I have been nagging my 11 year old daughter for a few weeks now, off and on, to clean her room.
I'm really not sure the best way to handle this. She's a pack rat and she doesn't put things away. The goal, you see, is not a clean room, though that is a worthy goal. The goal is to teach my daughter to clean her room. I didn't learn until my thirties and then there was a whole house to clean and a husband and two babies underfoot.
Sometimes I wonder, should I just do it to set the example?
Should I just let her do it herself so that she learns how to make her own decisions?
Or, should we do it together--Me, sweeping the floor and chivvying her along, she, sorting through piles and telling me the story behind every. little. thing? We have done this in the past--and it's time consuming. I really didn't ant to spend most of my day Saturday in a tussle with her.
We needed a different approach.
Friday morning, when I went upstairs to reconnoiter her room, I was instantly overwhelmed.
I didn't quite know where to start. Me! The Organized One! Me! the chivvier! Me, the Mom.
So, I decided simply to begin. Grab a trash bag and turn left.
Pick up the trash.
Pick up the obviously dirty laundry.
I decided I would clean off all surfaces except her desk. It's a disaster of too many delayed personal decisions which I could not make, even if I wanted too.
I piled everything in categories on the bed: clothes to decide whether to put away or put in the hamper, papers to sort whether to keep or let go, and her stuffies.
Forty five minutes later, her room looked like this:
She walked in Friday night and exclaimed, "I have a floor!"
Saturday morning, it was her turn. She was diligent. I'm not entirely sure what she was so busy at, but she started around 10 am and stopped at three with only a couple of half hour breaks.
Beside the bed:
By the dresser (the laundry basket in the hallway contains her donate pile)
And, finally, the bed:
Does the room look the way I would want it? No.
Did she declutter a lot? No, but some: A few articles of outgrown clothing, a few toys.
Did she take responsibility for her stuff? Yes, for example, she went through a huge collection of Girl Guide crests and decided which ones she wanted to keep and which she will trade at the next Jamboree, she sorted through her headbands, and she told me not to buy her anymore stuffed animals! (Yay)
So, I let her invite a friend over for the rest of the afternoon.
Verdict: I think this new approach worked well. I'll try it again, hopefully not too soon!