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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!

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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.


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