And What Do You Do?

One question to ask yourself is this: What kind of example are you setting for your children with your own clutter? Often, we clean up our living rooms and dining rooms, in case we have company, if not merely for our own satisfaction. But what about our own personal spaces that guests don't usually see—our bedrooms, bathrooms, and home offices? Are there papers and books piled everywhere and closets overflowing with clothes, shoes, and odds and ends? Are there old magazines next to the bed or piled on the nightstand, along with assorted odds and ends that we never use?

Kids follow our lead, and if we are disorganized and allow the clutter to build up, they will feel no compunction about doing the same—and will feel justified in pointing out to us the double standard when reprimanded for their own messes.

Take advantage of the opportunity, with your younger children especially, to make it a game: “Mom (or Dad) will clean the bedroom while you clean yours. Let's see who does the best job!” Or, “Let's see who finishes first.” Maybe you could pull out your old clothes, books, and objects and box them up for donation to a charity at the same time as your child is filling a box with his or her items for that purpose. Maybe you could ask your child to decorate a special container to hold your favorite items, too, or you each could decorate containers together. There is nothing like a family art project to bond parents and children, especially when the art objects will have a practical purpose and will serve as daily, visible reminders of the lovely time the two of you spent together.

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  4. And What Do You Do?
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