My dd's horrid room, complete with pics (Update post 63/new pictures!!) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I made the mistake of opening the door today. I talked somewhat about our issue in the clean room thread not too long ago. Dd is 10, and this is regularly what her room looks like. We've cleaned/organized it over and over and over with her. We've gone through and gotten rid of stuff after threatening that anything on the floor would get thrown out - once last summer and once this summer. She doesn't seem to care for *anything* - things thrown out included birthday gifts and things that I'd made for her.

This (to me) is beyond ridiculous. Her bed is disgusting - how does she even sleep in it? I can't even come in to tuck her in. Also, if there was a fire, how in the heck would she even get out of her room? I *don't* have the time to help her clean/organize it all the time, and you know what...I don't want to. I've done it more times than I can count, and she just absolutely refuses to pick up after herself. I'm tired of spending money on clothes that get ruined by wet towels being thrown on top of them (not to mention the carpet) and I'm tired of wasting money on birthday/Christmas gifts only to have them broken after she steps on them. I feel like cleaning out everything but her bed and clothes.

Any and all suggestions are appreciated.

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#2 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 11:29 AM
 
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She has too much stuff, period.

I think 90 percent of that stuff can go. Honestly. She cannot maintain it because it's overwhelming. Get back to the basics. She needs a bed and dresser. She needs some clothes, not tons and tons of clothes.

The bookshelf goes out into a common area. White shelving out. Toys should fit into the green bucket and that's all.
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#3 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 11:41 AM
 
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Operamommy, did you sneak into my house and take pics of my DSD's room? Seriously, she's 9yo and her room looks just like that. I agree that too much stuff is the main problem. It is overwhelming for them to attempt to organize, plus I really think when they have so much they just don't appreciate anything at all. Less is more, you know? I would perfer to get rid of most everything in her room. DH and I don't quite see eye to eye on that at the time however
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#4 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by PumpkinSeeds View Post
She has too much stuff, period.

I think 90 percent of that stuff can go. Honestly. She cannot maintain it because it's overwhelming. Get back to the basics. She needs a bed and dresser. She needs some clothes, not tons and tons of clothes.

The bookshelf goes out into a common area. White shelving out. Toys should fit into the green bucket and that's all.
No kidding way too much stuff. Box up all you can and find a closet to store it in. Have a garage sale. Donate it. Pass it down to younger cousin, sibling or friend. She needs to practice organization now so she has that skill, that habit for when life gets more complicated.

And on the plus side, it looks like it is just stuff, not old food and drink.
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#5 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 11:48 AM
 
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That is exactly what my dds' room looks like! And exactly what my room looked like until I was about 17.

I agree, she has too much stuff. If it really bothers you and she really cannot get a handle on it, then you guys need to sit and sort through that stuff and keep about 25% and find somewhere for the rest to go.

I think PumpkinSeeds has some really solid ideas.

Once you have a system set up, I would suggest getting some sort of daily routine into cleaning. I do this now with my own bedroom (tidying it is part of my morning routine every.single.day---If I skip a day the room is out of control!) and I find it really helpful.

The mess in my own dds' room doenst really bother me. They keep their door closed. I ask them to clean about once a week, and we do a deep clean together every other month or so (where we get under the bed, in the back corners of the closet, under the furniture, etc). They can usually get it cleaned enough to see the floor and make their beds. I know they should have less stuff, but they do love their stuff so very much and, as I said, the mess doesn't really bother me all that much. I'm a messy person myself so I find some little bit of clutter sort of comforting.

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#6 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 11:54 AM
 
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Get ye to the decluttering thread on this board. Lots of great ideas there for culling the stash.

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#7 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 12:02 PM
 
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My 8yo ds's room looked very similar last year. I nagged and fussed and complained until he went on a camping trip with his Daddy for a couple of days. I took about EIGHT!! hours and just gutted it. Got it back to good. Got rid of TONS of things. Organized closet, drawers, books, under the bed, a zillion LEGOs, K'NEX, action figures, etc. I did my 5 yo's room too but his wasn't nearly as bad. Annnnnywaaay, when they got home we implemented "ROOM INSPECTION" that is done every night before bed. Everything must be in place before bedtime. Every day. No exceptions.

I haven't needed to deep clean it since. It never takes more than 15 minutes.

