Room Tidying for Boys 101

1. First, find something really interesting in your room that you never noticed before. It could be a book that is way too young for you, a sock that you suddenly realise can be stretched to far greater capacity than you ever imagined, a drawer handle that can be unscrewed and wedged between your mattress and the bed frame, or your blinds or curtains, which you always knew were there but have found an unexpected new use for, like swinging from the pole, wrapping the fabric around yourself like a Jedi knight, or pulling out the metal rods from inside the blinds and whipping your bedcovers with them.

2. When you hear footsteps on the stairs, immediately hide whatever you were playing with and dive to the mess on the floor with a slightly bemused look on your face as if you can't quite believe that all with all the hard work you've been doing, your room still looks a mess.

3. After escaping with a stern warning, resolve to finish the job faster and perform the all-encompassing clothes decluttering method. With a wide scoop of your arms, pull together as many clothes as you can see (don't worry if some books, papers or toys get caught in the mass, mum operates a great filtering facility before they enter the washing machine). Do not waste precious time checking if the clothes are dirty, or indeed, worn at all, as in the case of them falling out of the drawers while you were dragging out an item from the bottom of the clean pile the other day when getting dressed. Carry the hulking mass to the laundry basket and deposit a third directly inside, with the remaining two-thirds liberally scattered around the base of the basket. Note: in order to provide some variety and try and outwit your parents, every fourth or fifth time, simply throw the large pile into a clothes drawer instead and stuff with force until the drawer will just about half close.

4. With the time you have saved, you now resume #1 until caught out. If your parent is otherwise occupied and just calls up the stairs 'Have you finished yet?' the stock answer should be 'Not yet!' with an air of hopeful expectancy as if the completion of the task is imminent.

5. Take all your books and put them on the bookshelf. Don't worry about standing them up correctly or with the spines outward so you can see what they are, as you’re just going to tip off the whole lot next time you want a book anyway. Once you've got them all precariously balanced, turn away quickly so you cannot see them fall off, and are therefore innocent of any responsibility for them.

6. Using a similar scoop method as for the clothes, arm yourself with a mixed gathering of toys / rubbish / juice bottles / socks that you didn't catch in the first scoop, and put them in the nearest toy receptacle, irrespective of the label that may be on it.

7. Any remaining articles should now make a small enough group to be pushed under a set of drawers or wardrobe, or, if previously caught put by that tactic, use your imagination to come up with newer more imaginative hiding places such as down the side of your bed, inside your wardrobe or even under your bed covers, as it will be hours before you have to think about them again.

8. Having crawled inside your duvet cover three nights ago, it is now a tangled mess and beyond restoration by yourself, so plead ignorance, say you tried, and leave it a twisted knot somewhere on your bed. Perhaps put the pillow where it ought to be to pretend you made an effort.

9. Proudly announce you are finished so that can reap your reward of playing on the Wii or going to Grannie's house. Accept any praise or thanks that come your way gladly, because you may only have a few hours, or even minutes, in which to enjoy it.

10. When your various arty crafts are discovered, do NOT admit guilt until you have employed the following tactics: a)If you share a room or even have another sibling in the house, blame it on them. As unlikely as it seems that your fifteen month old sister was pulling clean paired socks from your top drawer and throwing them in the laundry basket, it's worth a shot. b) Pretend you just missed a spot and insist that the pile under your drawers or duvet must have been there for ages; you just hadn't noticed. c) You can just skip to this one if you want, but you may want to practice in the mirror first. When confronted, looked completely shocked and in disbelief over what has happened. Use phrases such as 'They were DEFINITELY still on the shelf when I left the room' and 'But I'm SURE I checked them all before I put them in' and 'What?!? How did THAT happen?' while scanning the room with your eyes as if suspecting goblins or other mythical creatures to be at loose within the house.

Note: the author does not accept responsibility for any punishment or withdrawal of privileges that may come as a direct response from the above advice. In fact, the author can almost guarantee some kind of penalty will result from this course of action, but from the experience of the author’s children, can testify that the compulsion to act in such a manner when asked to perform a simple task like tidying ones room will in fact overcome any fear of consequence, thus propelling you the reader (if you are a small boy) into the above scenario regardless of what past experience or present warning or future expectations may be internally trying to rationalise with you. So, in a nutshell: don’t come crying to me if you don’t get your turn on the Wii.


  1. Brilliant, as usual, lovely lady. You reminded me of one of my phrases (so often repeated that I threatened to get a Dictaphone!!) "do you really think i have so little to do that I need clean clothes to wash" - variation"do I look like I love laundry so much that i want to wash all the clean clothes too" :D
    Ah, how tempus doth fugit. xxxx

  2. I love you. I love your small boys. I love your big boy. I love your small girl. nuff said? xx

  3. Hehehe LOVE this. Something tells me that Joel would be the master of the above techniques...!
    Thinking of you all Xx

  4. Jared loves these tips - I've just read them all out to him.


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