9 year old and messy room - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 11-23-2009, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Any suggestions as to how I can get my daughter to keep her room clean? Not spotless or anything, just clean enough to walk through. Part of the problem is that she has a lot of stuff... she is an only child, only grandchild, her father and I are divorced. You get the idea. In addition to toys, she tends to collect and save things. So I find in her room, for example, a halloween basket stuffed with two crayons, crumpled up paper, a piece of candy, small toy and a pair of underpants. Baskets full of buckeyes. School papers from last year. She is very sensitive and resistant to getting rid of things.

She has a large room, plenty of storage, and she should be old enough to put things away. I go through periodically and clean and clear stuff out... but other than completely getting rid of anything and taking it to goodwill...I don't know what to do. I am completely frustrated right now and at my wits end.

Help???

Leah mom to Delilah 9/00, angel Stephen lost 5/25/09 at 40 weeks, and twins Gus and Cash 1/10

Expecting a miracle January 2012

 

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#2 of 12 Old 11-23-2009, 03:21 PM
 
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I don't have advice, since my DS's are younger that your DD. But, for what it's worth, I did read a nice suggestion about this in Keepers of the Children by Laura Ramirez. She suggested that parents and kids work together to organize kids' space regularly, so that kids develop the skill set to organize and so that it's cooperative. Then cleaning up isn't a command, but a family project, complete with planning and maybe even shopping for materials to help keep organized (bins, etc).
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#3 of 12 Old 11-23-2009, 03:30 PM
 
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By age 9, I'd probably back off and let her have free reign of "her domain"- but with some limits. It's not like you share a bedroom with her and need her to keep her stuff neat so you can safely get to your own bed. You CAN close her bedroom door if the mess is bothering you too much.

Periodically, help her clean up and organize. I wouldn't give away anything of hers without her consent- ideally she'll be working next to you and making decisions together about what to keep or give/throw away, but it's fine to tell her "it's clean up time now- if you won't continue working with me, then I will make decisions about what to keep."


I wouldn't allow her to take food in her room if she's not responsible about throwing away empty wrappers properly. That can lead to bugs (and is a health/safety issue.)

I woudln't wash her clothes if I couldn't safely get to her hamper. It's her responsibility to leave you a safe path to the laundry, or she can wash her clothes herself. If she wanted a certain item clean for a specific event, and you were unable to wash it, then she wont' have that item clean.

Ditto on washing and changing her sheets. If you can't get to the bed safely, you don't wash them.

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#4 of 12 Old 11-23-2009, 03:31 PM
 
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9 still seems young to me to be able to sort, and store neatly without being completely overwhelmed. Can you set a day a week where you help with this task. Show her how to do it methodically, like "let's pick up all the stuffed animals first", then move on to another type of toy, next pick up the school papers and neatly put into storage. But if you do it together weekly maybe she will pick up on keeping up through out the rest of the week. if not at least you get it clean once a week.
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#5 of 12 Old 11-23-2009, 03:38 PM
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I just want to mention that my room was totally slobbish as a kid, and I grew up to be a fairly tidy individual. It happened when it was important to ME.

My kids' rooms are disaster areas, and even though they are older I go through their rooms with them every so often just so I can at least get to the carpet long enough to vacuum. Because that's important to me. It's not important to them. When it becomes important to them, they'll do it.
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#6 of 12 Old 11-23-2009, 03:41 PM
 
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My dd is 8. We have cleaned together for years, and she is now able to clean on her own--although it involves a lot of stuffing in drawers and closets, lol. I also clean her room when she is in school, and she is fine with that. She knows I won't get rid of anything she wants to keep. After years of cleaning together, I know what is important to her and what is not.

We have a rule that her room must be tidy (clean floors and all clothing put away, for example) before she has a friend over. She has a friend over most weekends, so that works well for us. We have the same rule for the rest of the house before inviting guests, so it is just our habit.

If she simply has too much stuff, it will be difficult for her or anyone to clean. Would she be agreeable to putting some things "away" for a while? (maybe in bags in your closet, or in the garage?). Does she have a waste basket in her room?
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#7 of 12 Old 11-23-2009, 04:07 PM
 
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I am subbing in the hope someone comes up with a brilliant suggestion. I am currently on my 2nd DD (12 yo) with a messy room. I could never get my eldest to clean her room either, until she had had enough and did it for herself because she wanted to. She is now 19, and has moved out, and earns extra money housecleaning, including mine. And she actually enjoys cleaning and organizing her little sister's room.

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#8 of 12 Old 11-23-2009, 06:34 PM
 
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I always have the most luck with my 9 y.o. when I approach it with "Let's clean your room" - a job to do together. She will scrub the bathroom, fold clothes and put them away - even make MY bed before she would do anything in her "own" bedroom. I think she gets overwhelmed.

