Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bringing Back Order

It was time for a major clean in the girls' room. I was getting a nervous tick whenever I went in there.

When they can't clean it themselves properly (the following picture is "clean" to them), we have to go in and bring back some order. I was dreading it.

Too much of a good thing becomes a burden, it isn't peaceful.

It's been about 3 and a half years since the girls moved into this room together. Check out how perfect it was back then (this link). Unfortunately, it's been as many years since I came in and went through everything and did a major clean. Sweeping and picking up take a few minutes, but digging in and purging are a major project (about 5 hours it turned out).

August of 2009

2 days ago...

The kids have been on and off sick for 2 weeks, so I took advantage of Emma and Tommy's lethargy (I hoped he would sleep the whole time) and dove in head first with my trusty assistant Mandy.

It was like Christmas for Remington. I found 3 buzzers from board games that I hid for good reason on the top of the shelf in the hallway. I told him he could only buzz them while hiding under his covers in his room with the door closed -- that bought me about 20 minutes.

With this much fun going on, Tommy refused to nap.... all day. Merry Christmas!

I learned a lot from two books on cleaning/organizing. I highly recommend both:
The House That Cleans Itself: Creative Solutions for a Clean and Orderly House in Less Time Than You Can Imagine

The best points I gained from this book are 1) to organize around established habits, don't try to change habits to fit the new organization, and 2) the first thing you see when you walk into a room should look tidy or the whole room will look untidy. This book is written by a previously messy person who researched and finally found a way to keep her house clean! 

The other book is different in that it addresses the why's behind clutter and how to purge your space of useless stuff once and for all.
Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living

Love this book so much! The author speaks about how "we let the things we value most take a backseat to whatever is begging for attention in the moment." A cluttered life and all this stuff is demanding when it is out of control. Not only am I trying to learn this myself and make intentional decisions to live in a peaceful place, I want to train my children how to do this also.

I'm not sure if there is a proper way to deep clean, but this is the method that works for me. 

As quick as possible, go through and de-clutter and dust. I went through their closet first, all their clothes and got rid of about half of Mandy's clothes and a few of Emma's so their drawers closed. I reorganized everything that NEEDED to fit in there and everything else went in the middle of the room (the clothes went in bags in the hall to give away).

I went around the room doing the same process, the stuff that needed to stay stayed, the rest in the middle of the room. I found SO MUCH stuff behind their beds. Blech!

It takes time, patience, and focus. If I'm short on any of those things, cleaning/organizing doesn't happen.

Hence why it has been 3.5 years since going through the girls' room.

Staying focused is key. My friend Season came over a few years ago and helped me with my office. She taught me to not get caught micro-organizing. She kept saying, "Don't get lost in the details, you can organize when the pile is more manageable." Wise woman!

So 3 bags and sort, sort, sort. 

Give away (for nice stuff that simply isn't needed or loved) -- if it isn't serving a purpose for me either practically or beautifully, then I am serving it. This is another Season concept. I got this mental picture of bowing down serving this unnecessary stuff and it freaked me out!

Keep -- this is the pile I like to micro organize, but I lose steam too fast this way. Running to and fro from bathroom to laundry pile to kitchen to toy closet to lego box to office. It's better to put it in one bag and sort later when all the unwanted stuff is gone.

Toss -- for all that garbage that collects. I was ruthless this time around and even threw away broken crayons (gasp!).

Mandy was such a good helper. She didn't even whine about giving her stuff away. She has a generous heart and is a hard worker.

She started yawning about 2:30 and I told her to just lay in her bed for awhile. Soon she was fast asleep.

Getting closer!!

The two bags in the center front are the keep (sort later) bags that I will have the girls work on. They WILL learn the skill of organizing and sorting.

I moved a shelf in to hold all their books, art supplies and precious stuffed animals.

The bags by the door on the left are "give" and the ones on the right are "toss."

Another tip from "the House That Cleans Itself" is to get rid of the give and toss stuff immediately. This is is really important. I'm not prone to digging stuff out, but others in my family are. Once gone, it's gone. The give bags are in the car waiting for a swap we do at my MOPS group.

Well, it's not Pottery Barn Kids, but it's clean.... the girls wanted their beds like this, so I figured why not! I'm pretty sure the designers at PBK have never lived with actual, real children. Ones with tic-tac-toe championship game papers glue-sticked to the wall, a favorite turquoise hat, priceless memorabilia from beach trips, Wild Kratt's tokens from a cousin's birthday party, Pillow Pets, 5 doll beds, or neon fleece blankets from Grandma that don't match, but are so cozy.

This is real and this is peaceful!



Sherri said...

Kudos to Mandy for being such a great helper! I find it hard to imagine getting it done in only 5 hours with Rem and Tommy helping too! I like the doll house on their dresser, a little harder for little brothers to get get into. I also need to keep in mind the idea of serving things that don't serve me because I find it so hard to eliminate stuff- that is a good mental picture.

Sara said...

What an accomplishment! Way to go, Alysun! I tend to work on one area and then the next rather than throw everything in one pile in the middle of the floor. I think I'd be afraid to try your method because of the fear I wouldn't finish and it'd be left in the middle of the room for who knows how long! :) The girls' bed arrangement is hilarious - I'll be curious too hear how long they want it that way. :)

PS) Yesterday, Abby randomly dumped all the stuffed animals on the floor and went through them and put four of them in the garage sale box in my room. I was so proud of her! She did cry over one of them, but I'm trying to teach her not to be such a pack rat like me and I was excited to see her take some initiative to declutter all on her own.