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At a loss... 10 yr old

13 years ago

I tackle each obstacle one at a time.. My 3 yr olds room is perfectly organized and not over cluttered. He came at a time when finances were lower and so he doesn't have a ton of knickknacks and keep sakes.. He is also a boy and has only 3 yrs under his belt so he hasn't had a lot of time to 'collect'. My daughter on the other hand, is no doubt on her way to the next hoarder show. I've read a lot of posts and still can't seem to get the info I am looking for.

I know I need to send her away for a weekend and just attack her room while she is not here but I have no doubt that she will notice when I throw all of her beloved belongings away. I don't know how to get her to understand that the way she is 'living' is not healthy (mentally) and she is overwhelming me each time I have to go in her room. It's not 'nasty'. No dirty clothes, no food or anything like that and her bed is always cleaned off but you can't see any of the walls in her room. She has a pretty big room and it's covered wall to wall with her art work -- which she refuses to get rid of.. She still has her notebooks and school work from last year. She has books galore -- that's not so bad but it's a library. Her closet is packed. Not with clothes, I actually have a handle on the clothes, I pass them on pretty quickly and buy for the season rather than waiting for the season to come and storing clothes. But you can't see the floor of her closet because she has every stuffed animal ever made -- and I did buy a huge tote to keep her stuffed animals -- and I weed out but she just keeps getting more and more for bdays, Christmas, vday.. Not from

Me but from family/friends. Webkins, beanies, build a bear(I curse that place). She has three large baskets under her bed full of barbies, baby doll clothes and then Misc. Crap. She also loves to 'make' things and she thinks she has to keep everything she makes. She collects boxes... Yes cardboard boxes I throw them out after a while. It drives me nuts. She has an armoire that is full of 'girl' things. 4 jewlry boxes -- gifts. Full of bracelets and rings and then lip gloss. I think she has like every flavor and she refuses to get rid of any of them. Then she has her doll collection which she plays with but there is a baby changing table(for a doll) playpen, doll stroller. And she plays with this stuff all the time...

I am exhausted describing her room. I feel guilty about even wanting to get rid of her stuff. She also has a desk for her computer yet you can't see the computer... It's covered in just junk.. So...

Help? Please? Where do I even start. I think in 10 yrs nothing has been thrown away! and yes I know I am to blame. The rest of our house is organized... My room is always clean. My closet is well organized except for my shoes but for the most part, we are organized people, my daughter.. Not so much. I've let it go to keep from fighting with her over it... But I'm about done

Comments (22)

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    If it were me, I would do the following:

    1) I would have her participate in the declutter process and I would not throw her stuff out behind her back.
    2) I would set limits and establish "new rules" for her room that she must follow (remember you are the parent, and although it's her room, it's your house).
    3) Any items that are broken, unsafe (like really old lip gloss), or no longer used and in poor condition should be thrown away. It's not a choice.
    4) Good condition items that she has outgrown should be donated (or maybe passed on to younger cousins or neighbors or whoever). But the focus should be on helping others who aren't as fortunate (or simply doing something nice for someone else). It should be a feel good experience with the goal of teaching kindness and generosity.
    5) For her "keep" items, I would establish a "place" or zone for each category and she must stay within that limit. So for example, I would put a bookcase in her room to house her books, a sling to hold her stuffed animals, a small basket for her "make-up", a jewelry box (1), a display shelf for keepsakes, etc... And then the rule is that she has to manage within those limits.
    6) I would speak to family and close friends about curbing material gifts. Instead suggest activity or experience based "gifts" like movie tickets. Our family has a "no useless stuff" rule, so something like bubble bath or clothing is allowed. But mostly we try to focus on spending time together ,,, like going to the zoo or a ball game.
    7) Don't fight with her ,,, make organizing her room non-negotiable.

    I would start planning ahead. Soon she'll be a teen and I would expect her to shift away from dolls shortly. I would consider a make-over for her room at some point. Maybe you start talking to her about that now, so she knows that she'll be transitioning from a little girl room to a teen room. Her doll stuff will be replaced with a desk, for example. Give her a few color choices and let her pick the color of her room and when it gets painted all the wall stuff comes down. Then get her a fabric board or bulletin board, and her stuff is limited to that space.

    If money is tight, consider a family garage sale and have her help out. The money raised can be put towards her new room. Give her incentives so she'll want to clean up her room ,,, make it a positive experience.

