The Christmas season has passed and the influx of items pouring into my house has exploded in every room. With New Years here and that sense of renewal it stirred up my need to motivate teens to clean their room.
Now different things motivate teens to clean, the teens in my house are currently in need of funds for certain electronics. Knowing this I decided to offer a $1 per pound of trash or stuff that was removed from their rooms.
My teens took me up on the offer and grabbed some trash bags and began the purge. Now word spread throughout the house that mom was paying for trash so my younger boys grabbed a bag and began throwing stuff out too.
Mostly it was papers, old craft projects, and school reports that filled the bags. But paper is light so I was still only out a few dollars and everyone was willingly throwing out their stuff. But then my daughter opened her closet and starting tossing clothes. Do you know how much a pair of jeans weighs? Yeah, I hadn’t planned on 4 trash bags of clothes leaving. I was going to need the checkbook for this pay out.
Now if your teens don’t need money you could say every pound equals 5 minutes of video games or 5 minutes to stay up past bedtime. If you want to increase the motivation you could pay a bonus for the biggest pile of trash. If you need a little educational twist try guessing what weighs more, jeans or a bag of paper. Offer them 25 cents for the amount in ounces instead of pounds and ask them which is a better deal.
In keeping with the balance at the end of a hard day of work offer a double dessert night or family game time. My group voted for a game of Ticket to Ride.
I did have a friend point out that I could charge them a $1 per pound for items they wanted to keep but I am not sure that would motivate my teens to clean, it may lead to a mutiny.
To quote my son’s Facebook status, “the trash cans are full and the cleaning rampage is over.”