You could change the inspection time if you find that she does it slowly to delay bedtime. I sort of thought that mine would do that, but they haven't so far.
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#8 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 12:13 PM
 
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My room looked like that as a kid, too. My mom decided pretty early on that it was a battle she wasn't willing to fight and she just let it be, as long as the mess was confined to my space. Right around puberty, something snapped and I became a bit if a neatnik, which I still am today. I wouldn't stress about it, personally.
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#9 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 12:20 PM
 
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my room was way worse as a kid.
i agree, she has too much stuff. it looks like you gave her plenty of things to organize it with but she doesnt want to use it. i see my DSDs looking to go that route. they tell me they have too much toys. so i get rid of a bunch of stuff. then they get sad b/c they dont have it. i tell them they didnt keep it cleaned up and it got broke. etc. b/c that is what happens. everything gets ruined when it is all over the florr, getting walked on.
i would help her to get rid of the stuff she doesnt use and the clothes she doesnt wear. if she is helping to make the decisions about what to get rid of and where it will go, it might be easier.
we just did this with 13 yo DS 2 yr ago when we moved. we brought only the neccessary stuff and threw away the rest. his room is easier to clean now.

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#10 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 12:26 PM
 
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I would encourage her to choose toys that she doesn't use much anymore to donate. Instead of making it seem like "cleaning" and "work", try to encourage her to see it as part of growing up, getting rid of the old things she no longer needs, and maybe let her choose a few new things for her room once she gets it to a livable level. I'm not the type to harass others about their personal space, but I do see how this could be a fire hazard and also a general safety hazard. Chances are she'd be happier with a clean room, but she may just see it as too much work. Try to work with her to bring it to a level you can both accept, then encourage her to keep it neat so that it doesn't get too overwhelming.

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#11 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 12:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by PumpkinSeeds View Post
She has too much stuff, period.

I think 90 percent of that stuff can go. Honestly. She cannot maintain it because it's overwhelming. Get back to the basics. She needs a bed and dresser. She needs some clothes, not tons and tons of clothes.

The bookshelf goes out into a common area. White shelving out. Toys should fit into the green bucket and that's all.
Yes. And that mess looks overwhelming for an adult to conquer, much less a 10 yr old. I would make a deal that you're going to help her clean it this time, but you're also going to get rid of stuff together.

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#12 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 12:56 PM
 
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Looks JUST like my dd's room, even down to the plastic book shelf.

I finally decided to go in there the other day and just organize and throw anything away that looked like garbage (wadded up paper). She was not happy. I told her if she can't at least keep it safe, I'm going to start pitching stuff.

I go through about once every 6 months and take out all the outgrown clothing to donate. It helps, but we are still a long way from neat.

Although I am not a neatfreak by ANY stretch, I expect it to at least be SAFE. I can't stand crap piled in front of the doorway!
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#13 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 01:00 PM
 
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I agree she has too much stuff. No one could manage all that, it would be a full time job. Throw away, give away, or ebay 90% of it. She has as many clothes as my 5 girls do altogether! Does she really need/ wear all of it?
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#14 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 01:10 PM
 
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I agree: WAY too much stuff and clutter. It wouldn't matter how well it was organized: it is just too much. I think I would get rid of at least 75% (or more) of it and keep it simple, as another poster suggested. Keep the bed, the dresser. Put her books in a common area, get rid of all that storage space that is not working anyway. Donate toys, recycle all that junk paper, sell the extra clothes, and get rid of all that chaos! You say she doesn't care about any of her stuff and that it carelessly gets broken, moldy, and ruined. That is a sure sign that she simply has waaaaayy to much. She's over stimulated and can't deal with it all.
Once you've gotten rid of the majority of the mess and clutter you might consider doing a quarterly cleaning and purging of the stuff that crops up until she either learns to control the mess and respect her belongings or until people get the hint and quit gifting her with so much darned stuff.

Kids just acquire so much CRUD these days (I sure did as a kid!): Denali gets a ridiculous amount for birthdays and Christmas. I keep hoping that people will buy her less things for occasions, but they always seem to want to. We have "pre-holiday" stuff and possessions thinning just to keep it all manageable. Luckily her room is about 7X10 feet with a sloped ceiling so she literally has no room for tons of stuff. And our house is very small, so we have no choice but to keep it under control and free of extra stuff. I'll tell you: once a year or so we STILL have to do a "stuff purge" in our house, and I always feel so much lighter and more free afterwards.
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#15 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the responses! I agree - too much stuff. She hates to throw away anything. When we ask her to sort through what she no longer uses, she usually can only find one or two things. I will find time this week or next to go through it all again with her. I liked frontierpsych's idea of having dd look at it as a "growing up" thing...but not so sure it will work! I told her a few weeks ago that if we could get her room all cleaned then we could redecorate it soon (she no longer likes pink), but she didn't have a response to that.

