So a few weeks ago I decided to get the girl’s bedrooms ready for summer. Toward the end of the school year things really moved into high gear for me and I fell behind in cleaning their rooms.
My kids are 5 and 4 and so I tend to find myself picking up pretty much constantly. My 5 year old in particular is old enough to keep her things somewhat tidy but she tends to be a
hoarder treasure collector. (Translation: she has her little treasures tucked away in every spot.)
You would never guess by her little angel face but she is the messiest little thing. And sadly she is smart as a whip too. She hates picking up her room and making the bed in particular. So what is her answer to that? She refuses to get under the covers at night and can thus avoid making her bed. (Sigh…)
So in just a few days of Mommy not constantly picking up her room started to look like this:
A complete and total nightmare- not to mention stressful! Is that a swimsuit coverup hanging from her necklace stand on her dresser? Why yes indeed it is! Laundry piled up everywhere? Check! Doll clothes on the nightstand next to Barbies and Crayons? Check and double check.
So… I decided it was time to calm her room. Both for my sanity and also for her own state of mind (and health for heaven’s sake…) What does this have to do with a funner summer you might ask? In summer the kiddos tend to spend a lot more time in their rooms. A calm bedroom will hopefully encourage children to spend time in their rooms (and not under my feet) and hopefully they feel better being in their rooms, having friends over etc… Also- it removes a level of stress for me- if I am not constantly picking up a disaster zone I have more time to do things with them.
Now to take one quick step back, my girls love to go to Pottery Barn Kids stores. It finally dawned on me one day that they love those stores and those bedrooms on display because they are bright, cheerful and most importantly perfectly clean. They love to just sit and have tea parties or sit in the little chairs and play with dolls… nice play that they would never do at home.
Why is that? I think because the rooms are so lovely they don’t want to wreck them. They enjoy the peace of mind that comes from have a beautiful, clean, clutter free environment. I also notice that they care for things and they seem to play a bit more imaginatively. One of my biggest pet peeves is how carelessly they can treat their things at home. And how they CONSTANTLY want something new… before the item they begged for and whined about is even out of the box they are asking for new things.
My big girl has also been asking for a new bedroom the last few months. She has a bit of a bright pink box that was cute a few years ago but doesn’t suit her anymore. Plus I have learned a few things about decorating so there are some mistakes I made that I would like a chance to redo.
We had a little conversation and I explained that Mommy is going to help her to calm her room down and get it organized. Once I do that it is up to her to maintain for the entire summer. If she shows how responsible she can be, then we will redecorate for her 6th birthday in August.
So, my husband whisked the children away and I laid out a series of bins: Toss, Donate, Keep. I emptied the entire room into those bins- literally down to the furniture and stripped bed. (Laundry baskets are perfect for this task.)
Everything was taken out of the room and it was completely cleaned. She has a tiny closet in this room so I went through the entire dresser and closet and pulled out everything that doesn’t fit or is in bad shape (donate, toss). Next I pulled out all her winter stuff and used a large underbed storage tub to tuck it all away until fall.
That step alone cleared half the dresser and the closet which is busting at the seams. (Note: I am not a big fan of shoving stuff under the bed so this tub is sealed and the only thing tucked under there.)
Now the goal is tidiness here and not to make her live without any little treasures so I made a list of the things most important to her and made sure I found spots for them. Her important treasures: jewelry box, soccer trophy, notebooks, books, markers.
Once the closet was emptied of all the out of season stuff we just nailed 3 holes on one wall- one is for her bag with all her Girl Scouts stuff, the second her bag with all her soccer gear and the third is her bath robes.
The opposite side of the closet has the infamous Ikea spice racks (4 of them) which store books, notebooks and small jars of markers and crayons and paint pens.
The top of the closet is clothing that is currently too big and her dance clothing- oh and her Cowgirl hat ;). On the ground are shoes and one box with all her doll clothing.
Everything is organized, labeled and everything has a home. All the excess junk is gone.
The dresser has her piggy bank jars that I made, a photo, one little treasure, trophy and a bear that keeps watch over the room. That’s it.
The key is to eliminate as much clutter as possible. I took about 3 bins of junk really out of her room. The girls do have toys but they also have a full playroom so the toys are stationed there. To be honest the vast majority of what I pulled out of her room went to the garbage or donation bin. Interestingly, she has not missed a single thing that I took out.
The room is much more sparse now but I can tell you I spend far less time cleaning up in there. In fact, her room is usually the cleanest in the house.
It has been several weeks now and I can actually see a difference. She seems much happier in her space (she sits for long periods coloring or looking at books- whereas before she was always distracted and jumping from thing to thing.) I have also noticed a lot more responsibility in caring for things. She understands where stuff goes and has done a very admirable job of keeping it organized. She absolutely tries to sneak things back in the room but we just work together to find a home for the item. No more junk all over the floor.
This has made our summer start off on the right foot because she can spend some quiet time in her room each day and I am not a slave to cleaning up junk everywhere.
One other thing I have noticed since the great purge a few weeks ago is that the girls seem to play creatively A LOT more then ever before. They used to whine all the time for new toys or new apps on the iPad and now I find them doing a lot of dress up play. For the first time ever, they pulled the Superhero capes out of their dressers (which I bought ages ago) and they create stories around their Superhero identities. They love those ballet clothes too because they invent all sorts of little preformances for us to watch.
So if you have little people living in a tornado zone, you might consider calming their rooms too. Get every single thing you possibly can out of the room and then really, really evaluate if it needs to come back in. You might even keep it in boxes or bins totally out of sight for a few weeks. If your children don’t specifically ask for the item– well why not toss it or donate it.
I bet your children will be happier without all the stuff.
This post is part of the 30 Days to a Funner Summer Series.
You can catch up with the entire series by click below:
- Day 1: Get Organized! How to organize children’s activity bags.
- Day 2: End of Year Surprises for Children
- Day 3: Strawberry Lemon Slushie Recipe
- Day 4: Homemade Hamburger Seasoning to AMP up your burgers
- Day 5: How to make Giant Bubble Solution
- Day 6: How to Save Money on Road Trips
- Day 7: How to Create a Summer Schedule.
- Day 8: How to make a GIANT water bed (this is so fun!)
- Day 9: Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
- Day 10: 8 Ways to Get Outdoors this Summer