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How to get your kids to keep their rooms tidy without the arguments

Sometimes, convincing your kids to keep their rooms tidy can seem like an impossible task. If this is an issue you wrestle with in your household, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to getting your kids on board with keeping their rooms tidy. So, read on to find out:

  • How to declutter your kids’ rooms
  • How to properly organise their bedroom storage
  • How to get your kids to keep their rooms tidy without any arguments
Tidy Kids Bedroom

How to declutter your kids’ rooms

If you want your children to keep their rooms tidy of their own accord, it’s important you give them a clean slate to start with.

Over the years, they’ll have no doubt accumulated a whole host of clothes, toys, games, and knick-knacks. But, kids grow out of toys fast, and today’s favourite will soon be relegated to the back of a wardrobe and left to gather dust.

Therefore, the first step towards helping your kids maintain a clean and tidy bedroom is freeing up space so they have room to store the things they do use. Here’s a step-by-step guide to decluttering your children’s rooms:

Set aside some time

If you don’t make time to declutter your children’s rooms, it won’t get done. So, if you’re committed to making a change, set aside a day to help your children sort through their belongings and stick to it.

Start with a small space

When it’s time to declutter, it’s important that you compartmentalise the process so your little ones don’t get overwhelmed.

Child playing with toys on sofa

Start with a single drawer or shelf, and consider each item that’s stored there. It’s also a good idea to grab two bins for the items your children are happy to get rid of: one for items that you’re going to donate — whether that’s to friends and family or charity — and another for things you’re going to bin.

Consider every item

One-by-one, scrutinise every item with your children and decide whether you’re going to keep it or get rid of it. Once you’ve considered all the items in one area, move on to the next and perform the same process until you’ve gone through the whole room.

Don’t hold your kids up to unrealistic standards

When you’re working your way through the decluttering process with your little ones, don’t hold them up to your own standards. If you can reduce the amount of clutter in their rooms by 10 or 20 percent, it will make a big difference to how easy it is to maintain, so don’t force them to get rid of something they’re not ready to part with for the sake of saving a bit more space.

Kids change fast and, if you go through the decluttering process with them again in six months’ time, they might be happy to get rid of twice as much stuff as they were this time around.

Take regular breaks

Decluttering is relatively simple but, if you’ve ever done it before, you’ll know that it isn’t always easy. Take regular breaks, and consider splitting the process up over several days to stop your kids from losing interest.

Get rid of the clutter

Once you’ve sorted through your children’s possessions with them, the next step is disposing of the clutter. Anything in poor condition should be bagged up and thrown into the bin, or taken to the local tip. The toys, games, and clothes that are still in good condition should either be donated to friends and family or a charity shop. Alternatively, you could sell them through sites like eBay and Gumtree.

Child's Teddy bear

Create a keepsake box

During the decluttering process, you’ll probably come across items that hold a lot of sentimental value but your child doesn’t use anymore. This might include things like their collection of swimming badges or sports trophies, their favourite cuddly toy from years gone by, or the first book they read on their own.

Instead of throwing these things away or leaving them cluttering up their room, create a keepsake box. This should be dedicated to sentimental items you can’t bring yourself to throw away, but your child has grown out of. This can be stored in the loft or under their bed, and it will protect their treasured childhood possessions for years to come.

Every time you declutter your child’s room, you can add to their keepsake box with more items they’ve outgrown. In years to come, digging it out and going through it with them is sure to bring back a flood of memories, and you’ll both be glad you saved those precious items.

Combine decluttering with redecorating

For older kids, you can encourage them to declutter by tying it in with redecorating their rooms. If they want their spaces to look as good as possible, they’ll need to clear out all the things they no longer want, so this should give them the motivation to sort through their possessions.

Decluttering and disposing of all the unwanted items is the first step in helping your kids to maintain clean and tidy rooms. Once you’ve done this, the next step is setting up an organisation system that makes it easy for them to stay on top of things.

Set up an organisation system

Maintaining a tidy house can be boiled down to one simple principle: a place for everything and everything in its place. This section is going to tackle the first part of the equation: finding a home for all your children’s stuff.

