I have just discovered what is quite possibly the most fun but longest way to clean a kid's room ever. I start out as it and put 1 thing away. Then I tag a kid who belongs to the room who puts something away. Then that kid can tag the other kid who belongs to the room to put something away and then that kid tags me and we start all over. After several minutes I realized that the room was so far gone that this game could last all day so I let them tag me twice. We're still not done, but we are a lot doner than an hour ago.
I don't know why I expect my kids to be neater than I was at their age, or even neater than I was until they came. I had an incredible mental block when it came to picking up until I had kids and then something clicked. I am far, far from being a neat freak, but I crave order in a way I never did before. Unfortunately with seven of us in the house it's harder than it ever was. I'm much better than I was before, but I'm still bad about putting things away when I'm done with them.
As far as motivating kids, I've discovered the house fairy. She's smart business woman who has discovered a great small business that provides a tremendous service. Her story is that she is Santa's Helper and she goes around inspecting children's rooms. If they're clean "she" leaves a present, if not, she leaves only fairy dust. You can buy into her system, which includes printable coupons and other goodies, or just borrow the concept. Some might object to the idea of introducing yet another character into children's lives and underlying concept. I'm all for method that helps my kids get in the habit of keeping their room clean without me screaming at them, which by the way doesn't work. I'm sad to say I've tried that.
For some reason, I feel better when their room is clean, more so than any other area of the house.
For inspiration and motivation, I've been watching "How Clean is Your House?" on BBC America. For those of you who haven't seen it, these two cheeky British ladies go to disgustingly dirty houses and help the people get them cleaned up. They are some seriously ill kept houses. Had someone pitched me the idea for the show, I think I would have tossed it out, but it's oddly compelling.