Another thing I've done in the past that worked nicely was to make a numbered list of things that needed to be done in the room like:
Put away all dolls
Put all books on the shelf
Make bed
Hang up clothes
Put play food in the kitchen area

And she'd check it off as she went. I think breaking it down makes it easier to handle. Now she shares her space w/ a 2 y.o. so I feel like I have to help her keep things tidy since a tasmanian devil is let lose in there everyday!

Mama to two sweet girls, Flowerbaby (2) and Moongirl (9)
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#9 of 12 Old 11-23-2009, 07:21 PM
 
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There is a chapter on organizing children's rooms for maximum ease of cleaning, in the book Organizing from the Inside Out.

Also if she has a lot of the same art supplies which are being stored for later use, you could store them somewhere out of the way (in her closet or out of her room), and then she could go get them when she has used up the current art supplies.
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#10 of 12 Old 11-23-2009, 08:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uccomama View Post
I am subbing in the hope someone comes up with a brilliant suggestion. I am currently on my 2nd DD (12 yo) with a messy room. I could never get my eldest to clean her room either, until she had had enough and did it for herself because she wanted to. She is now 19, and has moved out, and earns extra money housecleaning, including mine. And she actually enjoys cleaning and organizing her little sister's room.
I can see my DD becoming the clutterbug, and DS cleaning it for her

My mom I think was great about it, in fact I love her stlil today for her approach LOL! I went through clutter/clean freak stages through late adolescence and teen years. My mom always had this kind of implied rule, that we MUST keep our space tidy enough for her to be able to put our laundry away, and if she bought us any valuables or breakables and found them on the floor or not being put away/cared for properly, she had a bookcase type thing downstairs in the office/den type room that she would put them. Not so as to say, "you don't take care of this I"m keeping it," but in plain sight on a shelf and would remind me the cost of buying nice things and that kind of thing. I've been doing the same with my kids. We have a nice wall unit in the living room where I let them keep lots of stuff, and it makes them appreciate the way their things look while nice and organized, and they can always find them. I really like a clean/organized space and DS is pretty tidy for a 5.5 year old. I treat DH the same way LOL, he's the REAL messy one around here!!
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#11 of 12 Old 11-24-2009, 08:37 AM
 
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We enforce room cleaning every week. Daily the room must be tidy and the bed made, but once a week (anytime during the week), these chores have to happen:
-bed stripped of sheets
-laundry taken to the laundry room
-surfaces dusted
-drawers organized
-floor swept

Mostly it's to keep things semi-clean. We don't own the house and bugs/ants are too common pests, so this ensures that candy wrappers, cups, etc. are taken care of before the mess becomes overwhelming. It helps that everybody in the house does these same chores, so it's not something that The Kid feels is "unfairrrrrrr".

However, the caveat to this is that we have cards so I can keep a record of what was done. One chore per card, put on the dining room table for me to check after its finished. If Saturday rolls around and nothing has happened, then The Kid knows my standard answer to any inquiry: "Certainly you can _____, as soon as your chores are done."

I don't nag or repeat anything other than variations of "yes, as soon as your chores are done". It's not my job. He knows the standards, he knows how to do them (I made sure of that before we started the cards), and he knows that I'm willing to help whenever he wants to tackle a big task, like getting rid of toys or radically changing his room. It's given us both peace of mind to know that this is a weekly occurence and that I'm not going to be exasperated - it's his time after all, he can spend it how he likes. In total, the five weekly chores take him about an hour on a bad week, which isn't bad. We do Flylady in the house, too, so he's well situated with a timer of his own so he can divvy up the work in manageable bites.

We still have weeks of times when he stomps back in a huff, but who doesn't? Heck, I don't want to wrestle with my sheets sometimes. I just think approaching it in a "here are the standards, you do them your way" sort of thing works best for him.
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#12 of 12 Old 11-29-2009, 12:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earthus76 View Post
I always have the most luck with my 9 y.o. when I approach it with "Let's clean your room" - a job to do together. She will scrub the bathroom, fold clothes and put them away - even make MY bed before she would do anything in her "own" bedroom. I think she gets overwhelmed.

Another thing I've done in the past that worked nicely was to make a numbered list of things that needed to be done in the room like:
Put away all dolls
Put all books on the shelf
Make bed
Hang up clothes
Put play food in the kitchen area

And she'd check it off as she went. I think breaking it down makes it easier to handle. Now she shares her space w/ a 2 y.o. so I feel like I have to help her keep things tidy since a tasmanian devil is let lose in there everyday!
I really like the idea of the checklist, and of making it a regularly scheduled event where you do it together. I was a slob as a 9-year-old, and my parents always told me to clean my room, but never really taught me how, KWIM? I never had a place for everything, and it got so out of control that I was constantly overwhelmed. Not much has changed in 30 years.

Betsy, mama to beautiful, strong MZ twins Lillian and Kate, born 11 weeks early on January 10, 2006.
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