12 Books to Teach Kids the Magic of Tidying Up

Kids books about cleaning, chores, and organizing that will teach your kids the magic of tidying up! Marie Kondo would love these book recommendations from a school librarian.

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I firmly believe that a book inspired my love of cleaning and organizing. Not the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, although that one has become a go-to when I need inspiration.

Sorry Marie Kondo, but before you were even born my favorite book was The Big Tidy Up by Norah Smaridge. I still have the well worn copy that my mom read to me, and it's been a great tool for me to teach my kids about the value of having a clean house.

Unfortunately getting your hands on a copy of The Big Tidy Up isn't easy these days. You can find it for Kindle, but in my opinion, print books are better for kids. I needed some new books to recommend for moms who need help teaching their kids about cleanliness, chores and organization.

When I’m in need of great book recommendations for kids, I turn to my friend Lauren Bercuson, the blogger behind Happily Ever Elephants. Lauren is a mom of two boys and an elementary school librarian, and she reviews everything from board books for toddlers, to chapter books for new readers, to novels for tweens. She also has book lists on every topic under the sun, including the importance of adopting a growth mindset and stories to instill self confidence in children. I knew Lauren would be able to help, and I am so excited with her list of great books on this subject!

Without further ado, here’s Lauren with her thoughts and some terrific stories.

12 Books to Teach Kids the Magic of Tidying Up

“Clean up!”

The two words every parent says on repeat are the same two words that make children, no matter if it’s your toddler, first grader or tween, run for the hills. You may as well be asking them to traipse one hundred miles in the rain, across rough terrain, with an elephant strapped to their back. There’s just something about tidying up that makes kids beeline out the door and into the closet where they think they can hide for the rest of the night and escape that dreaded phrase.

Not so fast!

Whether its clearing the dinner table, taking out the garbage, or cleaning their rooms, chores teach children responsibility and self reliance. Giving a child household responsibilities helps kids feel competent and capable, and even the simplest chores will help prepare them for the world outside of their own homes.

So don’t delay! Here you’ll find some books on cleaning up, helping around the house, and working hard to earn great rewards. I promise that if you grab some of these books, you’ll help your kiddos recognize that tidying up can be gratifying and -- dare I say it? -- chores can even be fun when approached with the right attitude.

Happy reading!

Too Many Toys, by David Shannon: Spencer’s toys are taking over the entire house, and with his parents stepping on legos and tripping over trains, they’re becoming safety hazards, too! Mom and Dad say it’s time for Spencer to clean up and get rid of some of his trinkets and games, but Spencer loves each and every one. What will it take for him to realize that the best toys may just be the simplest of all?

How do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms, by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague: How do dinosaurs clean their rooms? Do they shove stuffies under their beds and in their closets, or do they put toys in neat little rows and throw waste in the basket before mama can ask it? This is a perfect book for your youngest readers to show that everyone -- even dinosaurs -- must clean up their rooms!

Just a Mess, by Mercer Meyer: “You made the mess, so you can clean up the mess.’” Ahhhh - my favorite Mom words ever! Little Critter can’t find his baseball mitt, and when he goes to look in his room, the mess he’s made in there is even worse than he imagined! Mom says it is time to clean up, but no one will help him. After all, he was the one responsible for making that mess, and he did it all on his own. Will Little Critter clean up his room by himself and be able to find his mitt?

The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room, by Stan and Jan Berenstain: Outside, the Bears’ treehouse, all looked neat and clean. All was pretty clean inside, too. Except for Brother and Sister Bear’s room. Their room was a dust catching, helter-skelter disaster! Brother and Sister were always arguing about chores and who was responsible for picking up their room, and their parents had enough. Mama starts to clean up, and she wants to get rid of everything! But Papa comes to the rescue. Maybe all the siblings need is some good-old fashioned organization -- and a few rules -- to help get them tidied up!

