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organizing 101: getting your kids to help


i did an organizing 101 of “where do i begin” read it here.

this time i want to talk about how to get the kids to help.

to help with the whole process of chores we use the token system in our house. granted we’ve modified it as the year has progressed. certain things are bigger rewards and therefore earn more tokens while other’s aren’t that important anymore. but cleaning and chores still hold their market value. earning tokens is basically earning “privileges” or money to buy toys or to put into a savings account.

they even have been known to pay for “maid” services (meaning i can’t handle it anymore and i clean it up) that’s a total of 10 tokens each ( i ain’t cheap!) this system has SAVED our family.

something that is important to note is that you can not expect your kids to do anything you yourself aren’t willing to do.

first you have to teach your kids what you mean when you say “clean your room.”

cleaning your room in my house means picking up and putting away everything where it belongs. and it means i do it with them. as the years have passed by, my older boys know what i mean when i say “clean your room” and they actually are getting real good at it.

get rid of junk:

just like i said in the 101 on “where do i get started”. you need to get rid of stuff starting from the closets and drawers first. make room for things that belong in that room

then go through all the toys and get rid of all the junk, or broken toys, and yes even toys that you have a hard time getting rid of, but realize that they don’t play with them.

don’t buy anymore clothes or toys

unless you have a place for them. if you don’t have the room, refrain from buying it. my kids do not have many toys, but the toys they do have they love.

set a time every day that you pick up the room.

for us its two times a day. once in the morning (generally just making beds, and picking up and putting away pjs) at the end of the day right before we settle down we do a once over of putting away toys in bins, and making sure all dirty clothes go in dirty piles and in the laundry room.

weed out stuff regularly.

during the school year i do it while they are at school. once a month or so i look and i get rid of “junk” that gets collected. we also (as a family) around fall time do a big “get rid of stuff because birthdays and christmas is coming” the kids know that in order to get toys they need to make room for them. and that usually means we need to get rid of a few less loved toys.

make your kids pay for their own toys.

well except for birthdays and christmas…here’s where the token system comes into play again. 10 tokens equals $1 my kids like to get 100 tokens and then go and spend their $10 on whatever they want to spend it on.


i hope some of these pointers will help with getting your kids started on helping out in keeping their rooms clean.

keep in mind i’m not a professional in any way shape or form, and my house does get lived in and isn’t perfect by any means…one thing i do know is moving a lot and living in houses of all different square footage, and any size house will feel small if you have too much stuff in it, and these are some of the things that have worked for us.

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