I'm not sure why everyone thinks she has so many clothes? Several of the dresser drawers are empty (b/c the clothes are thrown on the floor!) and the closet doesn't really have any hanging clothes (the ones in the back belong to ds2). Maybe she does have too many. One of our probs is that we have to have 2 entirely different sets of clothes - 1 for school, 1 for play. We live out on 3.5 acres, and her clothes get *trashed* when she plays outside. Any tips for that?

I like the idea of getting rid of the storage that's not working. Unfortunately, there's no common area for her bookshelf to go to; our house is too small. I don't know how to break her of the pack-ratting. She lugs junk home from her bio dad's all the time. And yes, holiday gift giving from family is a problem here as well.

Maybe I can stress the safety issue to kind of soften the blow when it's time for the big sort out. The sad thing is, she had cleaned it up (or at least shoved it out of sight!) so that a friend could come spend the night on Friday. All the junk you see has been dragged out in only 5 days!

Keep the suggestions coming; I really appreciate them!

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#16 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 01:53 PM
 
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ITA with everything above. There is entirely too much stuff for her to handle. It is clearly overwhelming for her, and she needs help going through it and purging. There is just so much that probably can't even really enjoy her things and her room, and she should be able to.

My three girls have a book case that fits in their closet that they have their personal toys (those that aren't community toys in the game room that fit in three bins). They keep things in their spots when it comes to picking up. It is easy for them because there isn't much. kwim All of those personal toys are deeply cherished, too.

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#17 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 01:56 PM
 
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I think she has way too much toys and junk. If you leave it up to here nothing will go. I'd take over a bit and ask her to pick out 10-15 thing she must keep but then you weed through the rest
if you have cable watch clean house, they go through messy overwhelmed houses and use the same techniques over and over. It might get you psyched up to go at her room
also if she agreed to having a sale and you could invest the money she makes in a big item (electronics perhaps) or save it for some wish list thing
good luck, I wish someone would clean my house!
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#18 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 01:57 PM
 
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I like the idea of getting rid of the storage that's not working. Unfortunately, there's no common area for her bookshelf to go to; our house is too small.
Craigslist the bookshelf. No need for you to hang on to it if it doesn't fit anywhere. It would be a good example to set of how we need to get rid of things that clutter our lives. kwim

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#19 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 02:19 PM
 
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All those ideas are wonderful however I'd like to add one more: when my ds' room get gross I tell him he cannot make any plans or go out until it's clean. You're daughter is 10 so the above has to be altered obviously. I find that it really works. It's amazing how much stuff gets thrown out and organised when he has a deadline and wants to get out with his buddies.
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#20 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 03:53 PM
 
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How about giving her garbage bags, and boxes labeled "Freecycle/eBay" and "Donate." tell her her room is her responsibility, and you're going to do the same thing in the rest of the house (or pick one room). Set aside a Saturday morning or something, and let her know you expect her to work, and there are more bags and bixes if she needs them. tell her if she has trouble decidng which box things should go in, to put them in the freecycle box and you'll help her sort them later.

Tell her your expectations, but let her know it's a part of growing up, a thing people do every once in a while, and see? Mama's doing it too to help keep the house working smoothly. call it summer cleaning. Tell her you'll help if she's overwhelmed, but she has to take a crack at it herself first.

Does she do her own laundry? She's old enough, I think. That may help her take care of her clothes better, if it's her responmsibility to clean them.
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#21 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 04:15 PM
 
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#22 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 05:42 PM
 
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If she wants to keep everything in that room, she needs to be a part of the cleaning, decluttering and organizing process. Just my opinion, of course.

That room looks overwhelming.

Does she need help every day with a reminder to tidy up? Does she need more bins for things? What about up on the shelf in the closet? She could put things up there like seasonal clothing and toys she wants to keep but doesn't play with often...

We went through this with our 9yr old. I finally got it down to a manageable size (still too much, imo, but it's her stuff). We take 20 minutes to tidy nearly every day. It keeps it under control. Also, we talk about things that don't get played with and perhaps she might want to donate them? It's a struggle but we're getting there!
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#23 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 05:42 PM
 
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Two of my kids' rooms look like that. The oldest one did too, until he was allowed girls over, then magically he started caring how his room looked

I go in about once a year and do a thorough cleaning. It could happen at any time, though, and if I clean I throw stuff out. I also just refuse to pay for things for them sometimes if I'm sick of their messy rooms.

With my kids, most of the mess is clothes and garbage. Apparently they are unable to see their giant hampers and garbage cans :
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#24 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by PumpkinSeeds View Post
She has too much stuff, period.

I think 90 percent of that stuff can go. Honestly. She cannot maintain it because it's overwhelming. Get back to the basics. She needs a bed and dresser. She needs some clothes, not tons and tons of clothes.