    Good luck.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    i used to "clean" my kids rooms while they were in school and I had a day or part of a day off work. I'd go through and straighten closets, dresser drawers and the like. Plus a quick clean of the room. Hang up what I could-coats, jackets,etc, and change the sheets on their beds (I have two girls, close in age. For a while they shared one room, then the older wanted her OWN room, so she took over a spare bedroom we had used for storage of our adult stuff. ) Back to the topic, no one noticed when I cleaned their rooms, no one objected to me throwing things out. As they got a little older, I involved them more. Taught them to straighten their own rooms. And a couple times a year, we'd pick out things to "Donate to the Poor Kids." They liked that, and willingly gave up clothes books and toys they were no longer interested in.Just a few ideas.

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  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    When my daughter was probably about that age, she had a messy room, too. It doesn't sound like it was to the same extent - I don't remember her saving boxes, but she never wanted to get rid of anything. Once when we were away from home (in another state) and our car died, we had to leave it. She said she loved that car and had to take a piece with her. Yikes! She said she liked to be able to "see" all her stuff, that's why it was all over her floor. I would have to go in with her and pick things up item by item and ask do you want to keep this, where should we put was a grueling process and most of the time I just gave up.

    Finally, at one point, her older sister wanted to paint her room, so we did. Then she (younger daughter) decided she wanted her room painted too. So we emptied it all out and painted, and surprise, when we put her furniture back in, she said she didn't want to put her stuff back in. She liked the space. Problem solved itself, and she's been incredibly organized ever since (she's in college now).

    I agree with jlt37869, I would make her part of the solution and wouldn't go behind her back, but maybe choices - do you want to keep this or that? You can save x# of boxes or stuffed animals, she can decide which ones to keep. I also agree - talk to the relatives. Maybe take a picture of her room to show them why. My mother used to give my kids all sorts of things. We just didn't have room for it and I'd ask for them to stop, and they wouldn't. But then they'd come and tell me it was terrible that their rooms were such a mess. It was really hard to make it click that cause & effect. I don't think my mother really understood until they moved into a small apartment before building a new house. They had NO room for storage. It finally clicked for her then.

    Good luck! Just remember that it may change as she gets older

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Gifts from one Grandma were a big part of my two girls' "clutter". So I finally asked her, please, no more toys or art supplies or clothes. Books only. We all liked that. (The girls maybe were a little underwhelmed at birthdays and Christmas.) I remember one year at Easter Grandma handed each girl a $5 bill in lieu of an Easter basket. That was okay with me. As the girls grew up, they became more independent. Imagine my joy when they started doing their own laundry, with no instructions from me!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thank you all so much. To elaborate on the box collection, she likes to make things out of them. She is very 'crafty'. I hide shipping boxes when they come in so she won't try to take off with it. Now at her dads she doesn't have very much. A very organized room and she loves it so I can't understand why she doesn't want that here.

    We are going to start this weekend and work on her room. The garage sale sounds good because she will want to make money. And we will donate what doesn't sell.

    The grandparents are the problem. There are sooo many in our family. Two sets on my side, one from dh, and two sets for her dad and they all SPOIL her! But a talk with them is in order.

    Thanks again

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "the grandparents are the problem" ,,, LOL

    I really love that your DD is crafty ,,, me too!! Here's a photo of my closet that I posted to another thread (where we were discussing attic pulls, of all things). Anyway, I cover cardboard boxes with contact paper, wrapping paper, paint, fabric, etc. to make storage bins. I'm way too cheap to buy the fancy ones in the stores (and besides I can never find them in the right size &/or in the right colors/patterns).

    Your DD can make storage bins for her room to help store all her stuff!! There are lots of "how-to's on the web for craft projects using cardboard boxes. Another idea (see link below), with Easter coming, have her make cute little baskets to give to her "problem" grandparents. That's a win-win, fun for her to craft and gift, and you get some of those boxes out of her room! :)

