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How can I get my teenager to clean his room?

Updated on June 28, 2011

Buy a big throw rug!

1st measure the room that the teen has trashed and go get a throw rug that will fit the space. Kick everything in the room around until the piles are about the same height and all the floor is equally covered. Then stand back and unfurl that rug and let it cover the mess. Then walk around on it and stomp down the places where it pokes up. You will be surprised at how neat the room looks and so will your teen. Then when the room looses it's tidy look, just roll the rug back and kick the new mess under the rug.

When you hear the teen asking,

"Mom, where is my toothbrush?" You simply reply, "Did you look under the rug?"

"Mom, have you seen my IPOD?" You simply reply, "Did you look under the rug?"

"Mom, is there any pizza left?" You simply reply, "Did you look under the rug?"

Home Work: "Did you look under the rug?"

Where's dad, "Did you look under the rug?"

Can I have my allowance? "Did you look under the rug?"

Can I use the car? "Did you look under the rug?"

MOM, YOU ARE MAKING ME MAD! "Get under the rug!"

Look it is all perspective, when the mess is under the rug, I don't have to look at it, and looking at it is my problem and I solved my problem.

Messed up Room
Messed up Room
Organized Closet
Organized Closet
New Simple Bed
New Simple Bed

Do you want to visit your grandparents?

Send the errant teen to see his grandparents.  Don't worry they won't keep him!  While he is gone, contact the local fire department and let them practice with their fire hoses in the room.   Be sure to open the windows and stash your throw rug some place safe.   When the teen comes back from his grandparents, show him where his stuff is and tell him to hurry up and pick it up before the yard sale on Saturday.

Then have the yard sale on Saturday and sell all of the stuff he has left in the yard for 5 cents.  Then have the goodwill come by and pick up the rest.   All the nickles belong to the teen of course and you can gladly hand them over.  Then tell him that you are bringing his throw rug back tomorrow.   

When tomorrow comes, kick the stuff around in the room to make the floor equally loaded and pretty flat and then roll the rug out.

When the teen asks where anything is, say  "Did you look under the rug?"

How Can you Help?

I know that the humor has probably not helped you much with your problem, but it is important to make sure that your approach never says any of the following:

  1. Your room is more important that you are.
  2. I don't think you are capable of cleaning your room.
  3. I do not believe in you.
  4. I will not help you.

It is important to convey the expectation and to discuss how to get organized and to offer help at every step. It may even be helpful to consult sources of organization like books, kits, or stores.

I found that involving my son in every aspect of the change was great because he had ideas that I never thought of for organizing baseball cards, magazines and hats. Shopping at a storage store was very helpful too as he chose a bin rather than a hamper for dirty clothes.

As it turned out the room needed more than a cleaning and when re realized that, we were able to focus on the great new way we could make the room over into a more sophisticated place for him and his stuff.

Hints that we got that made a difference to him:

Bold new accessories for the room, a huge mirrior.

The window treatments needed to be more masculine. Change those.

A lot of stuff needed to be junked, get rid of the broken stuff and garbage stuff.

Organizational bins were needed.

Replace the blankets with a comforter that could just be thrown over the bed.

Get some huge pillows for sitting on the floor but can be stacked on the corner.

Get a comfortable chair.

Set up an area for computer, homework, etc.

Start over........

This may have a great desired effect, ask for a timely tune up and help with it.  You may have to help keep it up....and you can meet each challenge one at a time.   

You may discover that you need more organizational ideas for the closet or containers.  Remember to use organizational suggestions and displays.


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    • profile image

      GoldenThreadPress 5 years ago

      I think I'm going to forward this Hub to my son. Is his room a mess? Yes! Will a throw rug do his room justice? Not sure but I think it may be worth a try. Well, maybe I will try some of your other solutions. I think it is better as you point out to assist wherever possible to help one's son or daughter learn the art of organization. Super Hub! Voted Up--Best Regards--Deb

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      When raising teens, it sure helps to have a sense of humor. Unfortunately, some never grow out of it. I had a 60 year old friend who's place was a huge mess, huge.

    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      @KCC consider this, messy teens usually grow up to be neat and tidy. Just wait. LOL

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 7 years ago from Central Texas

      I finally gave up trying to get my teenage daughter to keep her room tidy. I decided that we just have different standards and if she wants to live like that, then she can. I just ask that she keeps the door shut so that I don't have to see it.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      That was a great read and I loved the humour

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Funny AND useful! I remember those days all too well!

    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Thank you angel4todd, I appreciate the kind words.

    • angel4todd profile image

      angel4todd 7 years ago from louisiana

      this is really funny. i enjoyed reading this.

    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Nellianna, thanks for the detailed and fun feedback once again! I love all your spirited comments and positive support.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 7 years ago from TEXAS

      I was really buying into the big throw rug and fire hose! haha - well - I have no teens now, though my teen-age great grandkids and their mom are coming to visit in a couple of weeks. My den floor will be full of their stuff but I like it! (it's only for 5 days, besides!)

      This really is a great article. Maybe I'll print it up for my granddaughter when she goes home! ;)

    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Once again, thanks BJ, I appreciate the support.

    • BJBenson profile image

      BJBenson 7 years ago from USA

      You write such great hubs about teens and parents.