23 answers

Kids and Their Clothes

Has anyone figured out how to get their kids to simply put their dirty clothes in a hamper that they are standing right next to or to put clean clothes in their drawers?
My 7 and 10 year-olds are too lazy, for the most part. Yet they sure can complain that they don't have anything to wear! I go into their rooms to find clothes all over the floor, and then lots of them dirty. But how do I know which is which?

I thought about telling them I would only wash what is in a hamper, but my older one will just wear them filthy. I really don't want him to go around looking like he gets his clothes from a trash dumpster-it kinda reflects on me.

I believe I know how they think: Gotta hurry and get outta here, so just drop or throw. If in slightly playful mood: maybe twirl and throw.

OR am I asking too much? I'm starting to wish I had all their dresser drawers under lock and key--off with the dirty into the hamper; be issued a clean one.

Anyway, has anyone mastered this yet? Somehow I doubt dolling up the hamper to look like a target or basketball net would work for long, I've thought of that, too.

I could use some suggestions. Anybody got any?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi D. - Any clothes I find on the floor go into a bag in my closet. My 10 year old daughter then has to "earn" them back if she wants something. (Folding a load of Laundry = 2 items, emptying the dishwasher is 1 item etc.) Anything that is not claimed within 2 weeks goes to Good Will. (Although I have never taken anything there). Also, I still remind her to pick-up her clothes after a shower and before bed, etc. so she does have the opportunity to clean-up. Good Luck!

I do think the no stories at bedtime until the room is cleaned up is a good idea. But something more drastic I use for toys is. If its on the floor you must not need/want it.

I'd tell them from now on everyday you will go into their rooms while they are at school. Whatever is on the floor you assume is for donation to the Salvation Army. Take it all and its up to you if you really do donate it. Hide it if you'd like and they can "earn" it back. Once they start losing stuff their attitude will change!

Either that or the you get 4 shirts, when I see you can be responsible for that you will get 1 more a week.

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I put that right in the bathroom, and there is still a hamper in each of my boys' rooms.

At their age, I would try an incentive system, stickers for each time they do it, and then once they reach x, a small reward, such as picking the tv show they want to watch or something.

Hard to go back once they are out of the box!

Keep repeating Don't put it down, put it away! I can still hear it from my mother saying it and it works! I also require it as part of their allowance. Also, all clothes picked up and into hamper before bedtime reading. I moved the hamper out into the room instead of the closet and this little thing seems to make it easier! Good luck, you must insist on this!!

I do think the no stories at bedtime until the room is cleaned up is a good idea. But something more drastic I use for toys is. If its on the floor you must not need/want it.

I'd tell them from now on everyday you will go into their rooms while they are at school. Whatever is on the floor you assume is for donation to the Salvation Army. Take it all and its up to you if you really do donate it. Hide it if you'd like and they can "earn" it back. Once they start losing stuff their attitude will change!

Either that or the you get 4 shirts, when I see you can be responsible for that you will get 1 more a week.

This is a struggle...but it CAN work.

My kids (9 & 12) must have their floors cleaned before they leave for school. If they miss the bus because they don't finish on time, I take them and charge them cab fare. It doesn't take too many times of paying for a ride to school before they'll put their clothes away. (I encourage them to do it at night so there's no rush in the morning, but it's really their choice...that way, they do have SOME say in the matter.) If they get on the bus without doing it (and it's a busy morning and I haven't inspected it), my 12 YO loses video game time for the day...you've got to hit them where it hurts. Sound mean? The stakes are small when they are young...they need to learn responsibility now so they don't lose a job or a marriage later b/c they've never learned to do the right thing. I'm their mom...full of love for them...but I'm not their maid!

Good luck!

I have a 36 year old husband that I can't get to put his dirty clothes in the hamper. I'm not sure that there is a solution.

You kids are certainly capable of putting their clothes in the hamper. My ten year old washes her own clothes and puts them away. You need to give them consequences for not doing it. I have a checklist of what my kids need to do before bedtime and in the morning. One of the things is to put their dirty clothes in the hamper each evening and dirty pj's and underwear in the hamper in the morning. If they do not, they don't get to watch any tv or play on the computer until it is done. If they don't do it at all on a given day, they get money deducted from their allowances. If they are especially good at doing their chores, they get extra allowance.