    Here is a link that might be useful: Cardboard Easter Basket

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    There is some great advice here. A couple things I would add - 1)if she seems hesitant about parting with an item (but you are pretty sure she'd never miss it) - and you have room in the garage or elsewhere - pack them up in a Rainy Day box(es). This is a special box that you will get out for her when the weather won't let her play outside (or whatever works for your situation). Then, when that day comes, let her play with them, teaching her that some toys just don't hold our interest long enough to be worth a spot in our rooms. Some toys she may want back in her room, some back in the box, some to donate. (We call that "the orphans" box - at all ages they seem to get the idea of orphans needing their old toys.) I actually did this with the toys they had outgrown or never really played with in the first place while they were at school - I didn't throw anything out (except trash) and explained that the toys were still there, just waiting for a rainy day. And in the wide open space now created in the middle of their rooms I put a toy that had been so buried they had forgotten about it. They were thrilled to see the "lost treasure" and to have space to play in their rooms. 2) The artwork and other handmade treasures. Let her take digital photos of them. If she likes playing on the computer, maybe she can do something creative with them digitally. (This technique works for getting rid of a lot of sentimental things. Heck, it even worked to get my mom to get rid of a bunch of old dishes!)

    But most of all, I agree with jlt's comment - this age is a transitory age - a foot still in little girlhood, a foot starting to grow up. And for a while she is going to have the trappings from both past and future ages. Don't sweat it too much, it'll pass all too quickly. (Except the stuffed animals, they never seem to outgrow the stuffed animals!)

    By the way, after this initial pass, good times to do another sweep of collecting for donates is right before birthdays and Christmas - "got to make room for all the presents you'll get!" (Greed is a powerful motivator.)

    Good luck!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I really like jlt's suggestions. What I like is, it moves the dynamic away from you, currently thinking about how to store and organize an ever-increasing amount of her stuff, to helping her have a reasonable amount of storage and deciding herself what goes there. That is another great idea about the orphan box, and even making a joke about what is "room-worthy". Because even though she's just 10, that is exactly what she will be doing with her time, her money, and her stuff for the rest of her life--what is worthy of a place in my life right now?

    Of course, it does put you as the "limit-setter" by saying she can't exceed those storage areas. I think that's okay, since we parents pay the mortgage and have to pay the price for any deterioration of the rooms in the home. Hopefully you work toward a reasonable improvement and something you both can live with rather than a total takeover.

    There's something to be said either way regarding the approach to kid's rooms, usually teenagers: close the door on the kid's room vs. make them clean it up weekly and have inspections, or something in between. I think it should indeed be individual among families. It's nice to give kids some increasing privacy so we are not barging in, not throwing out their stuff when they are not looking, but that doesn't mean they should not have to account for their room's neatness and cleanliness at intervals.

    You know, we want them to WANT to move out, to get their own places, where there are no parents to boss them!

    I keep recommending John Rosemond's books about parenting because he has been a big proponent of how our kids get too much stuff and then we wonder why they can't keep up with it. You can tell from this forum alone that there is a psychology of, once you have something, it's harder to give it away. So your daughter likely is experiencing that as well.

    I love the idea of sharing stuff with those less fortunate. It is kind of too bad that there is so much emphasis on programs at Christmas using only new toys--of course, it's no fun to receive a grimy Teddy bear, but ideally we would find more ways to recycle good, clean or cleanable toys. If your church has a rummage sale, sometimes that is easier to feel you are doing something than giving to Goodwill, because they announce the "take" and what the money will go for.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    There's a couple of things to consider. First, although you find your daughter's room "overwhelming," does she? I'm wondering if part of the problem is that you and your daughter have very different personalities and very different views on what's important enough to keep and what isn't, and what looks messy and what doesn't.

    Which is not to say that as her mother, you shouldn't set limits and guidelines on what is acceptable in your daughter's room, because I think you should. But you might need to let your daughter have a bit more "messiness" than you are comfortable with--in order that she be comfortable in her own room. Certain guidelines are appropriate--no food left in the room, floor clear of toys, clothes and art supplies, laundry dealt with per family rules, etc.

    Second, I would strongly urge you not to clean out her room while she is away. For one thing, you already know she won't be happy if you do so. For another, you will miss a huge opportunity to *teach* your daughter how to handle her belongings. Yes, it will take much, much, longer to deal with her room if she has input. But I think that this is an important life skill that she needs to learn, if she has any sort of hoarding tendency.

    What is it about the room that bothers you so much? It sounds as if it is fairly clean and the toys and stuffed animals are contained. Is it the visual assault from all the artwork on the walls? Just the knowledge that the closet is packed and under the bed is stuffed? From the description you give, I know a few moms who would love to have kids where the bed is always clear.