Think about the clutter that you create: whether it’s a stack of unopened post on the coffee table or a pile of clothes on the bedroom floor, it’s probably there because it would have taken too much effort to find a proper home for it. On the other hand, if you make it easy to find an appropriate place for your stuff, it’s unlikely to build up in the first place.

The same applies to your little ones and, if their rooms are easy to tidy, they’ll be a lot more likely to do it without you having to hound them.

After you’ve decluttered your children’s rooms with them, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to improve the storage so it’s as easy as possible to keep things tidy going forward.

Here are our top tips for optimising the storage space in your kids’ rooms:

Toy train set on floor

See things from their perspective

If you want your children to keep their rooms clean, it needs to be easy for them. Sit down on the floor and look at things from your children’s perspective. Are all their favourite toys within easy reach? Are all their storage boxes easy to access when needed?

Consider how you can make things as easy as possible for them, and organise their room with this in mind.

Pick the right storage

When it comes to choosing the storage for your children’s bedrooms, the key is to make it as easy for your little ones to tidy up as possible. For example, if you fill their room with bins without lids, cleaning up will be as easy as quickly throwing toys back in their box. You can also get the most out of wardrobe and cupboard space with stackable boxes. Pick these both up in our range of toy storage boxes.

It’s a good idea to clearly label each box so your little ones can quickly find what they’re looking for — picking clear plastic storage boxes will also help with this, as will colour-coding your storage. You can also make this fun by letting them decorate their own storage boxes however they want. This will help them to feel responsible for their storage, making it more likely that they’ll maintain a tidy room.

Additionally, storing boxes full of similar things alongside each other will make tidying up as easy as possible for your kids. For example, by keeping items like board games and sports equipment in their own sections of the room, you’ll make it much easier for your little ones to find — and tidy away — their things.

A small plastic organiser will also help them keep their small odds and ends in one place, rather than spread out all over their rooms. This is particularly handy for arts and crafts supplies, and our selection of plastic jewellery boxes are perfect for this.

A great way of keeping toys out of sight but still within easy reach for your children is with underbed storage boxes. These are great for storing larger toys and games you don’t want cluttering their rooms, and are also perfect for storing their out-of-season clothes.

How to get your kids to maintain a tidy room

Child's Book Stack

Now that you’ve helped your children to declutter and reorganise their rooms, the next step is to work on getting them to keep it that way.

Luckily, there are ways to do this that don’t involve nagging — simply follow these methods and your children’s rooms are sure to stay tidier than ever before without as many arguments.

Define what ‘tidy’ means

If you expect your little ones to maintain tidy bedrooms, it’s important that you sit down with them and explain exactly what’s expected of them. It can be a good idea to introduce these new expectations at the start of a new school year or just after a birthday. Paint this as a positive, explaining that you know you can trust them with more responsibilities because they’re growing up.

What you expect your children to do is going to depend on their age, but a ‘tidy’ room generally includes:

  • A made bed
  • Laundry in the hamper
  • No clothes on the floor or on the back of chairs
  • Toys and games tidied away
  • Surfaces cleared

You and your children should agree on what ‘tidy’ means to prevent arguments later on. Explain how you’re going to help them maintain clean rooms, such as by hoovering and dusting, and consider printing off a contract that you both sign to make it official. This will make your kids feel mature, and make them more likely to rise to the responsibility.

Lead by example

Once you’ve defined what tidy means for your kids’ rooms, it’s important to lead by example if you want them to stick to it. You’ll have a much harder time convincing your little ones to keep their space tidy if you don’t practice what you preach.

Actions speak a lot louder than words, and if the norm in your household is to complete chores without a fuss, your kids are likely to follow suit. So, while you might not always feel like doing your own chores, bear in mind that children are very perceptive, and they’re likely to copy your approach to tidying. It can be difficult, but keep this in mind next time you feel like procrastinating on your own set of chores.

