For today’s Tiny Tip On A Thursday, I thought I’d share a true tale about helping J clean his room.
Last week I helped J clean up a corner of his room.
He started out on his own. His bed became a catchall.
The living room couch became his sleeping quarters for two nights while we waited for him to finish the job.
We gave him yet another nudge. The words of frustration spilled from his lips:
“I don’t know where to put any of that crap.”
The nicest words? No. Do you use the nicest of words when you are frustrated? Yeah, me either.
Sadly, I heard an echo of familiarity in the words. And a call for help. So I told him we would work together on the floor and the bed.
We started with a trash bag. A lot of last year’s schoolwork went into it (sorry, teachers) as did a broken binder.
I realized he needed a desk organizer (or in J’s case, a table organizer as he’s currently using his dad’s camping table as a desk. One problem at a time.). And, of course, more space.
He agreed, in a bittersweet moment for me, we could store all the loose Lego’s in the basement. We could also put his Lego table and chairs down there to make room for a place to store and practice his baritone (bonus tip: always try to talk your kids into the flute if space is an issue ;)).
The already put together Lego’s displayed all over his room? Those are staying put for now. We have a long way to go but we did make progress.
A lot of progress came from my asking him a simple question about various items: Do you want display, store, or give away? Thankfully, my youngest son is easy about trash being trash.
This is my twist on the 3 box strategy of organizing and purging you see on a lot of sites. Most will advise you to get three boxes or bags and label them with keep, give-away, and throw-away.
The idea of course is that you have a use in mind for everything you plan to keep. A great strategy but 12 is a tough age. Let’s all cringe together when I say it’s “in be Tween.” Not quite a child but not quite ready to let go of all their toys either.
Somehow, asking display, store, or give away softens the blow.
In the interest of full disclosure, we’re still slowly working on his room but we’re making progress!
We bought 3 storage tubs and a new trash can for his room yesterday. Hopefully, I’ll have more to share about this current organizing project soon.
What tips do you have for helping kids to clean their rooms?