    Obviously, she can't keep everything that she has ever owned. One tactic might be to set limits on her storage. One good-sized bin of stuffed animals. One bookcase. One good-sized memory box for random things. One box to hold her best artwork. A specific storage space for art supplies, including boxes. Then sit down with her and work with her to figure out which things are worth keeping and which won't fit and therefore should be discarded. But let your daughter do as much of the valuing as possible. You might see no value in a card from a friend who moved away three years ago and hasn't been heard from since, but that might be what makes the card so valuable to your daughter. And then, as she gets new stuffed animals or art supplies or creates new artwork, work with her on what must leave the collection so that the new one can stay. If she's still playing with certain toys, I wouldn't try to make her give them up. But if there's something that's been stuck on a closet shelf for two years--that would be fair game.

    Another tactic might be to decide to reduce each collection, stuffed animals, toys, books, artwork, by 25%. Gather one collection, say stuffed animals. Make sure that you have all of them. Lay them out on her bed or someplace large enough to hold them all. Count them. Let's say she has 50 stuffed animals. Twenty-five percent of 50 is 12.5, so let's say she needs to discard 12 stuffed animals. Let her sort them by "absolute keep" to "absolute discard" and see if she can find 12 to give away to kids who don't have any. If 25% is too hard, maybe consider starting at 10%. Be sure to take pictures of the ones she is discarding, so that she can keep the memory, but lose the actual, space-taking object.

    Then go through the other collections. Maybe do one a weekend. I suspect that trying to do them all in a single day will lead to overload for your daughter and she will end up unable to make a decision and wanting to keep everything. If you start low, with 10% or 15%, remember that you can revisit each collection two or three times a year, and reduce it another 5 or 10%. It's about gradually teaching your daughter, not a single weekend clean-up that gives you the room you want but leaves your daughter in tears.

    Yet another thought, about the artwork. Your daughter needs to learn how to evaluate her artwork and what's worth keeping and what's not. I'd start by promising her that anything that gets tossed, you will take a picture of first, so she can have the memory. Then maybe sort the artwork by the year that she did it, or the grade she was in school or how old she was. Then try to pick the best 5 or 10 (whatever number works) from each year to keep.

    If your daughter is a reader, have her read the Emily of New Moon series by L.M. Montgomery (who wrote the Anne of Green Gables books). Emily is a writer, and there are several scenes as Emily grows up where she goes over all the poems and stories she's written and evaluates them. Some she keeps, some she tosses, because she has grown enough to realize that they aren't as good as she once thought. It might help if this idea comes from someone other than Mom.

    It might also help if there is some reward for cleaning up her room, other than just making Mom happy. If your daughter is very into art, I'd consider finding a nice display system for her art, that would make it easy for her to change out what's on her walls. This would work in two ways--first, she gets something nice for her artwork. Second, it shows that her mother understands that art is important to her daughter and that her mother values the artwork as well.

    One of my SILs saves all her kids' art projects from school each year. At the end of the school year, she goes over them all and picks one painting from each kid to have framed. Then they get hung in the kids' bedrooms or in the family room. Most of the rest are discarded, but each kid gets to save 5 additional pieces of their own choosing for their memory box. With three kids, it helps to cut down on the shear mass of artwork that they produce.

    Sorry, I've written a novel here. But when I was a kid and Dad was in the military, we moved a lot. My parents would just go into our rooms while we were at school before every move and throw stuff out. They made a lot of decisions I would not have made, including getting rid of books that I loved. I'm sure they just didn't want to spend the time arguing with 6 kids about every scrap of trash in their rooms (and I can't really blame them), but it hurt. And the end result was that we all started hiding things as soon as we knew a move was coming, so that on moving day, there was more to pack than my parents had anticipated.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think it may partially be a developmental stage. Maybe it has something to do with being no longer a little girl but not yet a teen, they feel worried about the future and want to hold onto things. I remember a friend's daughter was around the same age and got upset when a broken household fixture was changed (not even in her room!) because it meant things were different.

    That said, I don't think there's anything unhealthy about the way she's living. It sounds clean and like she's currently using most of this stuff. As someone who was an artsy kid, I think it's pretty common for creative kids (and adults) to be surrounded in "stuff". I'd let most of it go for the time being, just close the door.

