Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Clean Start

About 7 1/2 years ago I gave birth to a little pack rat.  I didn't know it at the time of course...she looked so innocent then...
As the years have progressed though her true identity has emerged...

I suppose you can have a tidy pack rat...keeps everything but puts it away orderly...but that's not the kind I have, no I have the messy sort...but I love her!

I seriously do love my Abs, but she really struggles to keep her room clean.  It is such a process and ordeal when I tell her to clean up...it takes most of the day and then when it's bed time it's already a wreck again.
I have had issues with this.  It finally came to a head yesterday.

I felt like I wanted to do something drastic but I wasn't quite sure what.  
I had thought about cleaning everything out of her room and putting it somewhere that she couldn't find it.
My sister in law told me of her friend who did that and then when the kids came home from school she let them have back anything they could remember...the rest was dumped (excluding sentimental items that they may not have recalled).  I kind of liked that idea.

Yesterday morning as I was kind of puttering around in her room with these thoughts going through my head my mom called.  We chatted and I told her my frustrations.  I said that I knew I was just as bad when I was a girl (I remember Mom threatening to clean our rooms while we were at school and throw away anything she wanted).  She wasn't so sure that I was as bad as Abby but she said that she remembered coming home from school one day and her mom had cleaned out her room and had a fire going in the fireplace.  Her sister told her she didn't want to know what was in the fire.  To this day Mom doesn't know what was in the fire, but she says she never missed any of it whatever "it" was.

Well, that did it!  If my cute Grandma could do something like that then I felt totally justified in my ideas.
After I hung up with Mom I went to work full speed.
I found all kinds of things...
four half empty water bottles
endless wrappers and papers...sticky tacked to the wall no less...
 about 10 different lip glosses
a million bobby pins and hair clips
6-9 barbie shoes and hair extensions
and the crown jewel...a tiny, pink iPod that I still need to ask her about (where did that come from?)
When I was done with it, everything was gone except for...
big furniture (bookshelf, table and chairs)
a few pictures on the wall and a plant
her soccer bag
her scripture bag
her CD player and CD's so she can have background music as she contemplates her new clean habits she will form
and, out of the goodness of my heart, I left her "American Girl" doll and accessories

It took me all morning to accomplish this.
I did have a little helper though :)

I was a little worried what Abby's reaction would be.  I could see her going either way...upset and throwing a full fledged tantrum or happy that I had cleaned it for her.

We had a little talk when she came home and I explained everything to her.
She seemed just fine with it...a little shocked and in awe but okay.
However, Andy said he had a conversation with her last night that went something like this:
Andy: What do you think of your room Abby?
Abby: I don't know if I like this Dad.
Andy: How come?
Abby: Because there's hardly anything in my room.
So maybe she's not as okay with it as I thought, but so far so good on keeping it clean :)
It's kind of hard to mess it up if there's nothing there to mess it up with (pardon the grammar).
Basically right now I'm watching to see if she'll keep her clothes orderly.  If she's good with that for about a week I'll let her choose 2 or 3 things that she wants back.  If she keeps all of that clean for another week I'll let her choose some more and so on and so forth.
We'll see.  I hope it doesn't backfire on me or just have no effect at all.
I hope we don't go through months of her earning back her stuff and then find it in the state of the above pictures within a week.

I have to admit, I love walking by her room now and peeking in where before I would try not to look or just close the door and pretend like it didn't exist.

So here's to a clean, fresh start Abby!

My pretty little pack rat


  1. what a big project! I hope it works! Teaching kids to be tidy is tricky at times.

  2. Haha, I wonder if this would work with my sister ;) no, she does pretty good now that we're sharing a room. Hope it goes well!

  3. My Chloe is a bit the same way. I have enjoyed reading blogs about minimalism and tiny homes. Their philosophy is to live larger in the community, with your passions, etc because they have less "stuff" to take care of. I am still working through these ideas in my own home but have found this philosophy is inspiring.

    One minimalist blog talked about having less toys makes kids be more creative and take their imagination and toy playing to bigger levels.

    I am amazed that when our apartment is vacant for a week or two, it becomes the kids FAVORITE SPACE. They do cartwheels and run and play. When you have SPACE you are better able to fill it with JUST YOU and your light.

    Nice job mama!