Embrace ‘less is more’ when it comes to presents

Prioritise quality over quantity when it comes to Christmases and birthdays. If you have the money to spoil your kids, don’t fall into the trap of buying for the sake of buying. While it can be hard to get the balance right, try and only get them things that are going to add value to their lives. You’ll know which toys get the most attention and which ones end up relegated to the back of a cupboard, so keep this in mind when it comes to buying your kids presents.

Arts and Crafts

Set up a ‘one in, one out’ policy

Every parent has been there — your child has decided they have to have the toy they’ve seen on a shelf in the supermarket or on an advert on TV. If you gave in to this every time, their bedrooms would quickly be overflowing with toys, and your wallet would be a lot lighter.

You can teach your children the principle of minimalism by adapting a ‘one in, one out’ policy: if they want a new toy, they have to get rid of one of their existing ones. This will not only help keep their bedrooms uncluttered, but also teach them the value of their possessions.

Let them make a mess

As any parent of small children can tell you, kids make a mess. The sooner you come to terms with this, the less stressful things are going to be for both you and your kids.

Instead of fighting a losing battle trying to get your children to keep their rooms tidy all the time, be realistic. Allow them to make a mess and, when they’re done, ask them to clean it up. If they’re reluctant, make a game out of it by setting a timer and seeing if you can get the whole room tidied in less than five minutes. Five minutes of tidying alongside your kids every now and then is a lot better than continuous arguments, and this will help to teach your kids that tidying up can be easy.

Make tidying a game

If your children really struggle to tidy up on their own, help them out by making it into a game. Split the chores down the middle and see who can finish all of theirs the fastest. If you have more than one kid, make them race to get their rooms tidied the fastest and give the winner a prize. They might cut a few corners here and there when you adopt this method, but it’s going to be a lot better than nothing if your children can’t motivate themselves to tidy up.

Make tidying part of their bedtime routine

Spend a few minutes tidying any mess up at the end of every day as part of their bedtime routine. The earlier you instil this habit in them, the more they’ll become accustomed to it and the easier it will be to convince them to keep their rooms tidy.

It can even be a good idea to combine tidying up each day with story time. Simply read them their bedtime story while they tidy. If they stop tidying, you stop reading. This is a great way of making it easy for them to do their chores.

Tailor the task to your child

Boy playing with toy truck

If every child was the same, parenting would be easy. However, the reality is that all children are different, and what gets one kid to keep their room tidy might not work on the next.

Some children like to be organised and will keep their rooms tidy without any nagging on your part, while others take a lot more convincing. Therefore, it’s important that you understand your child’s nature so you can work with them to keep their room tidy.

You’ll already be well aware of your child’s tendencies, so use these to inform your approach to getting them to maintain a clean bedroom. You should also use trial and error, trying different approaches until one sticks.

Learn to accept that perfect isn’t going to happen

Following the advice in this guide will go a long way to helping you encourage your children to keep their bedrooms tidy. However, the fact is that your kids’ bedrooms are never going to stay perfectly tidy for long. It’s therefore important that you have realistic expectations about how tidy your children’s rooms are going to be on a day-to-day basis.

Constantly nagging them to tidy up isn’t going to be fun for you or them and, if you embrace imperfection, you’ll avoid a lot of arguments. So, while it’s important to set a certain standard for how tidy your home should be, make sure to give your little ones a bit of leeway as well.

Let them figure out why maintaining a tidy room is important

If you constantly find yourself waging war with your kids about the cleanliness of their bedrooms, it might be time to take a different tact. Certain lessons can only be learned first-hand, and some kids need to experience losing something important in their clutter to understand why maintaining a tidy room is important. Not being able to find an exam paper or a concert ticket in their mess might be the lesson they need to start keeping their room tidy. If this ever happens, make sure to let bygones be bygones and help them declutter and organise their room.

Follow the advice we’ve laid out in this guide and your children will find it much easier to maintain tidy rooms. This will help put an end to one of the most common arguments parents have with kids of all ages, and you’ll both feel a lot better for it.

If you’ve got any questions about home storage that haven’t been answered in this guide, then be sure to get in touch with a friendly member of our team today. If reading this guide has got you in the mood to tidy the rest of your house as well, take a look at our guide to decluttering for everything you need to know.