When the mice are away...

janetwilsonAugust 4, 2005

Âthe cat cleans out their bedrooms! Soooo, the kids were at camp last week and I took advantage of the situation by cleaning out my 13 year old daughterÂs bedroom. On the surface it looked very neat and tidy, but of course thatÂs always (at least in her case) misleading!

I emptied every drawer in the room, moved furniture away from the walls to remove things that had been shoved behind bookshelves, her vanity, in the cabinet under her window seat and on the top shelves of her closet. It was not a pretty site. At one point DH crept into the room, took one look around and scampered back down the stairs. COWARD! (Okay, admittedly organizing is not his thing  but it is mine!)

Twelve hours later I emerged with 4 extra large lawn size bags of garbage, two of the same size bags for donating and 5 shopping bags of things to pass on to my niece. I also relocated videos, craft supplies and books to the game room.

Revelations learned from this:

1. Even though she likes things neat and tidy, my daughter is a pack rat. I strongly believe this is an inherited gene. She cannot bring herself to throw things away - especially if it is something she received by someone close to her. As a parent, I need to teach her to discipline herself so that she can learn to let go of things.

2. We donÂt need to buy many school supplies this year. I uncovered dozens of binders, 7 pencil boxes full of usable pens, pencils, rulers, markers, etc. These were relocated to my school supply cabinet. The timing on this was awesome since I planned to buy school supplies this week.

3. My husband and I need to implement cleaning rules and follow up on them. From now on we are will have semi-monthly room checks for both children. WeÂll be checking drawers, closets, under the bed, etc. to make sure things arenÂt piling up. We have a cleaning service, so their rooms are clean  but the clutter is another issue!

Things I purchased to help her get organized (most purchased at local dollar store):

1. Large clear shoe racks to hang on the walls of her closet to get shoes off the floor.

2. Two large, sturdy (but pretty!) boxes on the shelves in her closet to keep personal momentos (things like pictures sheÂs drawn, photos, souvenirs and cards).

3. A step stool for her closet so that she can put things away on the top shelf.

4. A small hamper to keep inside her closet  so clothes donÂt accumulate on the bedroom floor until she gets around to walking them to the bathroom hamper.

5. Small plastic baskets for the drawers of her vanity to organize cosmetics and hair products.

When she got home from camp, she was absolutely thrilled with her bedroom! She thanked me over and over for helping her get her room in order and called all of her friends to tell them how organized her bedroom is.

Now on to my next project...

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When I started reading your post I was worried about what your daughter's reaction may have been. I'm so glad it was favorable.

My mother commented once that she was always afraid I'd be angry when she did that to my room. She was surprised to learn that I always liked it because she came up with so many good ways to organize things.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 5:10PM
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Oh, Janet--My kids were away last week at Grandma Camp, and part of my thought I should have done what YOU did.

Instead, I had a social life! Considering that I never have time for one elseways, I decided it was the best way to spend that time.

(In fact, I came here to start a thread titled "wasted opportunity," LOL! Though I invested in my sense of fun and my marriage)

I didn't even go in their ROOM except to feed and water the guinea pig.

I have a lot of the same revelations, though--have had for a while.

Your Revelation #1. I don't know HOW to teach my kid this. I can do it for myself, so I try to be more vocal about it.

Your Revelation #3: Ditto. Unfort., daddy's often the guy putting them to bed, since I often work late. And he does NOT do this, I cannot get him to. Right now there are enough other things to be on his case about; I can't deal w/ disciplining HIM too on this.

I *have* the small hamper in her dressing room--she throws it ALL on the floor anyway! This may have to be a hard-nosed kind of thing.

My DD is 11, and a young 11 at that; she's got one foot in each kind of playing w/ toys--younger toys, that take up lots of room; and older toys (music, books) that don't necessarily.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 10:00PM
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janet, as the mother of two grown boys, I can say that you HAVE to do the clean-out now and then, and when the kids are gone is best. Children go through so many phases as they grow, if you don't root out the old stuff, keeping current interests, clothes, etc. on hand, you'll just sink under the weight of it all!!! LOL

I do think it is better to involve the "child" in the process so they can learn to organize and get rid of things not being used. But sometimes you just have to take the bull by the horns and get it done right!

Good for you. Believe it or not, my 22-year-old son is home from college and we went through his room last week. Got rid of some posters, high school papers, books, etc.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 12:01PM
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What I really liked were the ideas you came up with that put things into her room. It wasn't until I was in my thirties that I realized buying things to help stay organized could really work. I think that's quite a lesson right there.

Good for you!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 9:58PM
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Excellent job -- I have to wait until the DH is out to really clean up and throw away things too!! LOL!!!

Wonderful ideas too -- and your daughter will always benefit from organizing ideas!!!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 12:21PM
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I just can't help it, I find myself sneaking peaks (almost daily) into her drawers and closets to make sure things are still neat and tidy! So far so good!

And... she really does seem so much happier now that she's organized.

I think it helped that she was gone many many miles away when I cleaned out the room. From past experience I can tell you that there probably would have been a lot of yelling! LOL!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 8:58PM
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Gee, how lucky you are. I have 3, 14 year old granddaughters and they would be irate if someone invaded their privacy. Vique.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2005 at 7:19PM
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When I was younger,I was very terribly orderly and kept my bedroom immaculate and completely organized. At least twice a year, I would go thru every drawer, the closet, and throw out old toys, old school projects, anything I felt I no longer needed. (I'm sorry now that I threw out my Barbie and Midge dolls, and my stamp collection.) Once when my younger sister was away at camp for a week, I completely cleaned and organized HER bedroom. She was very messy in those days. I thought the room turned out great when I had finished, and she was also very pleased. Flash forward 40 years (yikes). I am the packrat and she's the one with a house ready for House and Garden magazine.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 9:51PM
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