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A fresh start: Helping your kids declutter their rooms

When your kids were little, it was easy to take control and clean up their rooms as you saw fit. But as they’ve gotten older and developed their own beliefs in what’s important, chances are clutter has consumed their spaces. If you want your house clean from top to bottom, you’ll appreciate these tips on getting your kids to declutter their rooms.


Get them to get rid of the mess

When your kids were little, it was easy to take control and clean up their rooms as you saw fit. But as they’ve gotten older and developed their own beliefs on what’s important, clutter has likely consumed their spaces. For a truly clean house, these tips will get your kids to declutter their rooms.

Tackle one area at a time

Have you ever started decluttering, gotten frustrated and wound up putting things in places “tentatively” that end up staying there for far longer than you intended? We’ve all been there. And chances are your kids are going to have that same short patience. So rather than getting them to tackle everything all at once, which could have them feeling overwhelmed, designate a 20- to 30-minute period to which they regularly dedicate themselves to a single task, such as cleaning out and organizing their T-shirt drawer or the knick-knacks on their dresser. Discuss what they’re going to tackle each day, and then take a quick look afterward to make sure they’ve taken care of it properly. It’s an easy way to ensure your kids learn the skills of decluttering in a fun and manageable way.

Plan a yard sale for motivation

If you know a lot of items in your home are going to have to go this spring, organizing a yard sale is a great idea. Not only will it help you make a little money as a reward for all your work, but it can also act as a motivator for kids and teens. Letting go of items they like but no longer need is a lot easier when they know they can make some spare change for their pain. And knowing that someone else will be making use of their items, rather than having to toss them in the trash, can also help convince them to get rid of stuff they no longer use or need.

Get cool organizing devicesikea storage box

It’s a lot more fun to declutter when you have a convenient and attractive method for organizing everything you choose to keep. New storage bins or boxes that kids will actually look forward to filling and keeping track of can make cleaning up a little more fun for them. A flowery shoe rack will take away the footwear mess at the bottom of your child’s closet, while cute boxes will make it easier for them to stow away old toys and school projects or books they aren’t ready to part with (, $17 and $7). A few little organizational helpers can make a big difference.

Find out what to keep and what can go when it comes to decluttering childhood memorabilia >>

Make a big deal of donating


If a full-blown yard sale isn’t in the cards, letting your kids know that the clothes and many other items they are brave enough to part with can be donated to other kids who aren’t as fortunate through such organizations as Goodwill might get them excited as well. Be sure to celebrate their generosity and let them know what a good thing they have done.

Make it fun

Spring cleaning might not be the most glamorous way to spend your time, but it doesn’t have to be a completely frustrating and boring experience. To get kids motivated about decluttering their rooms, make it as fun an experience as possible. For instance, suggest playing music throughout the house, and work on your room while they work on theirs so they know they aren’t alone. It also doesn’t hurt to pop in every now and then to provide a few words of encouragement on their progress. And while you’re there, offer to take some of their clothes down to the laundry or their unwanted items out to the trash to show you’re all in this together.

Get some tips on how to hold a yard sale >>

tell us

What are your secrets for getting your kids to clean their rooms? Let us know in the comment section below!

More on decluttering

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3 Tips on how to declutter your home
Kitchen clutter: Items that have to go

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