Tackling Preteens' Messy Bedrooms

messy bedroom
messy bedroom

by patricia cornwell.

As they grow up, children want to take control of the one thing they feel is really theirs: their bedroom. They take the view that “my bedroom is my castle” and passionately stick to it. Unfortunately, for many kids, taking charge of their bedroom doesn't necessarily mean maintaining it. Being able to leave their bedrooms cluttered, despite parental nagging, is a way of saying, “This is my room and I'm going to do with it what I want, when I want, and how I want no matter how hard you're trying to get me to clean it.” In fact, this is their way of disobeying the rules so they can live on their own terms. If you are a nanny who has stumbled across a rebellious preteen and you find yourself putting in a lot of effort to clean the mess every day or every other day, this article is for you. Continue reading to find out how to tame a messy preteen bedroom with ease.

Designate a Place for Everything…

…and get your charge to follow. The best way to clean the room is to reduce clutter to a minimum. How do you do that? Find a place for everything so that when you de-clutter, you won't waste much time wondering where to put an object. Make sure the children know where each item belongs and try to remind them to put everything back in its place after use. A messy bedroom can at times represent the chaos of a preteen mind, manifested into shirts and shoes strewn across the room. Sometimes a simple organization system can offer a solution to both disorganized clutter and thoughts!

Clean More Often

The more often you clean, the less there will be to clean. This can be more time efficient than dealing with huge amounts of dirt and clutter at the end of the week. Don't wait for a bigger mess to be created. If you get to a point when you can hardly find your bearings in the kids' rooms, then you have definitely lost control over the situation and it could take ages to fix. Keep it simple and make it a habit to have a daily walk-through of the room in order to collect dirty clothes or lift books from the floor.

Get the Children to Clean Their Own Bedrooms

One of your responsibilities as a nanny is to teach the children how to be self-sufficient. Showing them how to maintain their bedrooms is one way to teach them to be more organized and disciplined. They will need to know how to clean up their own messes when their parents and nanny are not around.

However, sometimes getting children to clean their own rooms can be causa perduta at times, a hopeless case. It can be summarized with Dante's famous phrase, “Abandon all hope, you who enter here.” But don't despair! If it is the child’s responsibility to clean and they are not convinced to do so, consider turning cleaning into a fun game. If there are siblings, you can even incentivize cleaning with an appropriate prize, such as saying “The first one to pick up all his toys gets to choose what book we read this afternoon!”


If above plan does not work, you will need to be a bit more creative and flexible. As a nanny, you have the freedom to reinforce discipline from time to time. You are not a maid, even though your responsibilities may include some housekeeping. That being said, a nanny’s contract typically includes a note about keeping the home tidy, which means you will probably have to deal with messy bedrooms all the time, unless you and the children come to an agreement. The key word is compromise. If the children propose rational explanations for keeping the computer on sleep mode or leaving their musical instruments on their beds, perhaps you can leave it like that. You will promise not to nag them about that if they agree to toss their dirty socks in the hamper instead of dropping them on the floor. Let them admit that dirty dishes or wet clothes are not a welcome sight and encourage them follow your guidelines.

Set Rules

Sharing your responsibilities is another great option. Instead of doing everything by yourself, both you and the children can share the work. Be a team and your days will pass with as few quarrels as possible. Before you do this, though, you should speak to the parents about your idea and explain how this will help to teach the children more responsibility in keeping their own rooms clean. Last but not least, set rules. If all the children do is create a mess so that you can be kept busy all day trying to fix it, it is going to be endless torture with you being the only one suffering. With parental permission, make it clear to them that clothes that were not tossed in the hamper will not be washed and homework or art projects left lying around will be assumed to be trash. They will have no choice but to comply with the rules or learn to do some of the tasks for themselves. Make sure the children know who is in charge of the household and who the manager of the team is.

Good luck!