Explain before you start something like this that you are doing it, and what you expect, and what will happen if they don't do it. Then be sure to follow through and enforce the consequences. It won't take them too long to get in line, if they know you are serious.

I am not too picky on how they put their clothes away in their drawers, as long as the good Sunday clothes get hung up so they aren't too wrinkled.

I LOVED Michelle H's response. In this case I honestly wouldn't go the "reward" route (Amy J,aren't you proud of me? lol) I think it is time for some negative reinforcement. Have the kids write and sign a "contract" spelling out the consequences if not followed (clothes taken away and mustbe earned back, for example). My Dad did this with me as a teen and it worked!

i had the same problem until i kept the durty clothes in a bag and akk of a sudden they had no clothes to wear. LOL now they bring them down from up stairs and i wash them. Every saturday they have to clean their roons and if they don't then they get grounded for a week from going or doing anything.
good luck
T.

Ha!! How about getting my husband to do that?!

Hi D. - Any clothes I find on the floor go into a bag in my closet. My 10 year old daughter then has to "earn" them back if she wants something. (Folding a load of Laundry = 2 items, emptying the dishwasher is 1 item etc.) Anything that is not claimed within 2 weeks goes to Good Will. (Although I have never taken anything there). Also, I still remind her to pick-up her clothes after a shower and before bed, etc. so she does have the opportunity to clean-up. Good Luck!

YOu are certainly not asking too much of your kids!. My boys are 5 and 7 years old and have been putting their dirty clothes into the laundry baskets (one for whites, one for colors) since they are 2 years old. Granted, I'm in their room with then when they're getting ready for bed at night, so I can make sure they do it. They know I won't start reading until the clothes are in the hamper. In the morning they know to put their pajamas away or they'll be doing it later. I would make keeping their room clean an requirement for some else, like watching TV. Good luck!

When I was a kid my mom told me she would wash the clothes that were in the hamper. She was no longer going to hunt and guess what needed washed. If my stuff was not in the hamper and I ran out on clean clothes, i would have to wash them myself. After only washing one outfit by hand so that I had something for school in morning, I made sure I got my clothes to the hamper. Good luck.

No, but listen, when you figure that out, let me know how to get my husband to do the same!!

My 4 year old has it down to a science. When she takes a bath she takes her dirty clothes straight to her closet (where her hamper is). In the morning time when she takes off her pajamas she decides if she wants to wear them again that night if not she tosses them in the dirty clothes. I put her clothes in her drawers after they are washed. I personally think it is a learned behavior. She saw what i did with her clothes and when she started cleaning her room she just imitated everything i did to clean her room. Now if i could just get her to put her books back on her bookcase or get one book at a time.

I am with you on this one,my kiddos are 14,12 and 6 and are terrible about putting dirty clothes in the wash.We have a 2 story home with a laundry chute they have to walk by to go downstairs.So picking up dirty clothes should be easy,or so you would think.My kids tend to wait until the weekend and then it all goes to the laundry,particulary the 14 year old.

I am careful to pick my battles,and even though I like clean bedrooms,it is their room and their space,and I am learning there are bigger things that are more important.
However,laundry is an issue for this,just like yourself and so many other moms.

I have decided after doing laundry,I don't always put the clean stuff back in their rooms,often,it goes into my closet in nice folded piles,until they clean their room.
As one mom said,maybe they have too many clothes,and it doesn't matter whether they put their clothes in a hamper or whatever system you have,they will always have enough stuff to wear.Doing my system also forces them to wear some of the less favorite stuff.So when they clean their rooms,or at least laundry is put away,they get a fresh stack of clean clothes.

You can do this! Just don't let them outsmart you - kids will go to a lot of work to get out of work. My 5 yr old puts his clothes in the hamper has since he was 3. I had a rule...any clothes on the bedroom floor after we he was dressed and out of his room for the morning....I just scooped up and put in a bag and he the bag went to "time out" for a week or 2. (I really washed all the clothes in there and put them in my closet). It only took twice until his favorite items were missing and they were in "time out". Never had the problem again. I also made up a sign for his bedroom "dirty clothes in hamper". Just as a reminder...habits are thoughtless and not easy to break. This gives a cue.
Hope that helps.

i'm still trying to get my husband to put them in the hamper he stands righ next to.. my kids however do put there clothes in the hamper because at bedtime if i see their morning clothes on the floor i tell them to pick them up and put them where the belong.