Pigsty, by Mark Teague: Wendell Flutz’s room is a mess. In fact, it’s more than a mess… it’s a pigsty! So much so, that one day a pig appears on his bed, and then another, and another. Wendell’s mom tries hard to get him to clean his room, but when he decides not to, Mom throws her hands up in frustration. Wendell loves living in his pigsty -- until he doesn’t. What will he have to do to get rid of those messy pigs?

Edie is Ever So Helpful, by Sophy Henn: Sometimes kids are so eager to help around the house, they end up causing more chaos than cleanliness! In this twist on cleaning, sweet Edie is helpful to everyone around her. In fact, helping out is one of the things she does best! Edie is all about using her voice, helping in the kitchen, making sure all the kids are having fun on the playground, and gathering everything her Daddy needs at the grocery store. Every once in a while, though, she may need a bit of a reminder that sometimes, she doesn't need to be quite so good at helping others.

Laundry Day, by Jessixa Bagley: Tic and Tac are two bored little badgers. Though Mom suggests some activities to liven up their day, both badgers vehemently oppose each of her suggestions -- until, that is, mom says they can help her hang the laundry. Tic and Tac haven’t done laundry before, and the two are shocked when they discover that hanging laundry and helping out is actually fun! But when Mom runs to the market and leaves Tic and Tac in charge, the two may end up getting a little too carried away!

Red Wagon, by Renata Liwska: Lucy wants nothing more than to play with her new, shiny red wagon, but Mom has other ideas! Mom tells Lucy to go down to the market to buy food for dinner, and Lucy is not happy about having to do a chore. Unfortunately for Lucy, she has no say in the matter and begrudgingly obeys her mom. But as she wanders to and from the market, something magical happens, and her imagination runs wild. Maybe, with the help of her new wagon, Lucy will learn that chores aren’t so bad after all!

Things to Do With Dad, by Sam Zuppardi: A boy is excited to spend the day with his dad… until that dreaded to-do list appears with a whole host of chores that need doing in their house. The boy begins to watch as dad tackles the chores, and he soon realizes that if he jumps in to help, the two can go on some awesome adventures as they cross items off their list, using nothing but cleaning supplies and their hefty imaginations.

Hammer and Nails, by Josh Bledsoe and illustrated by Jessica Warrick: Darcy cannot wait for her playdate! She and her friend are so excited to fix their hair and paint their nails and spend the day together. Dad, on the other hand, cannot wait to read the paper, mow the lawn, and do other chores around the house. But when Darcy’s friend suddenly cancels, poor Darcy is devastated until Dad suggests they tackle their to-do lists together. Will Dad play dress up? Will Darcy help mow the lawn? The two step far outside their comfort zones, and the day couldn’t go any better.

The Girl and the Bicycle, by Mark Pett: In this stunning wordless picture book, one little girl sees a shiny green bicycle in a store window, and she knows she has to have it. She runs home to see if she has enough money in her piggy bank, but, alas, she does not. Despite this setback, the girl refuses to give up. Instead, she gets to work at the home of one of her elderly neighbors, helping with chores and developing a sweet new relationship at the same time. Will the girl earn enough money to buy herself that bike? Will the bike even be there if she does earn enough money? This is a favorite in our home, and the wordless nature allows your kids to tell their own versions of this wonderful story!  

Earn It, by Cinders McLeod: We absolutely love this simple introduction to earning money after performing some hard work. Bun wants to be a singer, a rich and famous one! But Mom tells Bun she won’t get rich and famous overnight. She has to work hard, learn as much as she can, and practice, practice, practice. But that takes training, and training takes money! Carrots are money in Bunnyland, and Bun doesn’t have any! Bun begins helping her mom with chores around the house to earn some extra carrots, and the more she pitches in, the more she loves the feeling of earning her way to success.

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Kids books about cleaning, chores, and organizing that will teach your kids the magic of tidying up! Marie Kondo would love these kids books which help children learn the value of a clean house & how to help around the house. Genius kids book recommendations from a librarian! #kidsbooks #tidyup #mariekondo #cleanhouse

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