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Why You Should Not Clean Your Room, Says This Teenage Boy

It takes a big vocabulary and an even bigger sense of humor for Claudia Schmidt to ignore her son’s messy room. Read more from Claudia on her blog, My Left Breast.

Why You Should Not Clean Your Room, Say Some Teenagers

Ah, to be a 16 year old boy.  My son dislikes cleaning his room, and in fact seems to prefer to live amidst a state of constant chaos.

When I was young, I was really messy and my mother, who lived by the rule that “Cleanliness is next to godliness” used to do crazy, periodic room cleanings where she’d upend everything in my room and throw it all in a big pile on the floor and then leave me to restore order.  She’d literally take all my dresser drawers out and dump them in a big pile in the middle of my room (yes — reminiscent of Joan Crawford in “Mommy Dearest”).

It used to completely freak me out and was extremely overwhelming and has undoubtedly contributed in some part to the many years of therapy that I’ve gone through so far in my life.

When I had kids of my own I resolved not to foist such lunacy on them, and have been (I believe) extremely generous and non-judgmental about how they keep their rooms (especially as teenagers).  I’ve decided that I’m more interested in them getting good grades and being kind, generous and caring people than clean freaks.

But every other Monday my cleaning lady comes and so I have a firm rule that whatever is on the floor of their rooms must be removed and put in either the laundry room, the recycling bin (note the many water bottles) or in the garbage bin on every other Sunday night before Maricel comes to restore order to our home.  This way she can actually get in there to vacuum the floor.

Recently I went into my son’s room and found this note taped to his book shelf.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 7.55.59 PM


After I snort laughed out loud for a while, I gotta’ say I was kind of impressed that he took the time and effort to find this little scientific discourse, print it out and tape it up there without telling me, assuming that the next time I went in his room to straighten it out, I’d see it (which of course is exactly what happened).

And, I was more than a little impressed by the fact that he knows what the word “entropy” means.  I mean, I was an English major and all, so the fact that he knows what entropy means makes me a lot happier than a clean room ever would.

So I guess I’ll just leave his disordered room to it’s entropic state.

What about you guys, are your kids as messy as my son?  Do you just give in to it, or do you have firm rules about how they keep their rooms?

Claudia Schmidt

Slightly obsessive-compulsive, self-employed mom with 2 very cool but snarky teenage kids who just happens to have been diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in February of 2010. Looking at life through a new lens now.

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Sonya Ray

Tuesday 3rd of November 2015

Love his note! It is amazing. I have a daughter who loves cleaning. Actually she cleans more than me. I don`t know where she inherited this. Greetings!

Claudia Schmidt

Tuesday 3rd of November 2015

Hi Sonya, Neither of my kids seems to like cleaning....yet :) Hoping some of that kicks in after a few years on their own........Thanks for reading and the note. Best, Claudia

Lisha Fink

Wednesday 21st of January 2015

I gave up that battle long ago. Here's my take:

Claudia Schmidt

Wednesday 21st of January 2015

Hi Lisha - Just popped over to your blog and read your post -- seems our sons have a lot in common! Lately I can barely open the door to his room, there are so many clothes, water bottles, books, papers, etc on the floor but I guess if I just look at it from his eyes, it's exactly what he wants and everything is exactly where he wants it so I should just let it be. Frankly that makes it easier for long as he gets all the food out of there at least once a week - I'm scared we'll get bugs up in there!

Vilma Sceusa

Wednesday 21st of January 2015

Love the note! I also have a 16-year-old boy with a messy room and it annoys the heck out of me. I offer no easy solution but just wanted to let you know that I want a note now!

Claudia Schmidt

Wednesday 21st of January 2015

It's very reassuring to hear that so many other moms have messy sons, too! I've been convinced I've just done something wrong in how I raised him! Hope your son comes up with something as creative as my sons note :)


Wednesday 21st of January 2015

I have to admit that I wish I'd been a bit less lenient in the "pick up after yourself" department. On the other hand, as you say, I'd rather have smart, compassionate kids than a clean house. Good for your son!

Claudia Schmidt

Wednesday 21st of January 2015

I kind of feel the same way about preferring to have kind and good kids, rather than forcing the whole cleaning thing on them, but I will say it's gotten a bit out of control this year. I can barely find his bed in there lately :)

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