The bookshelf goes out into a common area. White shelving out. Toys should fit into the green bucket and that's all.
:

I totally agree. This is how mine and my sister's rooms look(ed), and if I'm not careful, this is how my own home starts to look.

There is just WAY too much stuff for her to maintain. 10 toys, plus a few stuffed animals to keep on the MADE bed. And an easy to make up comforter with maybe a bed skirt to hide the boxspring.
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#25 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 06:30 PM
 
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Its just 'stuff' and its her room. My kids rooms look like that as did mine. Its not a battle worth fighting in my house.
HER ROOM , HER STUFF. however if you break it, ruin it, loose it etc, dont ask me to buy you another one.
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#26 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 06:33 PM
 
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I second the pp's suggestion for TV shows about cleaning up! Clean House is good and so is neat. I used to love Clean Sweep (Peter Walsh's show), but I can't find it anymore. Mission Organization is pretty good, too. KidSpace is good as far as redecorating kid rooms. I find that if the "omgwhattamess!" is coming from someone on TV about somebody else's mess my dd1 (7) is much more receptive than if I'm the one doing the nagging. She gets all fired up about how she wants to fix up her room if the show we watch has a kid's room in it, too. Both my girls are much more willing to part with things after seeing folks on TV do it, too. So much of the message we get from TV is "acquire, acquire, consume, consume" it's refreshing to hear "declutter — you don't really need that", y'know? A lot of those shows are on cable, but PBS has some good home shows, too.

I also agree that you need to model decluttering and organizing and call attention to yourself when you're doing it. Often when I finally get around to decluttering my own stuff I'm feeling a little self-conscious about it and not really wanting an audience, but it's much better to put myself out there and let them see by example.

We finally got through their room (dd1 and dd2 share) and it was every bit as much of a mess as your dd's. They were motivated, though, by all the organizing shows I've been feeding them and I did do the bulk of it myself. They helped, but I was under a deadline (home visit from dd2's preschool teacher) and needed to get it finished. They haven't wanted to mess it back up this time, though! I'm crediting Niecy Nash so far !

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#27 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 06:43 PM
 
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My room looked like that. My mom made me (and helped) clean in periodically so that nothing was growing in it. She basically said if it's messy, but clean, it's my room and I can have it how I want. We also did a big donation maybe twice a year.

I turned into a fairly neat, and pretty organized teenager and adult. It's okay to give her ownership of her own space.

Maybe she's using it to assert some independence? Seems like a fairly innocuous way to do that.

Or if not that, maybe say whatever is on the floor in the morning when she goes to school (or whatever) is going to Goodwill and pick it all up and hide it from her.
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#28 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 07:36 PM
 
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Meh, it's not as bad as my room when I was a teen, LOL.

I agree that she has WAY too much stuff, especially if there's no room for it and she's clearly not taking care of it. Nobody should have stuff just for the sheer point of having stuff. I say help her clear it out - sell, donate, keep etc. Go through the toys, the books, the clothes and get rid of things she doesn't want or need.

DD's (9) room has a bed and dresser in her room. It's always spotless and she loves to be in there because it's her own quiet space.

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#29 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 08:18 PM
 
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I agree with all the posters who recommend getting rid of stuff and just wanted to volunteer what I do to address the "that is important to me" reaction that kids have when faced with loosing stuff.
What I do is tell dd that we are going to put stuff that I think she has outgrown and really doesn't ever use away in storage for a while . She can ask for things to be pulled out when she wants them and I will go get anything she specifically asks for by name from memory.
I let things simmer in the attic for 4-6 months. I then tell her you haven't asked for anything in a long time. Is there anything we put away that is at least important enough that you can remember that you own and want to keep it. I will then keep anything she can name. If she doesn't remember it I can get rid of it. She never gets to see what I am disposing of so she never remembers how "important" it is to her. This seems to work.
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#30 of 77 Old 08-20-2008, 08:23 PM
 
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I'd offer to help her sell some of that stuff on eBay or to Once Upon a Child. And by "some" I mean at least 70 percent of it. Maybe the added incentive of some spending cash would help. And if she does buy a little more stuff with the money, perhaps she'll feel more compelled to take care of it once she sees how money flows.

Another suggestion is to get rid of that plastic shelf. It takes up space. A few underbed boxes would do the same job with the added bonus of leaving no room for things to get lost and forgotten under the bed.

In my boys room, big toys are now decoration as well as things to play with. They have a four foot tall inflatable robot that's blown up and in a corner. Maybe her dollhouse could do the same thing? She might keep the room neater if it looks more "decorated," and it won't cost an extra dime. Think any of that would work for E?

Body, I've been more than patient. Please make a baby. Please?
always loving my babies. (May 08)(April 09)(August 09)(September 09) (December 10)
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