    Some of this is just a different way of living and working. If you look at any artist studio (I remember seeing pictures of Picasso's studio in a book, now there was a clutter bug) it does tend to look pretty overwhelming to an outsider, but the artist deals with it just fine.

    Also, I really don't think you want to turn her stuff into a battle of wills, where she feels like she needs to carve out an identity separate from you by keeping her stuff. I agree with other people who think this will all sort itself eventually. She's going to want a cool teen room and then you can whittle some of this stuff down.

    That said,

    Definitely ask the grandparents for help in not adding to the pile though.

    Reasonable limits on the amount of craft supplies that can be kept at any one time sound more than fair.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    We too have lots of large school projects and art work. Our solution is to take photos and store them on the kids computer where they can enjoy the memories or share with family. When things are too hard to get rid of we put them in the garage for a month. If they haven't been missed in that time they can be sold or donated or tossed. If ds decides to sell, he gets the cash. A digital camera can free up a lot of space! Good luck.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I really like what Camlan has written, above. We do need to understand that the kids see things differently than we do, and have different expectations of their space. And we don't need to create stress.

    I have two "keeper" kids. With the first, I made the mistake of just letting it build up and so now that she's moved away, I'm left with a lot of decisions to make! This is not good, so dealing with it now is wise. But letting it be a point of serious conflict is a bad idea - there will be plenty of those coming as they grow up further.

    With the second child, who is an even more insistent keeper, I've had the leisure to try out different strategies for dealing with it. Specifically, what I am trying to do with him (now 16) is to try to give him the capacity to deal with it later when he grows up. I find it helps keep it in perspective to remember that the point of the exercise is to raise the child, not to have a clean house. Ideally, though, you can do both.

    The most effective thing I've done with my son by far is to go in and clean up with him with a view to sorting, not getting rid of. I pick a time that he's relaxed and we spend a nice couple of hours going through his stuff uncritically sorting it and finding places to put it away to start with. Stuff there is no room for, I've often given him a plastic box for it and it goes in the basement. "Tincture of time" allows him to part with some of it when he has become more detached from it. And also, he does forget about that stuff so if it really has to go, I can whittle it down from there. He has, for instance, a much smaller stuffed animal collection than he remembers :-)

    But it is just too aggressive and sudden for him for "taking it out of the room" and "getting rid of it" to be a single step. If I push it, he just clings to it more. If you let them keep it but not in their room they do (as suggested above) find they value having a nice space after all, and they do learn to live without it.

    I try to respect the things that cause him anxiety, and honestly...! He has an attachment to all things Lego including the boxes and the plastic bags that the parts came in! So I let him flatten all the boxes and store them downstairs, even with the plastic bags. I've just gone through them and separated out the bags at least. The boxes may actually prove to be collectible (I'm willing to be convinced) but the bags...

    THEN we talk about what his needs are for sorting and storing, and if he needs different furniture or sorting systems then we switch out furniture or get sorting/cubby boxes or drawers, and set them up. If he's involved in the decision, he uses these systems. And if I'm involved, I can make sure they are adequate and functional.

    So he recently decided he wanted a piece of his Grandma's furniture from when we cleaned out her place, a record cabinet made by my FIL. So he singlehandedly re-organized his room to accommodate it and we set up the old stereo system on it - he listens to records a lot now. He cheerfully put away some of his displayed Lego and some other things he previously valued to make space (key point: put away, did not get rid of). He also is now pretty quick to get rid of clothes he's outgrown where previously he always clung to them. Things in his room have a place, and he's learned to put (many) things away.

    Another thing that the child doesn't realize but you do is that her 11-year-old and 12-year-old selves will also need space to put their artwork and accumulate their mementos. Maybe creating such spaces in advance would help enable her to put her 8-year-old and 9-year-old stuff, or some of it, in the basement.


  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thank you all SO much! Wow! I have some awesome ideas.

    Ironically her nickname is Picaso.. Lol she will no doubt be a famous designer or artist of some kind. She can make a masterpiece out of anything. I did start taking pictures of things that we just had to discard and she was a part of that. She doesn't want to see it in the trash but she will say Ok we can get rid of this and this and we took a pic and I put it in my trunk and discard at work. It's hard on her if she has to 'see' her work thrown away. It's hard on me.

