Is There A Handbook To Get My Kids To Clean?

Let me just start with saying, I love my children. We all know this. They are the best and make my days brighter and my heart full. But, seriously, what is with their inability/unwillingness to clean??

Well, not necessarily clean, but just pick up their stuff. Well, not necessarily just pick up their stuff, but pick it up and not leave it somewhere else.

Ever since we moved, cleaning and organizing has become my hobby. (Yeah, I know, I need better hobbies.) It’s important to me that everything stays in good working order and oddly enough, I actually enjoy it. But, the kids don’t seem to share my inspired motivation. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I would say that Antwan was deliberately thwarting me.  It’s amazing the amount of times that he moves things right after I put them away. And I knew it was bad when William was upset that I asked him to sweep and mop the upstairs floor. He said that he can’t enjoy his weekend now because he has to do chores. (20 minutes, tops, people! 20 minutes!) Kaleb says things like, at least, I didn’t, insert slightly worse option. Lizzie is the rarest offender, she almost never makes a mess anywhere in the house but, what’s up with the collection of food wrappers in her room?

I know that this isn’t just me. If it is, don’t tell me, it might make me cry. 😉  But, I don’t understand why my 19 year old thinks it’s ok to clean his shoes with the hand towel in the bathroom. Or why he insists on setting the toilet paper on the floor. And don’t even get me started on his tendency to throw his shirts in the sink and complain that I put them in the washer because I assumed they are dirty when they are actually  clean. And, I don’t understand why my 16 year old can’t put the towel back in the bathroom but instead throws it on his bedroom floor.  And  can’t take his dirty clothes to his room but leaves them on the bathroom floor instead. Or why my 12 year old has to decorate the living room floor with his orange socks, leave his toothpaste on the kitchen counter, and why he left hangers on the porch. Or more importantly, why did he bring hangers outside in the first place? And why can’t he close a cabinet. Why? Why?

I thought about putting signs up everywhere as reminders. But, that would be an eye sore and I have a cute cat sign in the bathroom reminding them to flush and that sure doesn’t happen so why bother?

Cuter than it is effective!


I haven’t gotten very far with this winner, either. hahacatsign2

But, I did think of a potentially pointless and definitely time consuming, but maybe at least irritating enough to work, idea.

I’m going to write a Parker family handbook!

It will come with all of the expectations of the household! It will insure that no one can say that they didn’t know that I didn’t want them to leave plates in their room, for example. They will sign that they received it and get their own copy!

As I typed that, I realized how pointless a handbook would be. But, as far as I can tell, everything else is, too. But, please, (seriously, please!) let me know what works for you parents out there. And if nothing works, definitely tell me that, too. Maybe we can get together for coffee and cry together. 😉

But, meanwhile, I’m going to make my little handbook. I love to write so might as well.  I’m sure that my children who I love so much will appreciate my efforts and understand the importance of following rules. They will grasp the fact that I’m trying to mold them into successful and competent future adults and they will thank me for it. It’s ok, you can laugh. I can’t hear you over Brian’s laughter, anyway. 🙂


6 thoughts on “Is There A Handbook To Get My Kids To Clean?

  1. I’m guessing you feel better after writing this. I hope so, anyway. I loved reading it, for what that’s worth.
    When I would get really nuts about their messes, I’d declare a “15 minute cleanup” for every person (adults and kids) and set the oven timer. Didn’t care what each chose to clean up, just something. At the end of the time they were free (from cleaning and from my rant). I don’t know that it really made a dent in either the state of the mess or their habits, but it was something.


    1. Oh, that’s a great idea! I’m going to try that. 🙂 Thanks!
      I do feel better after writing it, although it started to wear off a bit when I saw their bathroom tonight, haha. Thanks for the comment and for reading!


  2. My 16 year old does the exact same things! And my 11 year old leaves his socks EVERYWHERE. I have started charging him $.10 per sock. It hasn’t helped, but at least I have an allowance now. Since neither of them use the hamper, I make them both do laundry on the weekends. Three loads were done this weekend and I didn’t do any of them. Maybe not the kind of success that you are looking for, but success nonetheless!


  3. I have an 18 and 19 year old and constantly fight this fight.
    One day one of them replaced the Toliet paper roll and I almost cried I was so happy. Unfortunately it was a one time occurrence.
    I have no good ideas to offer but you are not the only one living through this…


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