Hello, I am a recovering slob. It's true. When I was a child (teen, college student) my bedroom was so messy you couldn't see the floor. I'm not joking. When I moved out, my parents were amazed to find the carpet looking practically brand new! I actually scraped paths in my room from the door to the bed and the desk. I never made my bed. I couldn't really understand what the point was... weren't you JUST going to sleep in it a few hours later? My clothes were in piles around my room, and I won't pretend they were in "orderly" piles... they were all mixed in with paper, over-due assignments, lost jewelry, make-up, shoes.
My mother tried when I was young to get me to keep it clean. She threatened, warned, occassionally cleaned it herself... every once in awhile, she would sit in there and watch me clean... to help me stay "focused". But even if I got my floor picked up, bed made, dresser closed, closet straightened... my desk would still be a pile of paper, and within a few days of the cleaning, my room would revert to it's "natural" state = MESSY.
I would look at a mess and get overwhelmed, and I would procrastinate. Eventually (after a few years of tension in my marriage to a "neat freak") I started to figure this out. The best thing to ever happen to me is a certain kind lady named "Flylady", she helped me to understand the deeper reasons for my inability to keep things clean and it turned my house around.
So, this is an adaption of one of her concepts, which is cleaning for 15 minutes at a time, this helps me with my procrastination, because you can do ANYTHING for 15 minutes... right? As my children aged and I got tired of cleaning up their rooms, I decided that they were going to have to pull their own weight.
If they were going to make the mess, then, dog-gone-it, they were going to clean it up!
So, at the beginning, I literally helped Ben clean by sitting there and saying "Find a Lego" He picks one up "Where does that go?" He says - Lego bin. "Put it away" OVER and OVER and OVER until he didn't need the prompting.
So, this is fool proof, unless your kid freaks out when you get out the timer, in which case, don't use this idea. I have found that the timer helps us all stay focused. I can say "CLEAN YOUR ROOM" until I'm blue in the face, but unless I put a time limit on it, it doesn't actually get done. One other thing... I make my kids clean their rooms EVERY NIGHT. This is a pain in the butt, but they can get it cleaned and it's not so overwhelming (not to mention saving my feet from stepping on small, sharp toys in the middle of the night when someone has a nightmare)
So... as an example:
Now, I set the timer for 5 min. Let her choose which bin to fill...
It doesn't look like much was done... but she chose to fill up her bin of "small things" Next: her stuffed animals and dress-up clothes. Set for 5 more minutes...
What a poser! Looks like she's making progress! Now: kitchen and the rest. Set the timer for 5 more minutes.
"WAIT MOMMY! One more thing!"
Tuck that chair in... TA DA!
I'm hoping that if I teach my kiddos to clean little by little, they won't grow up to be "cleaning impaired" like their recovering mommy.
How do you get your kids to clean up after themselves?