Wednesday, January 23, 2008

How can two, sweet little girls...

...make SUCH a BIG mess!?!

This is how I found my daughters room last night...

IT IS SO FRUSTRATING!!! I want to be able to make my home a haven and work on ways to make our life simply lovely. But honestly, what do you do when the little ones can make SUCH messes?? And, usually, fairly quickly at that!

My boys are pretty neat, for the most part, and when told, they will pick up after themselves. Twinkle Toes on the other hand has a meltdown ("But I don't wannnnttt toooo piccckkkk up my rooooommm...") when told to pick up her room. I think it is just that she has too much stuff... Maybe??

Anyhow, I decided to try and conquer their room last night. So, I headed in with the following list:


1. Edit their stuff. A child with too many toys can get overwhelmed. Give unwanted toys to a younger child or a charity.

2. Hold everything. Make sure the room has lots of low shelves, boxes and baskets (Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, the Container Store and CompanyKids all make great ones) to put things in.

3. Up, up and away. If you don't want a ton of things piled on the bed or floor, consider installing shelves or a "pet net" to hold huge collections of dolls or stuffed animals.

4. Divide and conquer. Separate toys into different containers (plastic boxes, shoeboxes, even large zipper bags will do the trick), according to type.

5. Bag it! Make sure your child has a laundry bag or hamper in his room and get him into the habit of putting dirty clothes in it as soon as he's worn them.

6. Set house rules ... And review them. No food in the bedroom, no crayons in the living room, no clothes on the bathroom floor.

7. Make it fun. Have siblings "race" to clean up; the first one with a spotless space gets a reward.

8. Set a good example. You are the best role model. Show your child the benefits of living an organized, clutter-free life.

With the help of the girls, we went through EVERYTHING. Many, MANY toys were boxed up to give to the poor. We also filled a bag with trash. The remaining toys were sorted and boxed. We used some underbed storage boxes, plastic zipper bags and a few shoe box size rubbermaid containers. At this point EVERYTHING has a place.

Well, other than a little sign that I haven't quite decided where to hang, so its sitting on the back of the toy box/bench:

I want to order a couple pictures from my Aunt/Godmother as well, to hang on the walls... I just can't decide which ones. I love the Little Princess collection, or maybe Animal Kingdom... And the Lady Bugs collection is so cute too! And the Scroll collection is so pretty. She is so talented! Which do you think would look the best?

Well, here are a couple pictures of their CLEAN room this morning:

Our next step will be working on keeping it this way, when they aren't playing with their toys.

I would love to hear any ideas you all use to bribe encourage your children to keep their rooms clean!


  1. Jessica,

    This is a really good post. Having two girls of my own, I undertand how messy their rooms can get.

    The before and after pictures are truly amazing. It is quite the transformation.

    My oldest is 16, and I used get really frustrated with messes back then. But since then I have mellowed and often thank God for those messes because that means there are children at home and what a blessing!

    Anyway, with the really big messes, I find that I must initiate the clean up as it is just to big a project for a little person. Having helpers like you did is good, as it makes them accountable for their messes.

    Once we did a big clean up I expect the girls to keep up with tidying things up. It's easier for them when there is not too much clutter, and they pick up each day.

  2. Ahh...the constant battle. Ok. Here are a few of the things that have worked for me...let me think what actually works. Our rule is usually that you can't play with something new until the thing you were playing with is clean. Also, my kids do daily chores. So if there room is a mess, I make it one of their chores for the day. it seems to be that it gets less messy when (1) they know they have to clean it and (2) it's kept clean daily. What else? I don't give my kids priviledges until they do their chores, piano/guitar and their homework. I also use the timer when they are dragging their feet. All my kids hate the timer for some reason (don't know why really) but they do! So, I set it and if it goes off and their room isn't clean (chores aren't done, etc) they lose a priviledge. Anyway, a combination of things works for me. I also notice that it helps when they know WHERE things are supposed to go.

    Every now and then we need a room intervention though like you did for your girls today!

  3. Wow! What a difference! I really like that list. I'm going to save this for the girls' room. Very inspiring!

  4. Their room is so CUTE!
    And that collection is incredible! She is so talented. I have to say my favorite was the Little Princess collection, expecially the picture about fairy tales coming true.
    She is a fabulous artist. I bookmarking her page for sure!

  5. OMGSH GOOD JOB JESS! It looks so good! It really was a PIG stie before though! lol. Twinkle Toes has the prettiest blue eyes i have ever seen.


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