Friday, I decided I would clean his room. It hadn't had a proper clean in a long time. Probably years.
My son's room is on the main floor. I saw this everyday.
One of the reasons for that is that he has too much stuff crammed into the room. Like his mother, he is very good at making every inch of space count. It is difficult to make his bed because it is against the wall and hemmed in by a table and a filing cabinet. It is hard to clean his window because the bed is in front of it. It is impossible to clean the floor because his furniture lines the walls.
The door is to the right, above. We're moving round the room from right to left, opposite the way I cleaned it.
It is also visually overwhelming to me. He doesn't like the look of "bare" walls, so he's taped up his artwork, posters, and schoolwork. Anything he considered important, he just taped to the wall.
About a year ago, I pinned this photo.
source: Oh-Dee-Doh. (Now: Apartment Therapy/Family)
I may have shown it to my son. I think I did--and I think he signed off on it. I bought the dignitet wire from IKEA to put it in his room.
But nothing happened--except more things got taped to his walls.
This table is his "movie studio" for the stop action films he makes with his bionicles.
The Bionicle Tower.
Until Friday night that is, when, after seeing my son off to his survival camp, my husband and I made a quick run to IKEA to pick up the corner pieces so I could run the wire along three walls of his room. As well, I needed a break. I had been working in his room for several hours at that point, quite glad I had started too. Especially when I ran into dust and dirt like this:
That's from under the bed. And that's an under the bed box. Horrid things. Avoid them if you can.
Because his room was so full and because I was working by myself (my husband works Saturdays) and because there was no place to put all of his furniture were I to try to move it, my approach was time consuming and not recommended.
Before I started, I stripped his bed and took down the curtains. I loaded the washing machine.
I began with vacuuming the carpet. Then, I started on his door. I took everything off both sides and then I scrubbed it. I moved behind the door. I took everything off the walls and I scrubbed it. Then, I vacuumed his floor in front of the newly washed walls. Then, I scrubbed the floor.
When it came time to do the bionicle tower, I moved everything off the desk into a laundry basket which I put on his bed. Then, I put the red bins on the desk.
I vacuumed the bottom of the unit. I took everything off the unit. (Actually, all he had was a print out of the periodic table taped to its side.) I washed it. Then I moved it. I vacuumed the floor--I could not stand in the dust. Then, I took everything off the walls above it. (A target from range practice). Washed the walls. Washed the floor.
Move furniture. Vacuum the floor. Remove items from the wall, wash wall, remove tape, wipe down the wall again, wash floor.
Lather, rinse, repeat. I took frequent, but short breaks.
It took all day Saturday to deal with the walls behind and beside his bed.
I used goo gone, spray cleaner, a scraper, many cloths, and a lot of elbow grease to get his walls clean. Paint comes off more easily than tape residue! I learned why I had never been allowed to put anything up on my walls. And now, neither is he.
On Sunday, I was able to clean the desk, dresser, and table. I vacuumed his mattress and remade his bed--but not without another quick trip to IKEA to get more clips for his wire, and a red sheet to act as a "dust cover" for his box spring. I learned why box springs have dust covers. And now, so does his.
I wasn't home when he arrived, but according to his Dad, when he saw the wire with his artwork, he pronounced it "Cool."
This is now the view from the hallway. Much better, even though there's fresh laundry on that table.
There were times this weekend when I actually questioned my fitness as a parent to have let things get so bad in his room. The lines between his space and my house and whether he should clean it or I should, and how far I can push a fifteen year old, and when do I need to let it go and when do I need to insist are very blurry. You could even say, they're very dusty. (Boo, hiss.)
But, I am so glad I did this.
Let's take another turn around the room, shall we?
I didn't touch a thing on the bulletin board or the shelves.
But I did get the filing cabinet out of there!
And that was my weekend. This Saturday? I am going to insist he dust and vacuum. No time on the X-Box until it's done. Wish me luck.