    I have a plan at least for the stuffed animals and she has agreed to let go of Barbie and Polly Pocket since she no longer plays with them. She also agreed to donate all of her baby doll clothes and accessories that are not Amercan Girl related. These are expensive and new and her favorite. I don't think I will want her to get rid of those even as she grows out of them. She donated a small portion of her 'baby books' to two friends with siblings on the way. ( we did this today) and she gave several (toddler) books to little brother. That cleaned up her shelves so much, no other books have to be given away.

    I am going to buy two 'under the bed' totes for her art work that we will keep. I have room under my bed to store these so that will clean up her desk and walls.

    With all of that almost done, I am ok with the rest for now. We are going to go through her jewelry boxes this weekend and find all the pieces, what doesn't have a match will be tossed -- I'm certain this will clean up that area -- she went through an age where every family member gave her some sort of jewelry box and so she has several. I plan to let her keep two and the others should either be given away, sold or tossed. She is more eager to donate than to toss... Which I am very proud of.

    We talked about this the last two days and she is eager to get her room organized because she would like a sleepover for her bday but says her room is too crowded. YAY!! I can't help but be excited that she actually cares, I didn't think she did.

    We are very different. I am a bit OCD in nature where I just have to have my room cleaned and organized before I can sleep at night. Kitchen has to be clean and the living room picked up. She is more carefree where she has the attitude of 'with all this daylight and beautiful weather, who cares about the dishes!' I honestly love that and admire this in her because I wish that were me. I think I might be learning more from her with this phase in our lives than she is learning from me.

    Thanks again-- all of the advice is being heard and I really appreciate the in put.

    On the boxes-- what a fabulous idea-- we are going to do this also because she loves to do things like this and it will be cheaper than buying more 'totes' to put in the top of the closet!!

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago


    We have the same daughter! Except mine is 17. We did the whole room redecorating thing when she was 13, and got rid of a lot of stuff. One thing she wanted was a magnetic wall to hang art and photos. It still looks very cluttered to me, but she rearranges it occasionally. The art supplies, hair stuff and jewelry are still everywhere. Oh, and don't even mention the shoes!

    This week she's on a band trip to Hawaii (rough life - they played a concert at the Arizona Memorial). I've done a little straightening of her room, and reconfigured her closet for more hanging space. Did I mention the outrageous number of t-shirts a girl NEEDS? Today I'm cleaning her bathroom. Did I really buy her all those bottles of conditioner?

    She comes home tomorrow, and the house will explode again. I miss her. The day after tomorrow I'll want to send her back. :)

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I rewmember one weekend, my DH took our two girls to a professional baseball game. They left early in the day. It was Daddy's day to take them to breakfast, to see the Yankees, then a long drive home. As soon as they left,I sprang into action cleaning the entire house. I cleaned every dang room, organized, did literally tons of wash. every room got organized, dusted, mopped or vacuumed. I was exhaudted by the time they returned. They came home full of chatter abouit their great day out. I was so happy our home was clean. I still look back on that super day. I know this has gotten off the track. Sorry.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    good advice. my only caution is make sure it really is your daughter and not your own OCD.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Why would you want to limit her books? Rejoice that she reads.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Reorganization mission: accomplished.

    Before I forget though I want to comment to ideefixe: I don't want to limit her reading by any means however, a lot of the junk is old old old and baby/toddler books. We jumped that hurdle first though by donating the baby books to friends and handing down the toddler books to her little brother/my son. She still has four shelves full of age appropriate books and she kept the books that were special to her like nursery rhyme books that are signed by grandparents etc.

    I did most of the reorganizing without her. She started helping and became overwhelmed and asked me to just do it for her. She has three decorative buckets that were full of 'stuff' I asked her to go to another room to sort through them and she can back with two empty buckets and one 1/2 full of what she wanted to keep. We went through her jewelry and threw away what didn't have a match or what was really old. We made a necklace hanger and hung up all of her necklaces and a bow hanger for all of her hair bows and moved ALL of her other hair accessories to a 'handmade' box As suggested by jlt above and put clippies and bands Into baggies so their easier to find.

    Took pictures of her most recent 'box' collection and she threw them away herself. I let her keep a box she had used to make a 'puppet' show stage but we found a place in her closet. I cleaned out he clothes of what she can't wear and organized them as I normally do. We didn't get rid of any stuffed animals, she organized them in a large tote in her closet and what appeared to be just a huge stack of junk wa a bunch of hand-me-down purses from grandma. We bought a tote to store all of the purses and she can get them out if she wants but the new rule is, they have to be put away when she is done.

