Advice for kids and teenagers on how to deal with having to clean their room.

Crooner62 asks: Why is it so hard to clean up my room when I know the mess will just get worse if I don’t?!

Crooner, I don’t know exactly how old you are, but I can tell you that things like this get easier when you get older.  When you’re a puppy, it’s just so hard to concentrate on something as BORRRING as cleaning!  I’ve written elsewhere on here how much I hate getting baths, but that’s not BORRRING like being asked to clean up.  Really I don’t think there’s anything more BORRRING in the world than cleaning your room.  You point out that the mess gets worse if you don’t, but of course the opposite is true too: the mess just comes back if you do clean up, which is the most BORRRING thing I can think of!

(For some reason, the word “Boring” is ringing in my ears right now.  Any idea why?!)

So why does it get easier when you get older?  Well, for one, you feel like your space is your own.  You’re not just cleaning because your mom wants things to look a certain way.  Or because you have to if you want to get your allowance.  No, you’re taking care of YOUR environment, and YOUR self.  And that actually feels good.  Take me, for example.  I really enjoy grooming myself now.  And I wouldn’t even consider pooping in my own room, the way I did when I was a puppy!   Think about it – there was a time when you were totally cool with walking around in dirty diapers!  But your attitude changed eventually, didn’t it!

But for now, you don’t have that desire in yourself to clean your room.  Which is totally normal for a kid or a teenager.  So here’s my suggestion, for now.  If you have to clean your room, or anything else, your job is: Force Yourself to Concentrate.  If you don’t concentrate, a fifteen-minute job can take a whole day.  Do you have a music player in your room?  That often seems to help a lot.  Put on something you really like – say one of your favorite CDs.  And tell yourself you’re going to clean until that CD is done, or the room is clean, whichever comes first.  Then GO FOR IT!  Clean like that cartoon Tasmanian Devil!  How fast can you go?!  Get all the clothes up first, then all the toys, then all the books, video games, papers, whatever it is.  Do them in groups so you’ll see the progress you’re making.  And once you’re done, scream it out:  “I’M DONE!”  Suddenly you have the rest of the day ahead of you.  You’re free, life can be fun, and you’ve probably just made your parents really happy about you too.

Or, if you prefer, you can stall.  And wait.  And pick up a comic book.  And complain.  And if you do that, then it’s you who’ll just be – you know what I’m going to say, don’t you – BORRRING!

Ha!  Thanks for the question!

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