Last week I hosted a little gathering of gal pals at my house, and consequently cleaned the common areas of the house and decluttered as best I could. Then I SWORE to myself that come hell or high water, I would do everything in my power to hold the rest of the family accountable for their messes in these areas. It's been a week, and so far, it's going pretty well. It takes a lot of hovering and reminding on my part, but the kids are coming back to their messes and taking care of them. My hope is that eventually it will be habit and I won't have to say anything -- they'll automatically take the dish to the sink or dishwasher, toss the trash, pick up the clothes/shoes, etc. Up until today, I did not worry about the state of their respective bedrooms. I just shut the door on the mess and focused only on the rest of the house. But since we had nowhere to go today, I decided they each would spend some time on the mess in their rooms. I made the announcement that they would work for 20 minutes (I set the oven timer) and then stop. They were to simply work on picking up clothes, tossing trash, and putting stuff away if it had a designated home. ANything they didn't know what to do with they could make a pile for. Anything they didn't want could go in a pile in the hallway. easy child made the biggest dent in her room. But then, she's a easy child. difficult child 2 got overwhelmed and started obsessing over a toy he's realized has been missing for a few months. I decided to go in and help him get redirected. I told him he could just pick all the junk off the floor and put it on his bottom bunk, and we'd sort later. Trash went in a large bag. That way he could at least WALK in the room and not trip over stuff or hurt his feet. He still obsessed about the toy, so then I reminded him that we might actually FIND it if we got all the junk picked up. That calmed him down a little. We didn't get it ALL picked up in the 20 minutes, but we made progress. He seemed surprised when I told him to stop, that the time was up! difficult child 1 stopped for a bathroom break about 5 minutes into his allotted time, so I essentially started his 20 minutes over. He's in there now picking up, albeit after some grumbling. I reminded him that I didn't expect the whole room to be cleaned -- it was just a timed work session and when time's up, he's done for now. Then I promised we'd go to the drugstore for an ice cream or some frozen yogurt as a treat. We'll try this again tomorrow and see if we can make some more progress. It would be great if we got all three rooms finished by next week when difficult child 1 leaves for camp!