My wonderful, sweet, loving, brilliant, mature, put-together 9-year-old lives in a pig sty.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d say she didn’t care.
Actually, I do know better, and I know for a fact that she doesn’t care. It’s probably the thing that baffles me about her most: she can get herself dressed to the nines, accessories and all (born with an innate fashion sense that she sure didn’t get from me), but her bed will be so piled with books, clothes, tissues, dirty dishes… that she has to sleep curled up in a ball! What is wrong here?!
She’s meticulous with her homework, taking far longer than it should take just to make sure she writes everything out as specifically and as detailed as possible. She puts a ton of care into drawings, arts and crafts, etc.
But when her homework is finally done, when that craft project is eventually finished…
She just up and leaves it there. Along with the papers, pens, pencils, crayons and markers she got out to do said project.
Whatever is born inside some of us — that urge to purge, that desire to declutter, that absolute need for an organized, clean space so we can think clearly and move through our day smoothly — was NOT born in my daughter.
Lately, it’s gotten bad. Real bad. So bad that I won’t even put out into cyberspace the full details of the filth I have seen as to not humiliate her in her teens if one of her friends should happen upon this blog post.
“Didn’t your room get this messy when you were 9?” she asked me last week. “Nope,” I said. And that’s the truth. Sure, it got messy. All kids are messy. But even at 9, I kept at lease some semblance of a bedroom, not a dumpster, which is what her room had become.
It had gotten so bad last weekend, in fact, that I did what I had hoped I never would have to do: I took away her iPad. She just got it this summer, and (when allowed) is completely glued to it. I was hoping this would make a big impression. So far, not really. She knew we were purging her room this weekend, so I believe she just kept letting it slide until then. I still have her iPad. We will see if she can keep up with the clean room.
I’m afraid my pictures don’t do it justice. I was in such a hurry to use our one free day this weekend to finally purge and reorganize, that I had already done the entire dresser area and half the bed before I remembered to take “before” pics. So just imagine this much worse, okay?
This is her dormer. It actually was probably the cleanest spot in her room. She had spent a couple nights away recently, so there were two suitcases to empty — note, I said two suitcases… because she didn’t bother to unpack from the first night, so she had to use a separate bag for the next time.
Her dollhouse sits in here, unused. Her grandfather had this absolutely GORGEOUS dollhouse made for her when she was 4. I’m telling you, it’s fabulous! Real hardwood floors, real wallpaper, real tiny shingles all over the roof. I would have died and gone to heaven had I gotten a house like this when I was a little girl! But Jillian? Eh. So here it sits.
Her bookshelf has been taken over by American Girl Magazines, random papers and just too many things trying to fit. You can see in the bottom right corner, there’s another stack of books and a magazine file that are supposed to fit in there… somewhere.
The desk. The desk! This was supposed to be where she would do her homework after school everyday, but guess what? There’s never any room! Even when I ask her to clean it off, it only lasts for maybe one day, because there’s just so much JUNK, it all piles back on!
This was my biggest nightmare. This, and the closet…
Just in case you can’t really put all those images together in your head, allow me to offer you one overview shot. Take a peek in the bathroom while you’re at it. See that shelf? It’s supposed to be completely clear. That’s a battle for next weekend, I friggin’ ran out of steam.
Ready for the afters?
Ooooooh. Ahhhhhh. Clean!
We also purged those drawers under the bed. One was almost entirely old school papers and trash! I basically just dumped it in the garbage!
We decided to move her desk into the dormer. She likes the little nook she has, and the fact that she can close the curtains for more privacy. Plus, there’s an overhead light above the desk here, which really brightens up her work area.
Plus, who doesn’t like a little change every now and then?
I really made her purge this area hard. She’s a stationary-a-holic and will buy notebooks, pens and pencils for no reason at all. It’s not the toy aisle at Target I have to keep her away from, it’s the office supplies! We got rid of at least half her old pencils and pens, and she has promised to make better purchasing decisions in the future.
We sorted through her books, surprisingly keeping most of them. She was shocked at how many good books she has — she just couldn’t see them when they were all a cluttered mess!
Notice the round bin at the bottom? I corralled the American Girl Magazines there.
And right above that is a bin for crafts and activities, so they’re all in one place. No more, “Mommy, I’m bored!” Let’s hope, anyway.
We moved her dollhouse out of the dormer and into the middle of the room, where her desk used to be. This thing really should have a place of honor! And now that it’s more accessible, maybe… just maybe… she’ll actually play with it.
But if not, Trevor will. He was already at it last night after we moved it. He loves the thing!
I didn’t do much with her clothes yet — that’s another day’s work — but the baskets and bins in her closet haven’t been gone through in the nearly two years since she moved out of her and Trevor’s shared room and into her own. We got rid of so much stuff, the two bins on the top shelf are actually EMPTY!
Now, for that final shot, summing up our work…
Whew! We spent a good 6-7 hours in here yesterday, and I got rid of three giant garbage bags full of junk. I’m exhausted. She’s exhausted.
But at the end of it all, I think it was really good for her. “I like organizing!” she proclaimed, 4+ hours into the day. Heck, maybe there’s a little of me in her somewhere after all.