I am sure that this is nothing revolutionary, but it has been working awesomely for me, so I thought I'd share.
My kids have figured out that cleaning up isn't really all that fun. And while I whole-heartedly agree with them, we still need to pretend that we're not living in squalor on occasion.
When I was growing up, we would have races to see who could clean up their assigned room faster. Which worked... sometimes. My mom tried all kinds of tactics and threats. But what seemed to consistently work was simply putting on some music. And setting a timer.
And so, "The 15 Minute Dance/Clean" was born. Right before dinner, we set a timer, one kid gets to pick the music, and we go! go! GO! Racing around to see how much we can accomplish in 15 minutes. There is, in general, very little complaining. I act like a total dork and dance around (which I love!) My kids get into it, I get into it, and before we know it 15 minutes has flown by and the entire downstairs is clean! Ta da!
Some of our favorites to Dance/Clean to:
They Might Be Giants
Mamma Mia Soundtrack
Anything that gets us moving!
Good luck and let me know if it works for you!