Clean-Up Jar

This is our family clean up jar. When the kids pick up something around the house that is “above and beyond” what they are required to clean up, they get a jelly belly. Things like their shoes, backpack and jacket don’t count. They need to be doing that anyways, but something extra to help out Mom or baby sister, etc. will earn them a bean.
The system was working out perfectly. Our house was super clutter free and the kids were getting tiny treats in return. Not only were they picking up their every day items, but they’d seek out others like maybe a diaper on the floor, or Ruby’s baby toys, the newspaper, etc. Win-win.  That is until they got smart on me.
Our kids get a long great, but the other morning they were getting along even better. Patting each other on the back, laughing and playing. They were practically giddy. What were they doing to be so happy? Well, instead of picking up their toys and shoes that they are expected to do anyway, they were having their siblings do it FOR THEM and earning candy that way. Everyone was picking up the normal every day items, but since they were doing it for EACH OTHER they considered that worth of a jelly belly. Kaylee put Dallin’s shoes away and treated herself to a bean, Dallin picked up Kaylee’s jacket, and Aaron picked up Dallin’s books, etc….
It was hilarious. So I had to adjust it a bit. ONLY after their regular every day items are picked up (by themselves) can they start to work on extra bonus chores to earn candy. It is working out great and our house hasn’t been this clutter-free (without me doing it) before. I actually walked into the living room the other night and did a double take. It was clean and I didn’t clean it. How on earth?!?!?
It was great.


  1. Oh Brandy…you have some smart kids! You’re going to have to keep your eyes wide open when they get bigger!!! Love the story!! And the jelly bean jar is a great idea…with the new rules of course ;D

  2. Ahhhh little smarties! But what a treat to walk into a clean room without YOU having to do it!

  3. LOVE the idea! But hilarious how witty kids can be, huh?

  4. This is such a great idea!! It’s hilarious how your children came up with their own system.

  5. I would be so proud of my nieces if they came up with an idea as clever as that! It sounds like you’ve got some smarties!

  6. Ha,cute! Love your jar too!

  7. I might have to try this, my house is a mess, but my oldest is 3, so not quite sure she is ready yet? I could try and see what happens. She is definitely candy motivated.

  8. I am so doing this!!! I may have to buy two bags with 5 kids, but hey, its SO worth it!
    Love your blog!!!!

  9. Does it really work? I’m willing to try anything! That’s really cute that they were helping each other and feeling so sneaky about it! Lol!

  10. Do you have a limit on how many jelly bellys they can earn on any given day? And do they get them ONLY for picking up clutter? I certainly don’t want to limit cleaning (that would be insane!), but it would be just like my kids to go on a cleaning frenzy just to get more candy, or expect a reward for any little task, like setting the table! Just wondering what worked for you. Thanks for the great idea!

  11. Hi Megan!

    I haven’t set a limit on how many they can earn, but would if the need arised. After they do all of their chores (that they don’t get jelly beans for) which includes picking up shoes, homework, making their beds, picking up their dirty clothes, etc. they usually only want to do a few more things to earn candy. I think the most they’ve earned in a day is 6 beans or so.


  12. That is hilarious! I love how they worked the system. Smart Kids! Sometimes I feel like I spend tons of time trying to outsmart my boys!

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  14. Hmmmmm….That sounds like a really good idea. My son has a fit over any type of cleaning required.
    He’ll do anything for candy! lol!

    I reward myself with a cup of coffee after I clean and if I REALLY didn’t want to clean and did it anyways I put a squirt of whip cream in it hehe.

  15. my house is always a mess, so this might work wonders for me. Thanks x

  16. That is so funny…sounds just like something my 3 would do. LOL I love how kids come up with these things all on their own. They’re a lot smarter than we adults give them credit for sometimes!! :)


  1. […] Clean Up Jar This jar is a miracle worker and deserved a mention in this year’s top 12 for sure. Get a treat with you pick up an item that belongs to SOMEONE else! Service and responsibility wrapped into one sweet treat. […]

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