if you're really ambitious, take it out to the trash cans or dumpster.
  8. Now we make the shift between straightening and cleaning! Get your dusting supplies handy! (If you keep pets and plants in the room, you might want to “excuse” them, now.) Straighten and dust surfaces (dresser, bedside table, vanity, shelves, and so on). You do this surface by surface—clear the surface of objects, dust, and return objects neatly. Starting to look pretty good, huh?
  9. Clean the floor. Sweep, or move furniture aside and vacuum. Don't forget to vacuum the dust from under the bed!
  10. It's wall time! De-web the ceiling and corners with a broom covered with your dust rag or the vacuum cleaner. Scrub the bad spots off walls with spray and a rag. Make sure all posters are still securely attached.
  11. Hot dog! It's a clean room!

<< Previous: Make it easy

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to a Well-Behaved Child © 1999 by Ericka Lutz. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

get ready for school!

We’ve got your
shopping list,
lunch menu,
and more.



Handwriting Headquarters
We've got handwriting practice worksheets, handwriting tips, and answers to your child's writing struggles, just in time for back to school. Brought to you by BIC.

11 Coolest Lunch Boxes for Kids
Send your child's lunch to school in style! Check out our picks for the 11 best lunch boxes with great features from BPA-free accessories to spill-resistant fabric.

7 Important Back-to-School Safety Tips
Follow these back-to-school safety tips to make sure your child stays safe on the way to school, in the classroom, and while on the playground.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit to sign our petition to save handwriting!