    Organized her baby doll stuff and ended up with one large basket and one tote with a lid and I'm happy with that. Organized her game/movie collection on a freed up shelf on her book case and that made her tv stand look so much better. Her desk is cleaned off minus her lamp and laptop. Bought her a HUGE pencil box for her pens and pencils to keep on her desk. Got her a three drawer rolling cart for all of her art supplies and crafty stuff and threw away the boxes some of the stuff came in.

    It looks fabulous!! We hung up several of her art pieces and put all the others in an under the bed tote. Even got one for my son. She is Proud of her 'art collection' box.

    Thanks for all of the ideas. I was able to vacuum without
    Moving anything. The floor is cleaned up and everything is where is should be. She said she feels so much better and is so proud of her room. It's only day 1 so we'll see how long it lasts... But I think she is so proud it will stay organized for a while.

    I am a bit OCD ... And I don't want to push that off on her. As I do respect that she is very much an artist and understand that artists are cluttered and unorganized just not in their own minds. But I think everyone works better when they can see their desk... And surely they sleep better when they can find their bed...

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    So glad it worked out. My kids each had their own bedrooms (two girls/14 months apart in age)and kept them pretty orderly on their own, tho about once a year I'd say "Get together some things to donate to "the poor kids" and they'd willingly let go of clothes, toys, stuffed animals. I discovered one was a "keeper" because she missed her troll dolls and her "pet vet" (a vet kit complete with medical bag, doctors specs, bandages and casts for hurt toy dogs). But the tears didn't last long. And now she's 22, lives at home and has a very clean, sparse bedroom, all the toys are gone. Just proof it does get better...

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    In the gift department, may I suggest what we've done at kids birthday parties? When we send out the invitation, we say that it is a NO GIFT party, but a YES CARD party, and that if the guest really wants to bring something, to please bring a canned good that we can donate to a local food pantry.

    At DS's 6th birthday, I will never forget how he sat and opened and admired every card, just as he would have admired gifts. And the cards were wonderfully creative--we made a big mural of them in the kitchen for a few weeks, which kept the birthday feeling going longer. One little girl he invited made him three cards, she was so excited. And he went with me to donate the food and was very happy about it. (And that we'd bribed him with a $20 shopping trip to Target in exchange for formatting his party that way.)

    My 12 yo DD did not even need a bribe. We did the same thing, except the party was at our house, and we had a table right by the front door where we stacked and arranged the cans as guests arrived. At the end, when she opened all the cards, we also admired the mountain of food on the table, talked about how many meals it would make, and gave everybody a big round of applause. Once again, the cards were beautiful, creative, and displayed for a few weeks for fun.

    This won't work for everybody, won't help the grandparent situation, and I definitely would not do it with very young kids, but it's a mainstay for our family now.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Bottom line: Involve your daughter in making the choices of what to keep. Let her come with you when you donate toys and clothes. Scrap-booking may help. Take photos of her finished projects. I was one of those "crafty" kids, always making shadow boxes, pressing fall leaves between sheets of wax paper, saving funny comics from the newspaper, etc. Eventually she will grow up and get rid of things. Did you ever see an 18 year old play with dolls? Peer pressure,dear. There is a light at the end of a tunnel.

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I've been reading this thread and am glad to see it's worked out for now.

    I'm no authority, but I did raise six kids. I always considered their bedrooms "Private Property" and would help them clean if they wanted my help; otherwise, how they kept their rooms was up to them. They have all grown into well-organized, responsible adults who live in well-kept homes. I couldn't imagine that would happen when they were growing up.

    One daughter, also an artist like yours, kept all of her art and doodles, notebooks, etc., decorated and redecorated her room several times. She still has all that stuff! And guess what...she is a lovely, responsible, well-educated 29 year old professional who lives in a very small, clean, well-organized apartment with all of her stuff. Her walls are covered, she has a million books (including all college textbooks she didn't have to turn in, and all the paperbacks she read growing up!) and she is happy! And she is by far and away the favorite aunt to all seven of her little nieces and nephews; she has all those books to read, all those crafts to have fun with, all those old boxes to make forts with!

    So don't despair. If you can, let your girl enjoy her own space, any way she wants it. Close her door if you must. She's normal. When she asks for help, help her. Anyway, that's my 2 cents.