Helping Your Children Clean Their Rooms with the Zone Technique

Wingstour wings digital books To Dream The Impossible Dream of An Organized Home

Does the idea of organizing and cleaning your home seem like an impossible dream? Homeschooling mother of six Tami Fox shares how she uses routines in her home to make it a haven for her family. She’s taught her children these routines, so they’ll be able to take their wings and fly into life as prepared adults. She shares positive methods for organizing and cleaning. Tami wants to help you give your children wings, so they can FLY, too!

Marla Cilley, The FlyLady –
Tami has taken FLYing to a new level! Not only has she educated her six children well and eliminated CHAOS, she has not lost herself in the process.”
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Take a minute and go look at your child’s bedroom. How does it look? If it needs cleaning, your first inclination is likely to tell your child to go clean his or her bedroom. This is usually not met with success because they don’t know where to start. You can help this take control of cleaning their room by giving them Zones to work in for each cleaning session.

Break the room down into Zones. Most bedrooms can be broken down into 4 or 5 areas:

Zone 1 – the bed, nightstand, and under the bed

Zone 2 – The Closet

Zone 3 – The Floor

Zone 4 – Desk and other flat surfaces

Zone 5 – The adjacent bathroom, if they have one.

Another way to break it down into 4 Zones would be to divide the room into fourths and use each wall as the directions.

Zone 1 – The wall where the door is. Clean the area along that wall and the floor.

Zone 2 – The wall with the closet. Clean the floor in front of the closet and the closet.

Zone 3 – Wall 3 where the bed is. This would include the bed, floor, and furniture around the bed.

Zone 4 – Wall 4 where the desk or dresser or other flat surfaces are located and the floor in that area.

When you tell them to clean an area in their room, you need to give them the tools they will need. If they are changing their sheets, have an extra set of clean sheets ready, so they can strip the bed and remake it immediately. Teach them to wash, dry, fold, and put away their bedding and clothes.

If they need to do a big declutter project in their room, give them boxes labeled, Throw Away, Put Away, and Give Away. Tell them that they have to find a place for everything they want to keep. If their dresser needs cleaning out, have them do one drawer per day for a week. If they need to clean out their closet, tell them to only pull out what they can put back in an hour. They might have to stage out how to clean out their entire closet. You don’t want to burn them out on an all-day closet clean out. Help them break it down by shelves in the closet, the hanging stuff in the closet, and the floor of the closet. Tell them they can only keep what fits neatly in the closet.

If they need to clean their flat surfaces in their room, provide the same boxes for them to sort the stuff on the flat surfaces. Then give them the tools to dust their flat surfaces. If you can convince them to keep fewer things on their flat surfaces, they can do a quick dusting in their room once a week. If they have a desk in their room, have them clear it off and only put back what they need to have available to do their homework. If their desk drawers need to be cleaned out, have them clean out one drawer per day.

If their bedroom floor is covered with clean clothes and dirty clothes, it’s time to introduce them to doing their own laundry. Teach them how to sort their clothes. Then make sure they do all 4 steps of the laundry process: wash, dry, fold/hang, put away. Only let them keep the clothes that they can store reasonably in their room. They can store off-season clothes somewhere else in the house, if you have a place for that. Have them clean their bedroom floor and vacuum it. Work with them weekly on consistently keeping their floor picked up, the flat surfaces clean, and their bedding changed.

If your child has an adjacent bathroom, you should also provide them with the tools and training to clean his or her bathroom. Teach them to do a quick, daily swish of the toilet with the bowl brush and a quick swipe with a cloth around the sink and in the sink. Once a week, they should wipe down their shower and/or tub. The daily maintenance will take less than two minutes and will eliminate the need for a major deep cleaning of the bathroom.

They can do this! You need to give them the tools to do it.

Tami Fox is an author from North Carolina. She and her husband have six children who range in age from 25 down to 9. She has taught her children how to take care of their rooms and help take care of their home, so they are ready to take care of their own homes when they move out. She wrote the book, Giving Your Children Wings, to help you with ideas on how to teach your children, so they are ready to FLY into adulthood. You can learn more about Tami and her book at

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