6 Ideas to help slay the beast of untidy bedrooms




I want to suggest to you that there is importance in teaching your children the value of tidy bedrooms because chaos distracts from a peaceful soul.

Teaching our children the beauty of a peaceful place to rest

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.” Psalm 23 v2

I own up. My home is not always as well ordered as it could be and it is not always a place of blessing and rest when weary bones want to sit particularly if the children have been unsupervised for a while! But I want us to think, for a moment, about the blessing of a well ordered place where chaos is not in charge. How restful and peaceful is a messy place where you can barely put your feet or find a place to be still? My children do not play nicely in a messy bedroom. They are not full of joy when a favourite toy or something they have made is trodden on and broken. There is not peace in their hearts when they can’t find their shoes/ sun hat/ homework as the call comes to leave for school.

The shepherd in Psalm 23 leads the sheep to a place where his soul finds peace and rest. Then that soul finds strength to be confident in the shepherd through the dark valley. I want to suggest to you that there is importance in teaching your children the value of tidy bedrooms because chaos distracts from a peaceful soul. I cannot say whether the current generation of children are any more easily distracted than any previous one, though many say they are, but what I do know is that we need to be teaching our children the value of resting in God and not being distracted by other ‘stuff’ all around us calling for our attention. Tidying should not be your master, or theirs, but a place of peaceful rest is important. Tidying will not get your child eternal life but we cannot work effectively in the Kingdom of God if we cannot rest in Him first. Don’t read things here that I am not saying my dear Christian friend. I am not saying that you can’t have a productive Quite Time until you have done your housework—this is not right! What I am saying is that the order of our outer life and our inner life is connected. There is value in tidiness other than less embarrassment when people call.

Go and tidy your room

Below are six ideas to make bedroom tidying a bit more fun than just ordering your children to “go and tidy your room!” My sister Ruth reminds me, and I pass on to you, that all children tidy better with help. I do recommend your involvement and your setting a good example as the best methods to get the job done.









I usually find they tidy more than the required number of things because they try to out compete each other!


1. Five Alive

Send the children off to tidy five things each time of a type of your choosing. For example the five biggest things, five black things, five books, five pieces of clothing, five things nearest the door, five red things, five soft toys, five hands-full of Lego/k’nex/Meccano. (Obviously you can choose a bigger number if you want to.)

My middle daughter particularly likes this method and is even prepared to go up and down the stairs each time if I am in the kitchen while she is tidying her room—not a good thing if there is lots to tidy as she gets tired before she has finished!

2. Time out

Quite simply I get the children to take time out from their playing every 15 minutes through the day to tidy 20 things each time. I usually put the kitchen timer on so everyone can hear that it is time to tidy (and I don’t forget). I usually find they tidy more than the required number of things because they try to out compete each other!


If they are watching TV with adverts they can go up and tidy for the whole of the advert break. The children usually rush off enthusiastically especially if they are rewarded with another TV programme for the work well done. Though if the room is very messy you may not want them watching TV all day! - use another method.

3. Role with it

You need 1 or 2 numbered dice. Write a list of 6 colours and number them 1-6 (you can change the colours once all of one colour is tidied). Roll the die twice (or two dice). One of the numbers is the number of things to tidy the other is for the colour of those things from your list. Usually we play a variation of rolling the dice twice or three times for the number of things to tidy and add the numbers together (practices mental maths at the same time!) This gets things moving a little more quickly.

All my children like this method but it can lead to arguments about whose turn it is to roll the dice!

4. Step to it

Begin at the door way and take 1 step into the messy room. Tidy everything between you and the door. Using a piece of string to make a line to mark that distance helps younger children. Next time (15 minutes later?) take two steps in, then three steps etc.

5. Hard work has its rewards

Hide some pennies around the room to be tidied. When they find the pennies as they tidy they can have them. 

This is a method my nephew came up with to get help from his brothers and sisters and works well for him it seems.

6. Tidy Olympics

This method is hard work in its self but it is for having some fun with especially if you have more than one child. Make Olympic events out of the tidying tasks. Rowing—fill your row boat (a box—smaller boxes for younger children) with toys. Goal scoring—who can toss toys into a box at 2,3 or 4 paces? Weight lifter—who can make the biggest pile of rubbish? Pentathlon—who can put away five types of toys fastest (eg books, soft toys, cars, dolls, bricks)? High jump—who can make the longest pole from construction toys( eg Lego, Duplo, Meccano, k’nex etc. You can only use what was on the floor not get it out of the box!)? Think of more of your own ideas.

How many cheering fans can you make? T shirt, skirt/trousers and socks make one person.

What about your national flag? Tidy away 10 things in each of the colours of your national flag.

(place holder)

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This article © Linda Faber 2006-2009.