Help Kids Keep Their Room Tidy

Every morning before breakfast our kids are supposed clean their bedrooms.  Currently the 5 girls are in one bedroom and the four boys are in another bedroom, so both bedrooms have the potential for a huge mess and lots of squabbles.  We’ve found a great solution for both of these potentials.

Our secret  for having nice, neat bedrooms before breakfast each morning is our competition bedroom, bunkbeds, red white blue, sailboat, sail boat, bunk bedsystem.  I check each bedroom before we sit down to eat.   The room that is the cleanest gets bragging rights and a “trophy” to display in their room for the day.  (This can be something as simple as a “Cleanest room” sign to hang on the door.)  We use a plant.

There is also the possibility that both rooms are lovely.  In that case we declare a tie and the trophy/plant is displayed in the living area of our house where we all get to enjoy it.

At the end of the week the room with the most “wins” gets to choose our family fun night activity.

Here is the BEST part of our system.  If the rooms end the week in a tie,  our whole family celebrates with something special for family fun night.  Either a special treat like ice cream or a new game, just something extra fun for our family time to celebrate that everyone did a great job keeping their rooms tidy during the week.

This system has not only helped the bedrooms to stay nicer, it has also helped the children work together toward a common goal.  It’s not unusual for the girls to go help the boys finish tidying their bedroom or vice versa so that they can tie for the day.

Clean, tidy bedrooms, more teamwork and special treats for family fun night, it works for me!

I have a lot more WFMW’s or for even greater variety head over to We Are THAT Family.

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57 Responses to Help Kids Keep Their Room Tidy
  1. Nikki
    January 27, 2010 | 12:07 am

    I am going to have to implement this incentive in our home. We have the oldest three boys in a room together. My daughter has her own room which she shares with the toys. The twins are in our bedroom right now. But from time to time the children’s room can get REALLY messy. Sometimes it’s my daughter’s room with every single toy on the floor. Sometimes it’s the boys’ room with toys, clothing, and blankets on the floor.

    I like the trophy idea. How fun!

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  2. leslie
    January 27, 2010 | 12:20 am

    That is one terrific idea! I’m big on clean around here but kids aren’t always the easiest to motivate. I’m definitely bookmarking your idea and using it.

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  3. Sherri Jorgensen
    January 27, 2010 | 12:43 am

    I love this idea! I am amazed at how organized you are with such a large family. I am going to use this with my sweet “little” family! I am the third oldest of 12 and I can tell you from experience that large families are the BEST!

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    The organization is because of the large family. Although I’ve always been a schedule person, ever since I was a kid.

    It’s nice to hear from kids raised in a large family who had a positive experience.

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  4. Monica
    January 27, 2010 | 6:12 am

    What a great idea! I love that it encourages cooperation and the end result is fun for all.

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  5. Jama
    January 27, 2010 | 6:22 am

    We’ve been doing something similar since you first wrote about your Battle of the Bedrooms almost a year ago. It has def. helped our kids’ rooms be neater. The younger ones are especially more motivated. I have 13, almost 12, 9 and 4 year old girls in one room and 8, 6 and 2 year old boys in the other. I’ve been amazed at how well my boys have done. Keep the good ideas coming!

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    My boys also do remarkably well. Having less stuff is an advantage in this competition.

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  6. Kathi
    January 27, 2010 | 8:37 am

    what a great idea…we’re always rushing to tidy up rooms after breakfast…before school (what was i thinking?)

    i love it when i find the kids help each other with their chores (even after they’ve complained about their own:)

    – kathi

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  7. Real Life Sarah
    January 27, 2010 | 8:43 am

    Great idea! I really need to do more motivational things to encourage the kids to clean their rooms. I like the trophy thing!

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  8. Liz@HoosierHomemade
    January 27, 2010 | 8:44 am

    What a great idea! Love it! Thanks for sharing!
    ~Liz

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  9. Erin @ Closing Time
    January 27, 2010 | 8:45 am

    This is a wonderful idea! My two girls share a room, so we would have to tweak the system a bit, but it sounds great!

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  10. Janice
    January 27, 2010 | 9:04 am

    I am wondering who made the beds so neatly in your photo, girls or boys or both? Nice job to the bedmakers. This is a really great idea. I really need to come up with something to help my 15yo survive sharing a room with a messy 10yo. You’ve motivated me to “get on with it.” Thanks.

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    These are the boys beds, but I’m pretty sure that I made them. I took this picture just after installing the rain gutter bookshelves, so I’d messed them up climbing around on them.

    When we are consistent with the contest though, I get fairly particular about bed making. 🙂

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  11. Michelle
    January 27, 2010 | 9:08 am

    Oooh… I like it! Thanks for sharing!

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  12. Trenchmommy
    January 27, 2010 | 9:21 am

    Very cool idea. Although, I think it might be best when you have multiple kids of each sex. Not sure if it would be as motivational for my 3 kids…but worth a try for sure.

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  13. bunny
    January 27, 2010 | 9:47 am

    I wish you would have thought of this when your room was a mess.

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    Janice Reply:

    Ha! Ha!