I had special trouble with one of my sons. His room ALWAYS looked as though a cyclone had struck--clothes dragged out of his drawer, those he had just taken off just where they dropped, etc. I have them tidy up their rooms and make their beds each day before going downstairs and if there is still anything out of place when I check, I give them 10 min. that they must stay in their room and tend to whatever is out of place, even if it is only one thing. He seems to be doing better. One must just keep at the inspection thing, as if everything is out of place, they become discouraged and then, too, that helps them to remember that every day we need to have our room in order. Hope you find the solution for your family.

This sounds silly, but maybe they have too many clothes. maybe if you just leave them 4 T shirts and 2 jeans they would have an easier time putting stuff away since the drawer is practically empty. You can always have them donate what they don't like and don't wear.

I guess it sort of needs to be a routine you teach them. do they pick their clothes out the nigth before? and do they have a routine still for bed time? Just work putting the clothes away as part of it.

I also don't think they are too young to be helping with the laundry and other household chores. I think that is something you need to teach them not in anger or as a punishment, but because they need to learn how to do this stuff so they can take care of themselves as adults.

the housefairy.com related to flylady.net is a program to help parents teach and reinforce good house managent skills in kids, keeping their room clean etc. a little reward adn praise can go far. Even if you don't use the program it's worth checking out the idea behind it.

D.,
My daughter (12) and I both (but independently, apart from each other) came up with the following solution: You object to 2 things: clothing on the floor, and your having to determine what's clean and what's dirty. Go into their room(s), take EVERYTHING you find on the floor, put it into a large leaf trash bag, and hide it. If it's in the hamper, it will get washed. If it's on the floor, it disappears (not permanently, but just enough to make an impact). If they have to go to school wearing the same thing for a few days, peer pressure will get to them. And if they put clothes on the floor while they take a shower, those will disappear, too; you might need to be willing to have them skip school for a day due to nakedness (decide beforehand just how far you're willing to go, and then HAVE NO QUALMS ABOUT GOING THERE.

(It's like when moms are told that if they threaten, they have to be willing to go through with the threat: "If you don't stop doing that, we'll leave the movie right now"--well, OK, but you've got to be willing to do that, otherwise the kid knows it's an empty threat.

I have had this issue with my daughter, and this gave us an opportunity to discuss it. I like involving her in decisions I make concerning house rules (she decided what is an appropriate time to shut off electronics such as cell phone, Ipod, computer, and she self-monitors this, so I'm relieved of the job of nag. I also had her decide--with some guidance on my part--punishment for infractions).

When she was about the age of your boys, she did the same thing. Her father (my EX, and this is indicative of why he's my EX) took all of her clothes except what she was wearing (no discussion beforehand, just did it suddenly), and told her that if she put those away for 2 days, she could have another set of clothes. She cried considerably, of course, but did eventually "earn" back her clothing. I would definitely NOT advocate that method; it still seems very unfair.

You might want to warn your boys beforehand what you'll be doing, or just let them realize that their choices of clothing is dwindling. But if you want to keep their rooms neat but not nag and not have to decide what's what, remain calm as you scoop up armsful of clothing and chuck it in a bag. Later they can help you do laundry.

Best of luck.

Hi D....YOU ARE NOT ALONE in the battle of the dirty clothes!! LOL I have three girls and have to beg for dirty clothes every time I want to do laundry...and the hamper is in the hall next to the bathroom!! I think this is a battle for just about everyone. Hang in there...someday they will figure it out!

I don't think you are asking too much. My kids are 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 and I have them clean up their rooms daily. I didn't want to add another task to our mornings during the school year, so I make them clean their rooms after naptime, before they are allowed to come downstairs to play. I am going to start doing the same with the playroom, except they will need to clean it up immediately after dinner. Once summer comes, we'll probably switch to taking care of these things in the morning.

I'm with Liz G and the other moms who said that if the clothes aren't in the hamper, they are in "time out". I would keep a couple things they really don't want to be seen in for them to wear to school on the days they are out of clothes because they didn't do what they are supposed to. If your boys (like many boys) aren't motivated by the peer-pressure factor of fashion, you'll need to find some other way to motivate them. Maybe toys or video games go to time out instead.

Have you ever heard of Fly Lady and the HouseFairy? If not, go check out www.flylady.net and housefairy.org for info about getting your children to be better organized and neater people. This is ultimately a respect issue between you and your children, and they need to be following the rules you set, not the other way around.

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