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    MomStarr Reply:

    I love it!!! My mom also marvels at how concerned I am about neatness now. 🙂

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I was a VERY messy kid and teen. Sorry Mom.

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  14. Nic
    January 27, 2010 | 9:53 am

    What an awesome idea! Thanks for sharing =)

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  15. thesleepyknitter
    January 27, 2010 | 10:09 am

    So, is commenter “Bunny” your mom or your sister? 🙂

    I love the idea of the daily contest and the rewards. Where are the children’s toys, though? We just have our one child, K, and she receives so many toys from people that I keep them in boxes in storage and rotate the boxes every few weeks, but even at that, it seems like her room is hard to keep clean.

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Bunny is my mom. 🙂

    We don’t keep toys in the kids rooms. I really keep the amount of toys down to a minimum and we have space downstairs and in our family/school room where we keep them.

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  16. MomStarr
    January 27, 2010 | 10:46 am

    We have recently implemented this type of “game”. They have always had to clean rooms before school began but I recently started the prize part. With so many very competitive boys this seems to push them a bit more. 🙂 I did remind them the goal is to work in a godly way with your roommate all week and develop better cooperative attitudes. Our game, though, involves not only a clean room but sibling cooperativeness throughout the week and general self government on school and all other chores. We have two boys in one room; three boys in another room; two girls in another room. I also reminded the most competitive ones that if you lose you are expected to congratulate the winners and strive even harder the next week with a sweet attitude. It’s been fun.

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    By the way, I should have mentioned this post is dedicated to you. You asked for more WFMW posts, so here’s the first of hopefully many more.

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  17. Chantelle
    January 27, 2010 | 10:52 am

    Great idea!! Thanks for the great post!!

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  18. Christy
    January 27, 2010 | 11:43 am

    Thank you for posting this! I just found your blog yesterday and am really struggling with teaching my children how to keep their room clean. They are 6, 3, and 4 months old. Obviously, the baby has not mastered the art of chores yet 🙂
    I plan to homeschool starting this summer and loved reading through our blog yesterday! I have added you to my blog list!

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thank you Christy. Teaching those little ones will pay off later, but right now it’s probably more work for you. Keep up the good work.

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  19. Sandpiper
    January 27, 2010 | 2:13 pm

    That is a great idea! We have (currently, it will change with this new baby) 3 bedrooms with 2 kids in each. My oldest, especially has struggled with keeping her room clean. Maybe an incentive like this would help.

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  20. Sharon @ UnfinishedMom
    January 27, 2010 | 2:40 pm

    Oh this is a great tip. I can definitely see this working at our house.

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  21. Lori @ Couponomic Stimulus Package
    January 27, 2010 | 3:01 pm

    Oooo! I’m going to have to try this! My son would love the competition element!

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  22. Melanie
    January 27, 2010 | 3:06 pm

    Great idea! I’ll have to remember this when mine get older (currently 3, 1 and due in April!).

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  23. Melanie
    January 27, 2010 | 3:14 pm

    I’d also love to hear how you fit five girls in one room. Two sets of bunk beds I assume, but where does the fifth one sleep? Also where do you keep all the clothes? I grew up as one of nine and shared a room with two sisters at one point. We also had four boys in one room for a while, but that was the biggest bedroom. (I think you mentioned yours were both about 12×12–did I remember that right?)

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    One of our bunks is a twin over a full.

    Did you see my posts about clothing and laundry? We limit the number of outfits that each child has, this cuts down on clutter and gives us more available space. As our big girls have gotten older and more responsible with caring for their clothing, we have loosened the limits on their clothes.

    Both beds in the girls room have built in drawers and we have a dresser in the closet.

    We don’t have toys in the bedrooms.

    Yes, you are right on the size. 🙂

    As our big girls get older

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  24. Smockity Frocks
    January 27, 2010 | 3:57 pm

    Great idea! Just curious, where are the toys and clothes? My little ones seem to scatter toys and clothes around hourly. I am seriously contemplating putting one of those latches high up on their closet door so they won’t get into things without me letting them in!

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We do keep the clothes in the bedrooms. Remember my post about limiting clothing?

    All the toys are in our play area and some are in the school/family room.

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  25. Kris @ Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers
    January 27, 2010 | 4:32 pm

    That may just be the best idea I have ever read. I can totally see that working for my competitive kiddos. Thanks for the great idea!

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Do I get a WUHS (Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers) award for best idea ever?

    Thanks!

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  26. Sturgmom
    January 27, 2010 | 6:45 pm

    Such a brilliant idea! It’s hard for me to make things into competition around here because the two boys just end up fighting. And they share a room. But if I had more children, I would totally steal your idea!

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  27. Mrs. White
    January 27, 2010 | 9:45 pm

    Such a fun idea!

    Blessings
    Mrs. White

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  28. Kirsten
    January 27, 2010 | 10:59 pm

    Amazing, idea, as always! I do have one question though… what do you suggest for a squishy, little farm house in which our eldest daughters share a room, our two-year old son is in an 8×6 room by himself, and the new baby will be in the bedroom with my husband and myself. Someday, when we purchase my grandmother’s larger house, we plan on having the boys and girls divided into two large rooms, but what about now?

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  29. Phoebe @ Cents to Get Debt Free
    January 28, 2010 | 9:50 am

    Our biggest issue is the tidyness of the kids’ rooms. It’s absolutely embarrassing, and after awhile I just get tired of hearing myself nag them about it. I’ve tried many different chore charts/reward programs and nothing has really worked for us for an extended amount of time. I think I will give this a whirl, and I’m off to check that limiting clothing post you’ve referenced. I think the kids’ clothes reproduce when I’m not looking!

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  30. the inadvertent farmer
    January 28, 2010 | 11:28 am

    Brilliant…we are in the middle of the great de-clutter of 2010 and will institute something like this when we are done. Thanks Kimberly! Kim

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  31. Eva Girl
    January 29, 2010 | 12:27 pm

    We have the same rule in our house! Only, we do it before bed every night. I have three boys, so their room is too messy to get into to say prayers with them before bed, unless the room is all cleaned up! Then we can check for toys (and monsters) under the bed before the lights go out : )

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I like the before bed idea, maybe we’ll throw that in for good measure.

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  32. solstice letters
    January 29, 2010 | 1:42 pm

    This is such a great idea. I’ll have to remember it.

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  33. Multi-Tasking Mommy
    January 29, 2010 | 1:51 pm

    What a fabulous idea. Once my little guy gets a bit older, I will definitely do this.

    So, I’m interested in how difficult it is to make up those bunk beds to look like that? Is it tricky? Especially the top one?

    We’re considering getting bunk beds, but making the beds seems a bit daunting to me.

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    The kids make the bunk beds. They aren’t as easy to make as a regular twin, but not too hard.

    We didn’t get the bunk beds until the kids could make them. I wouldn’t want to climb up and make it every morning. 🙂

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    susan Graham Reply:

    Ny hat is off to you with your being able to keep a clean house with so many children. You are a good mom and a planner. It just shows it is not the amount of children you have it is your relationship to your children. If they respect you they will do what you want of them. Congratulations mom you are the real deal.

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  34. Courtney
    January 31, 2010 | 9:36 am

    GREAT idea. I have a hard time getting my kiddos to clean up their rooms.

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  35. Jasmine
    January 31, 2010 | 10:49 am

    I like it! I am spending the weekend cleaning out my girls’ rooms since we are snowed in. There is so much stuff in there! I already did your laundry challenge and got the clothes under control but now it is all the other stuff. I would like to see your play area/ school room as I am getting ready to get rid of our formal dinning room and make it into an area for school and toys. I am homeschooling and only have 3 girls so far but hope for more, but I really need to get the amount of stuff under control and have a better housekeeping system implemented. Thank you.

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    Jasmine Reply:

    Ok I found your post with the school room pics. Very nice! Thank you

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  36. Angela
    March 21, 2010 | 1:00 pm

    I love your blog! I only have 2 children, and your bedroom picture blew me away! They don’t have much in their rooms either, but they don’t look so neat. I love your family fun night idea and all your wonderful walls etc. Can’t wait to read more!

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  37. Crystal & Co.
    January 12, 2011 | 12:18 pm

    Excellent idea! My kids’ rooms always look like a tornado hit them. (And we set aside time every day to pick them up.)

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  38. Melanie
    January 12, 2011 | 8:50 pm

    I could HUG you right now!!! What a great idea! I am so happy to find your blog today and am following for more updates!

    Blessings,
    Melanie

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  39. Kristina
    January 13, 2011 | 1:02 am

    Just came across your site from WFMW! I am always looking for incentives to get my daughter to keep her room clean. Maybe when her sister is a little older I can introduce some competition. Great idea!

    http://ahomemadebykiki.blogspot.com

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  40. MALIKA
    September 25, 2011 | 12:13 am

    Wow! I just happened to find your blog site. God is so good. It has been such a blessing for a new homeschool mom that struggles with keeping order in her home. It’s after midnight and I can’t pull away. I’m sitting here with paper and pen taking notes. You are a true gift. Now I only have two children (but greatly admire large families). I love the idea of creating a trophy system for the cleanest room. Currently, my children do a lot of arguing and fighting. I’m concerned that the system may bring further division, while producing cleaner rooms. Thoughts???

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  41. susan Graham
    January 18, 2015 | 4:26 am

    I am extremely interested in this concept for my grandchildren. They are very well behaved and do wonderful in school. lately however their mother has had stage 4 cancer that spread to her lungs. She is not able to stay on the children to do their chores. Her husband is gone sometimes over night. I like this system and would like to share it with her. She really needs someone who can do a deep clean one time to get the ball rolling because while she was in the hospital twice in the last two months things got out of hand. If you know of anyone please let us know. We are currently trying to raise funds for her gigantic medical bills that have been piling up and just plain living bills because her husband had to be there for her. They thought she was going to die around thanksgiving. My daughter is a miracle and has touched the lives of so many people. If you are on facebook I would love to friend you.

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